Fair Isle Brewing is taking the brewery model back to its roots, becoming Seattle’s only brewery with a tasting room that is exclusively dedicated to producing farmhouse and wild beers. With Fair Isle, owners Andrew Pogue and Geoffrey Barker are partnering with the highly-esteemed Jester King Brewery (renowned farmhouse-style brewery based in Austin, TX). The new brewery will blend the unique flavors and ingredients of the Pacific Northwest with the operational expertise and reputation of an established operation.
Fair Isle is filling an underserved niche in Seattle’s vibrant craft beer scene. Farmhouse beer is one of the most exciting and fastest growing segments in the beer industry. These special beers are fermented with a mixed culture that includes local, wild yeasts and bacteria; instead of the laboratory-isolated and tightly controlled commercial yeasts that are more typically used today. Farmhouse brewing techniques embrace the local environment. Like fine wines, Fair Isle’s beers are all about a specific place and a specific time.
The brewery will create, sell and market its unique style of beers while also operating a tasting room. A small commissary kitchen will play host to local chefs for monthly pop-up beer pairing dinners and events. Located in the heart of Seattle’s "Ballard Brewery District," Fair Isle will benefit from the synergy of nearby breweries. Additionally, offices for Facebook, Google, Tableau, Adobe and more are located just a few miles away in nearby "Silicon Canal."
The 50-seat front of house (with additional standing room) will be complemented by an additional 50-seat seasonal outdoor beer garden. The Fair Isle design aesthetic will be a marriage of the Northwest farmhouse and Danish modern – clean and simple, with a lived-in natural feel that elevates the beer, fosters community and nurtures a connection with the craft, time and place that the beers embody.
Fair Isle's partnership with Jester King will help catalyze the success of the business. Pogue has been friends with the founders of Jester King since it was launched in 2008 - building their bar, brewing, bottling, and even developing the recipe for Bonnie the Rare, a berliner weiss style beer. The team at Jester King will assist Fair Isle with guidance on operations, best practices developed at its Austin brewery and tasting room, and creative ideas for how Fair Isle can tap into its local surroundings. The partnership also lends Fair Isle a unique competitive advantage through leveraging Jester King's existing reputation and connections within the brewing industry.
In February 2017, the first collaboration beer was released under the name Fair Voyage. A sampling of a brew coined "Ellie" was sent to the editors at Draft Magazine – to which they responded, "Fair Isle is going to be a big deal among beer drinkers come 2018." For a brewery that isn’t in operation yet, they have had some fantastic press.
Jester King co-founder Jeffrey Stuffings with Fair Isle owners Andrew Pogue and Geoffrey Barker
About The Beer
Focusing on the increasingly popular niche of farmhouse beer, the Fair Isle team has refined its recipes over the last several years and developed the house fermentation culture that will define the brewery.
The technique of farmhouse brewing and mixed culture fermentation shares a lot with the process of baking sour dough bread. It uses a unique community of organisms from both commercially available and wild yeasts and bacteria that were cultivated locally from areas East and West of the Cascades. It includes native cultures built up from Yarrow harvested in the Yakima wine region and Elderflowers from the Bastyr Campus and other wild cultures gathered near the Ballard Locks.
It is then patiently aged, allowing the culture time to develop its uniquely complex flavor profile. It simply cannot be replicated elsewhere.
The yeast isn't the only local ingredient in their beers. Plenty of wonderfully delicious fruits and plants grow in the Pacific Northwest that will be integrated into the brewery’s recipes. And while “local” will never outweigh "quality," the team fully intends to take advantage of the amazing ingredients available in the region.