Two factors that make beers from Jester King Brewery coveted by local craft beer connoisseurs, according to Boxelder Craft Beer Market owner Adam Darnell, are the quality of the brew and the lack of distribution.
Until you visit the brewery in Austin, Texas, it's unlikely you'll get to taste the brews — unless you know someone with a private stash who's willing to share. Darnell is willing to share at Boxelder for a rare Jester King tasting event Sunday, November 6, beginning at 4 p.m.
Jester King owner/brewer Jeffrey Stuffings is particularly shrewd about where his beers are distributed. That's because he produces only roughly 2,500 barrels of beer each year, and 75 percent of sales are in the taproom alone.
Consequently, the demand for his beers has risen to such a degree that Stuffings has received numerous invitations to the exclusive Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival held annually in Paso Robles, California.
Once, in 2015, the brewery had to deal with crowds of cheaters taking more than their bottle limit during the release of the Montmorency vs. Balaton beer, a barrel-aged sour fermented with cherries.
Stuffings has become somewhat picky about where his beers are sent. Recently, he sent a small amount of his liquid gold to the highly selective Shelton Brothers, a company by Massachusetts siblings who import what they consider the most exquisite beers from Belgium, France, and other parts of the world. "We just want to ensure that it's presented in a way that does justice to the beer," the brewmaster tells Miami New Times.
Florida happens to be a place where the Shelton Brothers not only does well with its portfolio, but also where one of Stuffings' favorite breweries — Green Bench Brewing Company — is located. He collaborated with the St. Petersburg brewery to produce Beachtimez Sportsketball, an unfiltered and unpasteurized ale brewed with loquats, which will be available to try or to purchase in bottles.
In all, Boxelder's Darnell has 11 cases of Jester King beers, including Autumnal Dichotomous, which is brewed with cinnamon, wild yeast, and citrus; and Snorkel, a gose brewed with oyster mushrooms. Darnell acquired the beers with the help of Miami's Progressive Distributors.
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"It's always been very tough to get the stuff," Darnell says. "It's tough to get it anywhere."
Tickets to the tasting cost $35 each and include 11 tastings of three-ounce pours. If you like the sample, you can purchase 750-milliliter bottles for $18 to $24 each.
Though Jester King will make an appearance at Boxelder, Darnell doubts his event foreshadows future distribution in the state, meaning Sunday might be your best bet to try these elusive beers without taking a trip to Austin.
Tickets to the Jester King tasting can be purchased at eventbrite.com. For more information on the tasting event, visit the store's Facebook page, call 305-942-7769, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.