I tried seven different beers from Jester King this month so you don’t have to. But for most of them, you should probably try them too if you can. See below for my thoughts.
Colonel Toby (Batch #1 – 12.13.16)
I don’t know if I expected to like this one. I grabbed it because I had a few other Jester King bottles and I was planning to do this review and wanted one more. It’s not going to become my favorite beer or anything but, at 3.4% ABV, it might be a favorite among beers that I can sit around drinking all day long. It’s a light, crisp ale but with a good amount of hops flavor. There is a bit citrus flavor and some pine as well with a bit of bitterness on a dry finish. Honestly, it’s nice to have a good beer that gets me more sober as I drink it.
RU55 (Batch #7 – 03.15.17)
As far as I can recall, a Rodenbach Flanders Red was the first sour beer I ever had. It was a bit of a shock at the time. I was mostly drinking stouts and IPAs and I had no idea that beers could also taste like that. This beer brings back memories of that time. It’s hard to say how they compare. If I had to guess, I’d say that this one is better. It’s pretty sour for sure, and probably not good for my heartburn, but it’s delicious. The flavor is sour grapes but there is a lot of caramel sweetness as well. I’d definitely consider buying future batches of this one.
Foudreweizen (Batch #3 – 10.25.16)
This is the best Jester King beer that I’ve ever had. And, it’s not that surprising to me. This is a collaboration with Live Oak Brewing Co. whose hefeweizen is often considered one of the best in the world. For this beer, they started out with wort brewed at Live Oak and then did some magic in a foudre (which I learned after googling is a large oak barrel common in France for holding wine). What resulted here is a beer that doesn’t really taste like anything I’ve ever had before. The first thing you taste is a somewhat sour lemon flavor, but when it recedes there are flavors of bubblegum and banana Laffy Taffy. It’s a light, fruity, delightful beer and a great beer for the Texas summer.
Cerveza de Mezquite (Batch #1 – 10.19.16)
What a weird label on this beer. I don’t know what that’s supposed to be about, but I thought that my Lakewood Brewing Goatman glass seemed appropriate for the occasion. This is not a sour beer. In fact, it is only slightly tart, at most. There is some lemon flavor here and a bit of sweetness. It’s hard to describe the flavor of the sweetness, but they said that this one is brewed with mesquite beans, so I’m guessing that’s what I’m tasting. Maybe a bit of molasses? It’s hard to say. Whatever it is, it balances the beer well and it’s another good refreshing beer for a hot Texas afternoon.
Boxer’s Revenge (Batch #9 – 03.23.17)
Another one with a weird label. There was a little blurb on the back about a horse escaping a glue factory and starting a brewery? Well I think it fits this beer which is weird and funky. It poured out with a light head that faded pretty quickly and it’s medium amber in color. It’s definitely labeled as a sour beer, but it’s less sour than I was expecting. I’d say it’s really more tart than sour. To me, it tasted like biting into a caramel apple, with additional flavors of cherry as well. I liked it a lot, but this one has some bite so you have to be careful when drinking it. It doesn’t taste anything like 9.5% ABV.
Final Entropy (Batch #1 – 01.03.17)
This one didn’t quite hit the mark for me. Kolsch isn’t really a style that I like, so maybe I’m biased (and you can probably ignore my thoughts on this one). I mostly grabbed it because of the label. There is a bit of tartness, but other than that, it just isn’t very interesting to me. I wish I could explain better, but I just don’t have much else to say. Not a lot of flavor stands out. Cool label, just not an exciting beer.
Ol’ Oi (Blend #5 03.08.17)
I don’t think this one surpasses the Foudreweizen as my favorite Jester King beer, but it’s close. This is definitely a sour but it is very well balanced with a good cherry sweetness to keep it very drinkable. I think there is some other fruit flavor in there too but I’m not sure what exactly, maybe plum? It’s not as sour as the RU55, but probably is the second most sour of the bunch that I’ve tried here so pick it up if you’re looking for a brown ale that packs a punch.
When I got these bottles of Jester King beer, I wasn’t convinced that they were really all that good. My experiences in the past, however, were before I really started to appreciate sour and funky beers. These releases are still a bit hit or miss, but there are some really good beers here and I’m glad I gave them a chance. I hear their best releases are brewery only and I probably won’t be heading down there any time soon, but they seem to release new bottles here every couple weeks, so I’m sure it won’t be long before I have another one of these reviews.