One of Jester King Brewery’s fruited sours, the raspberry-forward Atrial Rubicite, is arguably the most sought-after beer in the Texas Hill Country brewery’s growing portfolio — so it’s perhaps not a surprise that a national beer publication is now highlighting it in a big way.
Zymurgy Magazine, the official publication of the American Homebrewers Association, released its annual list of the best beers in every state earlier this month. For Texas? No surprise there: Atrial got the mention.
“At the start of the year, Jester King Brewery dumps several hundred pounds of raspberries into oak barrels that contain mature sour beer,” according to the Business Insider story that reported on Zymurgy’s list. “The result is Atrial Rubicite, a sour beer imbued with rich character but devoid of sweetness.”
The magazine doesn’t pick the winners in each state, however — that’s the job of its considerable readership, the tens of thousands of members in the American Homebrewers Association who take a vote on the best. Homebrewers, after all, have pretty picky palates that can discern the true top-of-the-line beers. And they aren’t wrong about Atrial, if its recent release is any indication.
Two weekends ago, the brewery debuted the most recent batch of Atrial Rubicite and drew customers from Austin and beyond who queued up as early as 9:30 a.m. the morning of the first release. Part of that anticipation was for the new, super limited magnums of Atrial, only 50 bottles of which were available each day (at one per customer).
Resulting conflicts over who would get the magnum bottles led Jester King owner Jeff Stuffings to implement a lottery system for similar future beers, as rare as the Atrial magnums, that would select random customers to pick up bottles over the course of multiple weekends.
“First come, first serve was no way to handle such a limited release,” Stuffings wrote in a blog post last week. “We’re sorry for the resulting drama that ensued, and we feel bad it cast a negative shadow on some of our customers’ experiences at Jester King last weekend.”
At least the fuss wasn’t for nothing — this year’s Atrial is the best it’s ever been and tasting like fermented raspberry jam. Bottles are sold out, but you may still be able to get some on tap next weekend during Jester King’s taproom hours.