30 January 2011

Jester King Grand Opening

I finally decided to actually get out of my top secret beer bunker and mingle more with people. Since Jester King was having their grand opening on Saturday, I asked Satan to come down and go with me. Naturally, after agreeing to go, work interfered and Satan wimped out, I mean, had to cancel. Damn oil field!

I next asked my nephew if he wanted to go, but his was helping his sister move into her new apartment.

I sighed loudly, and pouted for a few hours until I thought about Katherine.  Katherine and I like to have an occasional beer, and she sometimes lets me drag her to the odd brewery tour or brew pub.  We work together on the beer list for Oktoberfest, and we will be spending some time in the next few months lining up the Texas craft beers for the festival.  (Stay tuned for more Oktoberfest deatils.)  Fortunately, Katherine was free, so we headed off to Jester King.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may know that I tend to go overboard on planning, and when Jester King's blog put a Google Map on the page, I got directions from that.  Shortest route from my house to Mr. Stuffings' dream come true was through Pedernales Falls State Park.  Ranch Roads, baby!

A left turn from US Highway 290 onto Ranch Road 2766, and we left the four lane madness behind us.  Of course, we also left straight roads and a 70 mph speed limit behind as well.  But it was a scenic drive.  As we neared Pedernales Falls park, the two lane Ranch Road became a County Road and collapsed to a one lane paved road.  Holy crap!  I was afraid the one lane road would turn into a gravel goat path, as county roads can sometimes do.  Fortunately, however, after a few miles, someone painted a line down the center of the one lane road. Viola!  Two lane road.

We finally arrived  at Jester King.  We parked and walked downhill to the big covered pavilion where several dozen people were milling around, including one of Satan's friends.  I purchased a nice looking tulip shaped taster glass, and was told I would get three free refills.  In retrospect, I should have purchased the pint glass, but the snifter glass will look better on my shelf.

I started with Boxer's Revenge, an orange farmhouse ale, full of spice and citrus.  Absolutely wonderful.

We stood around and watch as car after car pulled into the property.  I went back for another farmhouse ale, and made my way through fairly easily.  Back out to the conversation as still more cars pulled into the field-now-parking lot.  My third trip through the line (although officially my second since one of the servers failed to mark my wristband--Oopsie!), I was tenth in line and it took almost 15 minutes.  The place was filling up rapidly.

Finally at the table, I had a Barrel Aged Commercial Suicide, and weaved my way through the crowd who had taken three steps away from the bar and started forming a knot of friends, intent on impeding the traffic flow; out from under the shed, through the circles of folding canvas chairs that look all the world like circled wagon trains awaiting an Indian attack.  There was a circle of chairs in each space between pillars of the shed roof, forcing us to brush by the pillar and brush the backs of two chairs on each side.  Directly in front of me now was another circle of chairs.  People had unconsciously arranged their circles in a bowling pin arrangement.

I scanned the crown as the first band started to play.  There had to be 500 to 600 people here.  And only 5 porta-potties.  It was going to get ugly later, I feared.  I looked back up the hill past the brewery and still more cars were coming in, one after the other.  I glanced back at the shed, and noticed that the beer line was about to become longer than the width of the roof!  I would never get my third beer!

When we finished our beers, we decided to abandon the Grand Opening, even though we were having a good time, and repair to The Barber Shop, a new craft beer bar in Dripping Springs.   But first we had to get out.  We walked up the hill and saw that the line to get a wristband was halfway up the hill to the parking lot!

It took fifteen minutes for us to reach Fitzhugh Road, as the inbound string of cars let the outbound few snake around obstacles, and through narrow gates, past them.  I guess they figured there would get our parking places when they got there.  Finally on the road, we began estimating the crowd size.  Katherine said  700.  I said closer to a thousand and guessed that the final head count might be 2000 people, not all there at one time.

It is gratifying to see that many people show up at a craft brewery just for three free beers.  Maybe there is hope for Texas' beer culture after all!  If only we could have harnessed the voting power of all the people there, sent a message to the Legislature to streamline the antiquated and Byzantine liquor laws, we might not have a $27 Billion dollar deficit while sending all our beer tax money to Colorado breweries and brew pubs.  But that, as they say, is another story.

And by the way, The Barber Shop is a cool place, too.


posted by hiikeeba at 08:36


Blogger Lee said...

Aw, dammit, you should have told me! I was there, I would have loved to finally meet you!

9:12 PM  
Blogger hiikeeba said...

Aw, man! Why didn't I think about you being there? Soon, brother. Soon.

9:29 PM  

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