Turn back the craft beer clock with me, it’s 2013; and a small farmhouse brewery in the middle of nowhere, Dripping Springs, Texas, releases a raspberry sour beer. That beer was from Jester King Brewery and is called Atrial. Fast forward to today and the eighth version of that beer has been released.
I would argue that Atrial is the beer that put Texas on the map in the craft beer world, it’s the beer when I started trading that everyone asked me for. Atrial is what truly created “hype” for Jester King as a sought out brewery from Texas.
What exactly is Atrial? Here is the beer, in its exact measurements, according to Jester King:
Atrial Rubicite is our barrel-aged sour beer refermented with raspberries. For our 2018 blend, we racked 22 oak barrels of mature beer (about 1,320 gallons) onto 5,760 pounds of raspberries (4.4 pounds per gallon) in early April. After about six weeks of fruit refermentation, we packaged the beer and allowed it to naturally referment in bottles and kegs.
I was fortunate to be able to enjoy Atrial Blend 8, from 2018, and here are my thoughts on it.
Right away as I pour this beer, it’s just crazy to me the color that appears in my glass. It looks like blood, it truly is an impossibly dark red, like a Merlot. A thin layer of bright pink foam hangs around the top of the beer. One good inhale and I am hit with a wave of raspberry, tartness, oak, sweet fruit, some cherry and the very distinct “Jester King” funkiness. Jester King has such a distinct aroma in all of it’s beers and this one is no different, I know it right away.
The first sip is bursting with fresh raspberry flavor, though it is not as sweet as it may appear with the color or the aroma; it is a little more of the tart side of the berry. It is very smooth and easily “crushable,” finishing with some wine-like dryness and rounding out with a fairly strong oak character.