Geoffrey Barker and Andrew Pogue met as members of the North Seattle Home Brew Club. They both love saisons and sours. They traveled to mixed-fermentation guru Jester King in Austin, Texas, where they added to their friendship circle. The duo spent years looking for a place to launch their brewery. Eventually they landed in a former home of an orchid retailer, a boxy, lightly industrial building at 936 Northwest 49th Street, in the thick of Ballard’s brewery district. With the help of Jester King, Barker and Pogue opened Fair Isle Brewing in January 2020 focusing on mixed-culture and wild beers, such as saisons, grisettes, bier de garde, farmhouse and American-style sour beers. Today, Peaks & Pints presents a to-go flight of Fair Isle beers — a flight we’re calling Peaks and Pints Beer Flight: Fair Isle .
Fair Isle Bobbi
Even though Fair Isle Brewing doesn’t technically brew IPAs, the Seattle brewery can’t deny that hops are deeply rooted in the Pacific Northwest. For their New World hoppy saison, Bobbi, they threw Loral, Citra and Mosaic hops on barley and wheat grown in the Skagit Valley and malted by Skagit Valley Malts. Expect loads of zippy tangerine and bright lemon zest on the palate, with a refreshing dry and tart finish.
Cordelia is a saison brewed with Elwha River spelt and Monica oat pale malt from LINC Malt comprising the base beer, plus boysenberries. It’s rounded out by three months of conditioning in their oak foeder for vivid notes of jammy boysenberry pie, with a dry finish to keep it refreshing and light on the palate.
There’s a good chance you’ve never had an oak-fermented export stout brewed with cocao nibs and fermented with wild and feral yeasts and bacteria. First, it’s a niche beer style; not everybody makes a tart stout. Second, it just sounds weird, so if you did happen to come across one in the wild, you might pass it over because those two words “tart” and “stout,” don’t sound like they should go together. It’s like a peanut butter and jelly and pickled jalapeno sandwich. It sounds kind of off. But here’s the thing: peanut butter and jelly and pickled jalapeno sandwiches are delicious, and so are tart stouts. Just ask Fair Isle Brewing. Their Rufus is just that — an oak-fermented export stout brewed with cocao nibs and fermented with their house blend of wild and feral yeasts and bacteria. Expect sour up front followed by stout notes on the finish.
“Kiwi fruit, aka kiwi berries or kiwi grapes, are perhaps the Pacific Northwest’s best kept secret,” states Fair Isle Brewing regarding their tropical saison “Ana” brewed with Ananasnaya kiwi fruit from Burnt Ridge Nursery & Orchards in Onalaska, Washington. “The fruit is reminiscent of a Kiwi but is the size of a large grape and has a smooth skin that is edible and packed with tropical flavors, even sweeter than a traditional Fuzzy Kiwi. The fruit is grown on Kiwi vines and thrives in the Pacific Northwest climate, yet it’s not widely available.” The subtle mineral aroma of Ana is closely followed by notes of Pippin green apples, white grape skins, melon rind and bursts with tropical notes and bright acidity. Dry like Fair Isle’s other saisons, but with a perceived sweetness coming from the kiwi, Ana stands apart.