Jester King Brewery has a new beer with a naughty name.
The newest release is Vulgar Affectation, a 5 percent ABV farmhouse ale brewed with native lemon beebalm and horehound growing in the fields surrounding the Austin, Texas-based brewery. According to a post on Jester King’s website, the beer was inspired by a “desire to make beer with a sense of place unique to our land in the Texas Hill Country” as well as the admiration felt for Brasserie Fantôme, which is brewed with wildflowers from around their brewery in Soy, Belgium.
The post on Jester King’s website explains how Vulgar Affectation was produced:
In the summer of 2014, an intense purple field of lemon beebalm wildflowers (pictured below) grew around Jester King. Our Head Brewer Garret Crowell picked some of the leaves and flowers and dried them for several months. On brew day in late September of 2014, he picked fresh horehound around our brewery and added it to the dried lemon beebalm leaves and flowers. He then made a concentrated tea of horehound and lemon beebalm and added it at the end of the boil.
The final beer is almost year old, having spent close to six months fermenting in stainless steel tanks and another four months bottle conditioning. There were approximately 3,000 produced.
Artist Josh Cockrell, who designed the label and named the beer, explains the meaning behind the name in an email to Tenemu:
The idea spawned initially from the scientific name of Horehound, ‘marribium vulgares.’ Vulgaris, the latin root of vulgar, really just means commonplace or of the common people. Hence this herb was named to reflect its common existence.
However, the modern concept of vulgarity evolved from the idea that the talk of ‘common people’ was often crass and sexual. Really this is an effort to present the flowers as exactly what they are, sexual ornamentation. They are mechanisms by which plants manipulate their surroundings in an effort to procreate.
So the idea of vulgarity reflects two aspects of the wildflowers. Firstly it speaks to the ubiquity of the flowers used in the beer and then combined with affectation speaks of the true nature of flowers themselves.
I think this segues well into the concept of the beer. Basically the idea is that commonplace ingredients have been used to make a very basic beer style in a way that presents both in an elevated manner. Hence it is a “Vulgar Affectation.”
According to Jester King, Vulgar Affectation will be packaged in 750ml bottles ($12) and will be limited to three bottles per person when it goes on sale at the brewery today. The brewery also announced that new versions of its Snökel farmhouse ale (4.2 percent ABV) and El Cedro farmhouse ale (7.8 percent ABV) would be available in 750ml bottles as well.