Guests at Austin's Jester King Brewery will have access to 165 acres of picnic grounds and hiking trails.

By Mike Pomranz
June 03, 2020
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The brewing industry underwent so many transformations over the past decade (an extension of the past four decades), but one of the coolest shifts was the emergence of the brewery as a destination. As thousands of new brewers sprung up across the U.S., many focused on serving beer right out of their own taprooms and, suddenly, the idea of visiting a brewery was no longer a novelty reserved for tours, but actually a place to hang out.

Sadly, the coronavirus pandemic has thrown a wrench in that concept, but over the years, brewers have also proved to be remarkably innovative, and a highly-regarded Texas brewery is using this unfortunate situation as a way to push their idea of the destination brewery even further: Austin-based Jester King has “reimagined” its facility as a whole beer “park.”

Credit: Granger Coats

“Being closed for the last two and half months has given us a chance to think deeply about what Jester King would look like when it reopens. We knew things would be much different,” founder Jeffrey Stuffings wrote announcing the plan. “After much thought, we've decided to reopen Jester King in the mold of a park offering picnic grounds and hiking trails for our guests to enjoy across our 165 acres of Hill Country land!”

Credit: Courtesy of Jester King Brewery

Specifically, the brewery/park now has six outdoor green spaces—The Beer Garden, The Hop Yard, The Goat Pen, The Vineyard, The Pasture, and The Canopy—each with their own appeal from brewery-adjacency to plenty of shade to, uh, views of goats! Additionally, Stuffings says that there “will be five more lands opening in the near future, connected by a two mile nature trail. Guests will soon get to experience the full breadth of Jester King's natural beauty and wildlife.”

The first six spaces opened this past Friday, May 29, but even with all this space, Jester King is still taking additional precautions. “Not only will all seating be outdoors, physically-distanced, and by reservation only, on top of that we are limiting visits to finite sessions,” Stuffings explains. And between these sessions—which range from two to four hours and never allow more than 200 guests at a time—the brewery “will be doing a hard close for cleaning and sanitization.” Plus, this is on top of other basic precautions like biodegradable cups and face mask requirements.

Credit: Courtesy of Jester King Brewery

“We sincerely thank you for the support we've received over the last two and half months. Seeing our community rally around Jester King and our craft brewery peers has been incredibly encouraging,” Stuffings said, concluding his message. “We're very excited to welcome you back to a new and different Jester King—one that's been reimagined for safety and to bring us a step closer to fulfilling our potential of being a beautiful, expansive outdoor space for guests to enjoy food and drink connected to a time, place, and people.”

Granted, Jester King is lucky. Few breweries have this much space to work with. But by thinking outside of the taproom, they’re making the best out of a bad situation—and setting up for a brighter future in the process. More information and a link for reservations can be found here.