As guests turned to their neighbors and fell into individual conversations, I took a second to sit back and observe the circle. Individuals that had never met before were now exchanging information and making plans to meet up for drinks later in the week. We could have reigned in the conversation and tried to solicit feedback on our recipes, but, in certain contexts, beer need be nothing more than a vehicle for facilitating human connection.
Dusting a passport off for a two-week trip in Western Europe means things are really happening. It isn’t all the planning and booking hotels, flights, or train tickets. Filling up a map with must-sees and must-dos makes me overflow with excitement, but something doesn’t seem real until the passport comes out.
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.
We believe in creating beers made with a sense of place. One way we do this is through our unique mixed culture comprised of wild yeasts and bacteria. It Includes native cultures built up from Yarrow that was harvested in the Yakima wine region and Elderflowers from the Bastyr Campus and other wild cultures gathered near the Ballard Locks. We’ve created a unique flavor profile that simply cannot be replicated elsewhere.
Many businesses have a proprietary component - we have our mixed culture. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, think of it like a rustic sourdough starter compared to store bought yeast. It’s what we use to ferment all of our beers. In the starter there’s many different types of yeast working in harmony. Compared this to your store bought yeast which is a single laboratory isolated strain.
For a brewery, the act of drinking a beer can be not much more than swigging sweet nectar into your gullet. Not saying that’s necessarily a bad way to go, but it could be so much more. As mentioned, it could be pleasantly life-changing by the taste, the atmosphere you drink it in and the message behind the making process. The experience starts by how you hear about the brewery for the first time...
When we began sharing our vision with people one of the challenging parts (that frankly we didn’t anticipate to this degree) was addressing the first question that pops into their head. What is Farmhouse?
Let’s start this thing with how it is that you came to be reading this post. We’re opening a brewery! Fair Isle will be a farmhouse brewery in the city of Seattle ... Andrew and I met through the North Seattle Home Brew Clu...