We’re pleased to introduce Jester King Bière de Coupage, which will be released this Friday at our tasting room. Bière de Coupage is a blend of Jester King SPON (our 100% spontaneously fermented beer) and young farmhouse ale.
We originally heard the term “bière de coupage” in a lecture by Yvan De Baets of Brasserie de la Sennein Brussels, Belgium. The term “coupage” in the context of beer or wine simply means to “cut” or blend. “In general, then, coupage is just blending, but typically refers to a once common practice of blending old and young beers together, the aim of which was to combine the best characteristics of each beer, particularly the tartness and aromatic complexity of an aged ale, and the mellow smoothness and improved head retention of a younger beer”, writes Amos Browne of Browne and Bitter.
We’ve practiced the technique of bière de coupage at Jester King since 2011. We originally blended young beer with mature barrel-aged beer to make Jester King Das Wunderkind. Several of our other beers involve this technique as well. In 2013, we began the long-term project of making 100% spontaneously fermented beer inspired by the tradition of Belgian Lambic, for what would ultimately become our SPONseries. Although we knew it was a long way off, we had the goal of one day blending mature SPON with young farmhouse ale. About six years later, it has happened with a beer we simply call “Bière de Coupage”.
In terms of blending, we took 1,500 liters of SPON, which itself is a blend of beer from 2016, 2015, and 2014, and blended it with 2,000 liters of younger beer. Our Head Brewer Averie Swanson then dry-hopped the blend with Czech Saaz at a rate of 0.5# per barrel. Averie sought to “brighten” the blend, or add an additional element of freshness, using a “quintessential old world hop”.
The artwork for Jester King Bière de Coupage, created by our artist Josh Cockrell, is a hand-drawn depiction of Jester King. It’s meant to evoke our origins as a brewery and inspiration from classic, European brewing traditions. The artwork itself was inspired by one of our favorite beer labels — Blaugies Bier Darbyste, which we believe captures the simple but elegant rustic nature of farmhouse ales, and by extension, bière de coupage.
The process and inspiration behind making Bière de Coupage is pretty special to us, and like we mentioned, involves years of patience. We’d like to thank Yvan De Baets, Amos Browne, and the classic producers of authentic Lambic and farmhouse ale for the information and inspiration they’ve provided over the years.
Jester King Bière de Coupage will be released at 4pm on Friday, August 24th at our tasting room. It’s 6.3% alcohol by volume, 27 IBU, 3.5 pH, and has a finishing gravity of 1.001 (0.3 degrees Plato). It was packaged on April 5th, 2017 in kegs and green bottles. It will be available by the glass and in bottles to go. We have about 3,400 hundred bottles available (750ml/$24) with a bottle limit of three per customer per day. Aside from special events, we do not anticipate Bière de Coupage will be distributed beyond Jester King.