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Belt’s Beer Garden: King Me

Jester King’s Munich-style Helles lager

Jester King Brewery is an authentic farmhouse brewery from Austin, Texas that began back in 2010 and initially made it big with their amazing Farmhouse and Wild Ales. They now sit on a massive 165 acres of land, are completely solar powered, and have a sweet layout that I really want to visit one day.

It’s rare to find their stuff near me but today, in honor of Oktoberfest, I have a German-style lager from them that I cannot wait to try - their Munich-style Helles lagerbeer.

They fermented this Helles in horizontal tanks for over a month (between five and eight weeks), which gives lagers a much cleaner body and really allows the yeast to settle. They also kettle-hopped it with a trio of hops - Hallertauer Magnum, Hallertauer Mittelfrüh, and Czech Saaz - to give it some big flavors. It does have a mere 4.8% ABV and a can did cost me $7 but, from what I’ve heard about their beers, it’ll be worth it.

This Helles lager poured a bright, clear golden straw color with about two fingers of head topping it off. The foam quickly fizzled away, leaving a small accumulation around the edge of the glass and some moderate lacing down the sides.

The aroma was clean and balanced. There was a light hoppy bite that offered up some citrusy notes of lemon and grapefruit rind. But there were also notes of sweet honey and some breadiness from the Pilsner malt that brought a nice balance to the brew.

It’s a refreshing and crisp lager that pops almost as soon as it hits your tongue. There is a rush of carbonation that gives way to the sweeter notes of caramel and honey for a few moments before some subtle bread crust and floral notes begin to appear.

The whole first half of the sip is quite sweet and very, very clean. But then, towards the backend, the trio of hops begin to appear. First there is a twinge of bitterness and a swelling of lemon and citrus peel.

From there, a pithy grapefruit flavor and dry feeling begin to creep forward. The dry, grapefruit rind flavor makes it a bit sticky for a moment or two at the end. However, it quickly fades away and this Helles lager actually ends nice and clean, with just a touch of the hoppy bitterness sitting on the back of the tongue.

I absolutely loved this beer. It was insanely crushable but, if you’re a fan of lagers, be warned - it is a bit on the bitter side. But if you can deal with a bit of bitterness, or normally gravitate towards IPAs, this is the beer for you. The 4.8% makes it an all day drinker…but I’m sitting here wishing I had more than just the one can of this beer.

Jester King is known as one of the best breweries in the country and they continue to prove it here.

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