What the hell is atrial rubicite? It sounds like a chemical element found in volcanoes or on Mars. Turns out, it is nothing — at least nothing real. Atrial is the Latin-based adjective for an atrium, or an open-air space in a house. And rubicite is an imaginary red mineral from a particular, popular multiplayer computer game. It is an attention-grabbing name, though, and as it turns out, an excellent, creative beer.
Jester King Brewing is a very interesting company that is very creative and experimental in its beers, with great results. Many of the company’s beers are extremely highly-rated. The company has a whimsical yet well-done Medieval theme for its beers’ names and labels. Here is how Jester King describes themselves:
Jester King is an authentic farmhouse brewery committed to making wild ales and spontaneously fermented beers that reflect the unique character of our location in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Like the small, farmhouse breweries that inspired us, we pursue beer making that involves time, patience, unique fermentation, full attenuation, and refermentation in the serving vessel. We use water from our well, locally grown and malted grains, and native wild yeast to make beer with a sense of place unique to our brewery.
This is everything I love in beermaking: fresh, local ingredients and natural fermentation and processes. Here is how the company describes its Jester King Atrial Rubicite (5.8% ABV):
Mature, barrel aged sour beer is refermented to dryness with raspberries from Washington. Unfiltered, unpasteurized, and 100% naturally conditioned.
What refermentation means is that an already-fermented beer is introduced to yeast and sugar, or simply to a sugar source for the live yeast already present, and allowed to ferment further. In this case, the source source is raspberries. This very special ale also uses special bacteria for a nice sour flavor, as well as wild local yeast, meaning that the yeast in the air and environment are allowed contact with the exposed wort to give the beer a very local, natural flavor. This beer is also barrel-aged before refermentation, adding yet another special element. Aging tends to increase the complexity, and the aroma and flavor palates, of a beer. So I think I may understand the name of this beer better now. Perhaps the atrium is the open air that allows the local, natural yeast access, and perhaps the rubicite refers to the redness of the raspberries.
Everything On Tap Review: Jester King Atrial Rubicite:
Bottle: The 500ml bottle is rounded at the bottom with a long, thin, swan’s neck — a lovely shape. The label is round with a pale tan background. The image of a raspberry dominates, with grey and pale yellow lettering around it.
Pour: The color is a deep, rich, ruby, rosy, hazy red-magenta with tinges of amber. The head is maroon and quite thin, much less than a finger thick. It is fizzy and animated, dissipating quickly and leaving no lacing. Because this beer is double-fermented, unfiltered, unpasteurized, and bottle-conditioned, you will notice yeast sediment settling to the bottom of the glass.
Aroma: This is an extremely deep, complex aromatic palate. It offers musty earth, humid soil, rich mushrooms, and barnyard funk, paired with bright raspberry, cherry, and blackberry notes. There is a distinct lactic element, as well as a sour, bacterial side.
Flavor: The palate is immediately hit with raspberries, but not in the way one might expect. Rather than a sweet, syrupy berry element, the raspberries present themselves as tart, crisp, tingly, and fruity, with a heap of lactic acid, but without unneeded sweetness or any cloying elements at all. This is complimented with sour tartness, balanced with earthy, rich, pungent soil and fungus, with barnyard funkiness. The oaken barrels are also prominent, adding a woody, tannic state to the palate. The finish is oaky and tannic, but also sour and tart. Overall, the flavor palate is extremely well-balanced and broad. This is a world-class natural ale.
Mouthfeel: The body is medium and the carbonation is medium-high. This fizziness tempers well the sourness of this ale. The oak tannins make their presence known on the back of the tongue, and the lactic acid and bacteria also tingle the middle of the tongue.
Structure: This ale is profoundly stable, complex, and strong.
Food Pairing: Such a deep, complex, flavorful ale would pair well with similar food. Enjoy this with strong, aged cheeses; roast duck, lamb, or goose; rich French sauces; or Beijing imperial cuisine.
Overall Rating Out Of 5 Possible Beer Mugs: