It is said that every picture tells a story. Fair Isle Brewing likes to think that every beer tells a story too. Here is news of three oak-aged beer releases from Seattle’s Fair Isle Brewing. You can order them online, by the way.
“We’re excited about every beer we release, but it’s a rare occurrence that we’re able to announce three new oak-aged beers at once so we wanted to share some information on Magohalmi, Montgomery, and Gus with you,” said the release notes for these three new beers.
“As always, these beers were produced with unique ingredients sourced from local PNW Providers — Asian pears from Nashi Orchards on Vashon Island, hand-foraged larch tips we gathered from the Wenatchee Mountains, Salish Blue wheat from Skagit Valley Malting — and each was designed to tell a story, not only about Fair Isle as a brewery, but also about the region we call home.”
Here are the beer descriptions and backstories straight from the brewery:
An oak-aged farmhouse ale with Asian pear juice from Nashi Orchards and second-use smoked pears
750ml & draft
BATCH: One | PACKAGED: June 2021
Last July we created a co-ferment of oak-aged farmhouse ale with freshly pressed Asian pear juice from our friends at Nashi Orchards out on Vashon Island. The juice, taken from late season Korean Giants grown in Hood River, was blended with a hop-forward saison and rested in neutral oak barriques for 11 months. This extended maturation allowed the two elements to truly meld and transform into something greater than the sum of its parts.
After finishing another project featuring smoked Anjou pears, we put the leftover fruit back to work and racked Mago on top for a quick steep prior to packaging. This step brought the pear flavor out to the forefront, resulting in a lightly smokey and extremely fruit forward perry/beer hybrid!
We’re pleased to collaborate with Nashi, as we’re fans of their philosophy and methods of producing perry and cider; we’re equally excited to venture down the path of exploring myriad possibilities in the world of co-fermentation.
Named after the goddess responsible for creating mountains, rivers and islands in Korean folklore, Magohalmi is a nod to the bounties of our local natural environs.
A farmhouse ale aged in Copperworks Gin casks with foraged Larch tips
750ml & draft
BATCH: One | PACKAGED: May 2021
One of our absolute favorite beers of last year was a Knitting Circle release that paired the botanical character of gin casks from Copperworks with highly expressive foraged larch tips. The citrusy aspect of these ingredients coalesced and turned out to be a beautiful match to our house culture. No deliberation needed, it was a unanimous decision to scale the recipe up and reprise the beer as a public release.
Montgomery started as a base of an open fermented farmhouse stock ale, allowing more ester expression to emerge during fermentation. This base, featuring grains from Skagit Valley Malting, was then transferred to gin casks for two months and dosed with fresh larch tips we foraged near Fall City, WA. The terpenes present in these tips impart a fantastic bouquet of flavors — tart lemon, sweet basil and tangy sorrel all seamlessly mesh with the gin notes from the Copperworks casks.
Montgomery captures what we love most about saison and farmhouse ales: bright, yet soft flavors that are balanced enough to be extremely drinkable. Sometimes an ingredient or a specific type of spirit cask is a natural complement to our mixed culture, and this is a near pitch perfect example of that. We’re extremely excited for you to try it.
An oak-aged farmhouse ale dry-hopped with Idaho Gem
750ml, 375ml & draft
BATCH: One | PACKAGED: June 2021
While hop-forward beers and oak-aged beers may seem to be in different veins, we’ve particularly enjoyed how these elements play off one another in our saisons.
Perhaps you remember Jean-Michel, a release that was blended from puncheons and dry-hopped with French Barbe Rouge. The red fruit elements of the hop varietal and the vanillin present in the wood merged together to create an astounding note reminiscent of strawberry pound cake.
This convinced us to continue exploring this path in our oak program, and what led to Gus! Starting with a farmhouse ale base featuring Salish Blue wheat from Skagit Valley Malting, Gus completed primary fermentation in oak puncheons and continued to age for 7 months. A hearty dry-hop of flavorful Idaho Gem from Yakima Chief adds distinct notes of red currant, grapefruit, and raspberry to the soft, rounded base beer. Simple, elegant, and extremely drinkable.
For more news about recent beer releases, visit the Washington Beer Blog’s New Beer Releases page.