The Jester King SPON Muscat 2017 arrives in a distinctive green, punted 375mL bottle, sealed with a wine cork and an oversized cap – a nod to the traditional format of Cantillon lambic. The cork releases with minimal pop, and the beer, poured into wine stemware, reveals a hazy, glowing gold hue. A dense, white foam lingers for nearly 30 minutes, indicative of its bottle refermentation. Sediment layers at the bottom underscore the commitment to an uncut, softer carbonation.


The aroma of SPON Muscat presents a lively bouquet of white grapefruit, pineapple, nectarine, starfruit, and ripe strawberry. Additional layers include saltwater, wet dough, and lime blossom honey, creating a complex mix with a touch of savory notes, reminiscent of a subtle smokiness and a phenolic tennis ball aroma found in Reisling grapes.


Diving into the tasting experience, SPON Muscat defies expectations with a jaw-dropping profile. Comparisons to the world classic Cantillon Vigneronne are inevitable, yet SPON Muscat manages to soften the edges and shift the focus from acid to tannin. The overall acidity surprises, rating at a mere 4/10, allowing for large gulps without hesitation. Lively and effervescent carbonation enhances the dance of flavors, striking a well-balanced chord between citric and lactic acid. The leathery character from grape skins and barrel tannins imparts a refined hybrid of white wine and lambic, showcasing superior structure rarely seen in recent sour ale memory.


SPON Muscat boasts an extremely well-balanced mouthfeel, with carbonation that is both lively and effervescent yet soft. The beer’s complexity is further complemented by a creamy, coating lactic character mid-palate and touches of buttery oak barrel. The quick acid sting in the finish adds a dynamic element to the overall experience, leaving the palate refreshed and eager for immediate subsequent gulps.


In essence, SPON Muscat emerges as an elegant beer, primed for pairing with a Michelin-starred dinner, yet possessing a chuggable quality akin to Gatorade at a sporting event. Its remarkably gentle acidity, softer than Belgian lambic and most American sours, positions it as a standout in the American sour landscape. The subtlety and refinement of SPON Muscat rival some of the best funky saisons from renowned producers. While lacking the intense aromas and flavors of Belgian geuze, this young lambic already exudes incredible sophistication, earning its place as a world-class offering and a must-try for enthusiasts of sour ales. The refined balance and quenching nature firmly establish SPON Muscat as a potential contender for any beer aficionado’s personal Top 50 list.