08 October 2010

The Satan Push - Stop 2 - Jester King Brewery

I tend to start things and not finish them.  I can't tell you how many comic or stories I have started writing and never finished.  Half way through each project, I get a new idea, and so I am off on a tangent, leaving the old project behind, gathering dust in a drawer.

That's why Jester King Brewery felt homey and familiar to me.  It is both unfinished and, as of the night before, a real, working brewery!

As we climbed the hill of the east side of Dripping Springs, heading towards Austin, we drove into a driving rain storm.  So we followed the ribbon of flashing brake lights to Fitzhugh Road and turned left.  As we left 290, the rain began to thin out a bit.  Jeffrey Stuffings had told me to look for a sign that said Ceres Park.  By the time we had found the sign and turned into the drive, it had stopped raining.  We drove down the road looking for the brewery.  It was hard to spot because 1) there isn't a sign, and 2) it's at the bottom of a hill hidden behind a small garage/workshop.  Fortunately, there was mail on one of the workbenches identifying the place as Jester King, and we weren't trespassing on some sharpshooting farmer's property.  And to confirm our deduction, there was a field of stainless steel kegs off to the left. We made our way to the brewery.


Jeff and his brother Mark had brewed their first batch the night before and were running late.  "Make yourselves at home," he texted.  So we did.

We explored every corner and all but climbed on top of their equipment as the rain cloud moved over the property.  That's when we noticed the roof wasn't finished.  The ridge cap hadn't been put up over halve the roof, and the walls on the west side of the building hadn't been put up.  We basked in the glow of morning sunlight reflecting off stainless steel fermenters, dodged raindrops and tried to figure out how the brewery worked from the maze of pipes running along the ceiling.

After about forty-five minutes, we were about to leave when we spotted Jeff and Mark.  So we got the "official" tour, and found out that we had been pretty close in out guesses.

As Mark and Jeff lead us around the berewery, Jeff told us that they would be making barrel aged beers, and focusing more in the Belgian tradition.  He showed us his barrels, and his cool room.  I could feel my mouth watering in anticipation of a sample or two, but sadly, they didn't have any to share.  They did have a lot of enthusiasm, though, and that helped me through my pain.

The rain clouds were breaking up and it was getting steamy as Jeff and Mark described their previous 13 hour brew day.  We sympathized.  The first batch on a new system always takes twice as long as it should.

With stomachs growling, we thank the Stuffings for their hospitality, and headed for San Marcos.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:14

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