Having my first weekend off from the new job (more on that in another post!), a brewery day was planned for Saturday, December 14th, 2013. Since I am not sure exactly when I will have another Saturday off, we wanted to travel out of town, so off to Austin and Dripping Springs we go to visit the obscure, and always awesome, Jester King Brewery, and a fairly new brewery called Twisted X.
We haven’t visited Jester King Brewery since their grand opening back in 2010, so we were very excited to be going back there again. The drive up there is a nice one, driving through the Texas Hill Country to the outskirts of Austin. Once arriving near the destination, it’s like driving through the streets of a good horror movie. I swear, I saw Jason Vorhees!
Seeing as this was just a normal brewery tour/open taproom day there, there wasn’t a whole lot of people, so that meant short lines, and a more intimate experience there. The shorter lines was the best part, as I heard there were two casks available this day, and I really wanted to get a drink from both, which I was able to do! I was also able to purchase a few bottles to go of some of the rarities that Jester King has to offer. The one thing I love the most about JK is the amazing artwork that graces each bottle. They have fantastic visuals to go along with their extraordinary beer.
The day was cold, so they had a nice fire going so guests could cozy up near it to warm up while enjoying the good craft beer they offer. The fire pit was near the building housing Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza, which the food looked amazing. They are complete separate entity who also had a cooler full of beer bottles to purchase to go, as well as over 10 taps of craft beer, including some Austin locals, like Austin Beerworks, among others.
Bottles I was able to purchase:
2 bottles of Ol’ Oi!, a Barrel-Aged Sour Brown Ale
2 bottles of Atrial Rubicite, a Barrel-Aged Sour Beer refermented with Raspberries
2 bottles of Funk Metal, a Sour Barrel-Aged Stout
Beers I was able to enjoy on-site this day:
RU-55, a Barrel-Aged Sour Red Ale
“Farmhouse red ale aged in oak barrels with wild yeast and souring bacteria. Unfiltered, unpasteurized, and 100% naturally conditioned. This beer is a tribute to our good friend and professional brewer Russ Beattie.”
Farmhouse Wytchmaker, a Farmhouse Rye India Pale Ale
“The culprit behind the Salem Witch Trials was not demonic possession (which would have been kind of cool), but ergot infected rye. Wild yeast native to our land in the Texas Hill Country lend a sense of place to this earthy, floral farmhouse rye beer. Unfiltered, unpasteurized, and 100% naturally conditioned.”
Boxer’s Revenge, a Barrel-Aged Wild Ale
“Boxer’s Revenge slowly ferments for several months in oak barrels in the presence of naturally occurring wild yeasts and souring bacteria prior to blending. Unfiltered, unpasteurized, and 100% naturally conditioned.”
Ol’ Oi!, a Barrel-Aged Sour Brown Ale
“In Britain, what started out as young or “mild” dark ale was once aged in oak barrels to make beer that was likely similar to sour brown ales of East Flanders. Using a similar base recipe to Commercial Suicide Farmhouse Mild Ale, Ol’ Oi is our tribute to that tradition.”
You can read more about each beer by visiting the Jester King website here.
After being funked out by the sour ales and farmhouse ales I had over at Jester King, it was time to drive the 15 minute , short drive to Dripping Springs, TX to visit the new brewery, Twisted X. I had the pleasure of first tasting beers by Twisted X this past September at the Texas Craft Brewers Festival. Now I get to go for round two on Chupahopra IPA, and Fuego Jalapeno Pilsner, and finally get to taste the brewery’s other offerings.
Twisted X Brewing Company started off in a smaller location in Cedar Park, TX, producing small batches of their beer since May 2011. Finally earlier this year they move to their new building, now nestled in Dripping Springs, TX. Their new location is a very nice looking farm-like building, now holding a 30bbl system which they are able to produce bigger batches of their premium Tex Mex beers.
We were able to meet co-founder, Shane Bordeau, who gave us a nice tour of their facility.
Twisted X, as of now produces six beers, which consists of 1 IPA, 1 Pilsner, and 4 different variations of Lagers. Craft beer snobs around the US, probably the world, all look at Lagers, and the use of corn as the devil incarnate, but these are the main focus here at Twisted X. They are brewing what they call Tex Mex Beer. Here is a statement taken from their website:
“Twisted X’s mission is to create a new Texas styled Mexican beer market – “Tex Mex Beer” (TM), profitably make great tasting beer, have fun, and treat people right (consumers and employees). Grow our business on the foundation of a Tex Mex marketing approach expanding to other Merchandise, Salsa, Chips, Food (Beer Bread), and other uniquely local cultured items. We are the inventors of Tex Mex Beer. (TM)”
I, for one was impressed with their beers. I found them all to be very easy to drink. I can also see myself using their beers to get people o switch over to the craft beer side of the industry.
The Twisted X beer list I was able to taste with a purchased flight:
Twisted X – Premium Lager
This Premium lager has a subtle hop flavor and a crisp clean finish. Yellow corn from Richardson Farms adds a touch of that Mexican lager flavor. At 5.1% alcohol by volume it is our lightest beer, however, lighter does not equate to lack of flavor.
Cow Creek – Dark Lager
This Vienna style lager is from the same vein as Negra Modelo. It has a rich dark color and a deep smooth flavor that combine for a beer with sophisticated character. At 5.4% alcohol by volume this is an easy drinking lager.
Fuego – Jalapeno Pilsner
This Tex Mex Pilsner is all beer, has a jalapeno aroma, a mild jalapeno flavor, and leaves you with pleasant warmth in the back of your throat. At 6.5% alcohol by volume Fuego is strong yet still crisp and refreshing. Most chili beers are more focused on the heat, but this one is 100% beer. The secret to this beer is the amount and duration of the jalapeno soak, as it has taken nearly two years to get it just right.
Chupahopra – Dry-Hopped IPA
This is a full flavored IPA with a pronounced hoppy finish that is created by adding Amarillo (when available) hops at the end of fermentation. This ale, the only ale in our lineup at the present time, will withstand the long voyage to your local bar or refrigerator. It has an alcohol by volume of 7.5%.
Siesta – Prickly Pear Lager
A summer seasonal based on Twisted X. “Bloody Butcher” red corn from Richardson farms provides a slight hint of color. Prickly pears from the fields of Texas provide the rest of the color and add a fruity cactus flavor. Siesta is more carbonated than our other beers and this adds to its summer time drinkability. It has 5.5% alcohol by volume.
Senor Viejo – Imperial Black Lager (Tequila Barrel-Aged)
This Schwarzbier has been “imperialized” (alcohol content increased) and then left to age in tequila barrels (used Jack Daniels barrels which are then used by Republic Tequila to age there tequila to Repasado or Anejo styles). Aging this unique beer in tequila barrels adds subtle flavors of vanilla and oak while the tequila adds a mild citrus/agave sweetness. At 8.2% alcohol by volume Senor Viejo is our strongest, most seasoned beer.
You can read more about each beer by visiting the Twisted X website here.
This was an all out fantastic day of brewery tours, and craft beer. My taste buds were introduced to so many different styles, which pretty much Mike Tyson punched my palate. Oh, how I love the torture! I look forward to drinking my purchased Jester King bottles, and I hopefully will get to pick up a few Twisted X beers in the near future. I look forward to pairing them with some Tex Mex food, and possibly even cooking with them.
JESTER KING BREWING COMPANY | 13005 Fitzhugh Rd., Bldg. B, Austin, TX 78736
TWISTED X BREWING COMPANY | 23455 W RR 150, Dripping Springs, TX 78620
What a Sour Tex Mex kind of day,