Introducing Jester King 分 桃 (Pronounced Fēn táo)
(Austin,TX) – We’re pleased to introduce Jester King 分 桃 (pronounced Fēn táo) — a barrel-aged wild beer refermented with peaches from the Texas Hill Country. After slowly fermenting for months in oak barrels with naturally occurring wild yeast and native souring bacteria, 分 桃 was racked to one of our oak tanks or “foudres” filled with several hundred pounds of fresh peaches from Fredericksburg, Texas. We then allowed the beer to slowly referment the peaches to dryness, resulting in a unique beer that reflects our setting in the Texas Hill Country.
We actually hoped to make this beer last year. However, a late freeze decimated the peach crop in the Hill Country. We only use real fruit in our refermentations (never any extracts, concentrates or flavorings), so we waited patiently for this year’s peach harvest to come to fruition. Like all of our beers that incorporate fruit, we do not add the fruit as a flavoring to filtered and/or pasteurized beer. Rather, we allow wild yeast and bacteria to referment the fruit, much like grape juice is fermented to make wine. The purpose is to create new flavors and aromas through fermentation that are greater than the sum of their parts.
分 桃 was brewed with Hill Country well water, barley, wheat, and hops. It was fermented with our mixed culture of brewers yeast, naturally occurring wild yeast, and native souring bacteria. The peaches came from Vogel Orchard in Fredericksburg, Texas. It is 6.4% alcohol by volume, is fully attenuated with a finishing gravity of 1.000, and is 3.4 pH at the time of bottling. Our first batch was bottled in July of this year. While 分 桃 is a very old beer that spent around a year slowly fermenting, we recommend drinking it “young”, as we expect the peach aromas and flavors to slowly fade with time.
分 桃 will be released on Friday, September 12th at Jester King Brewery when our tasting room opens at 4pm. About 150 cases (500ml x 12) are available, which will be sold exclusively at Jester King Brewery (500ml / $16), with a limit of 1 bottle per person per day.
The label art for 分 桃 was created by our own Josh Cockrell. Here is Josh, in his own words, describing the inspiration for the label:
“The imagery is a reflection of the fruit, its origins, and the hard work and time that went into making the beer. However, its meaning runs deeper. The scientific name for peach, Prunus Persica, suggests Persian origins, but the cultivation of the peach tree actually hails from China. With this setting in mind, I began to explore the relevant Chinese symbology and folklore. I quickly discovered a tale about two lovers. Upon biting into a peach, one lover is surprised by its deliciousness and without hesitation offers the remainder to his same-sex lover, wanting him to share the experience of its beauty. Eventually the phrase 分 桃, meaning “The Shared Peach,” became a Chinese byword for homosexuality, born out of a time, prior to Western influence, when homosexuality was accepted as a normal facet of life. Further research led me to another tale called “The Passion of the Cut Sleeve,” which also involves selfless love, this time between an emperor and his male lover asleep on his sleeve. Rather than risk disturbing his partner’s peaceful slumber, the Emperor cut off his own sleeve before getting up. Finally, a third story inspired me: a carp, after successfully swimming against a strong current to a magical gate, is rewarded by being transformed into a dragon.
The first two tales, initially written with little emphasis on the same-sex nature of the relationships, beautifully illustrate the selflessness of love in a universal nature. The third tale encapsulates recognition of hardship, encouragement, and reward. Together the three tales serve as inspiration for Jester King 分 桃. In the artwork, the shared peach ascends as a moon-like beacon above a mountain. Cascading down the mountain slope is a stream in the shape of a cut sleeve. Carp fight against the current toward a magical gate. Collectively, the imagery serves to recognize the long struggle for equality and is an allied encouragement to keep progressing towards that ultimate goal.
I would like to thank members of the LGBTQ community who kindly offered up feedback and helped direct me toward depicting a thoughtful representation of my support.”