Announcing Fair Voyage
We’re excited to announce Fair Voyage — a farmhouse ale brewed with fireweed in collaboration with Jester King Brewery in Austin, TX.
This past summer we did a lot of foraging but generally in small amounts for experimental batches. Fireweed was the exception. With this collaboration beer in mind we sought out an ingredient that was in season, available in abundance, sustainably harvested and easy to transport to Austin. Our friend and forager, Alex Harwell, first brought up the idea of using Fireweed in a beer.
I love seeing this plant from alpine adventures to the median on the I-90. Fireweed grows abundantly in the Pacific Northwest in large colonies connected by underground rhizomes and dispersed prolifically by seed-fluff. Fireweed has a delightfully astringent, mild flavor which lent itself to be used by early settlers as a tea substitute and was used by indigenous peoples for a variety of purposes since time immemorial. This history of use, the palatable taste, and the fact that it is an abundant perennial plant in our area made me think it would be an excellent and sustainable candidate to try in our first larger scale herbally-infused beer.
Working with Alex we took to the higher elevation of the Cascades and gathered enough fireweed to brew a full 30 bbl batch. We dried the leaves and flowers and brought them down to Austin in November to use in this beer by steeping them at the end of the boil. We then cooled the wort and inoculated it with a blend of our mixed culture and Jester King's house culture of native yeast and bacteria from the Texas Hill Country. Fair Voyage was fermented in stainless steel for about two months and then bottled in early January.
Fair Voyage is 100% naturally refermented in bottles and kegs, unfiltered, and unpasteurized. At the time of bottling, it was 4.9% alcohol by volume, 1.002 specific gravity, 28 IBU, and 3.8 pH.
This beer is special to us as it marks our first collaboration with our partner Jester King Brewery. We look forward to starting this new chapter in our friendship and anxiously await.
-- Andrew Pogue | Co-Founder of Fair Isle Brewing