Fair Isle will produce Farmhouse and wild beers such as tart saisons and American wilds ales. Farmhouse beer originated before the industrial revolution when beer was not yet produced with laboratory isolated and tightly controlled commercial yeasts, as is common today. Instead, beer was naturally fermented with wild yeasts and bacteria. Because the yeast cultures were locally and naturally occuring, the beers were unique to each specific brewery’s location, creating flavors representing a specific place and time.
Today, farmhouse beer doesn't have to be brewed on a farm; its more about a mindset and respect for its origins. It’s about embracing variation rather than avoiding it. We like to think of ourselves as shepherds rather than controllers - giving our fermentation cultures the time they need to make great beer.
Working together, we have refined our recipes and developed the house culture that we will use at Fair Isle. This mixed culture is a significant asset - it’s a lot like a sour dough bread starter and it takes time and attention to tailor and stabilize. You can’t just go out and buy our culture off the shelf; which is the general practice of the industry. It is a unique community of both commercially available and 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.
This is the emerald city - things grow here, lots of wonderfully delicious things. There's Washington barley just north of us and the majority of US hops are grown three hours east of us. These two local ingredients are widely used, but there's more that grows here. We are excited about using everything from fresh peaches to foraging for ingredients in the Cascades. We use local and seasonal ingredients to return to the provincial nature of brewing and create community with those who make our beer possible.