On Friday, March 17th Seattle’s Fair Isle Brewing introduces its newest beer: Fair Isle House Lager. Perhaps you already understand why this is more than just another beer release from Fair Isle. Since its first beer arrived back in 2017, the brewery has focused on saisons and oak-aged ales. Fair Isle Brewing’s taproom often featured guest taps pouring things like pilsner and other light lagers, but the brewery is now making its own House Lager. The first version of the beer releases this Friday.
In keeping with the brewery’s ethos, it is sourcing its grains from a small, local grain producer and otherwise focusing on the quality of the ingredients. LINC Malt will provide the grain for Fair Isle House Lager. LINC is what many folks refer to as a boutique malt house. That is, it produces much less malted barley than many of the other maltsters. But there’s more to LINC’s story than that. LINC malt is part of the LINC Foods co-op, a worker- and farmer-owned food hub based in Spokane, WA.
LINC Malt says it is “Steeped in an agrarian commitment to farmer-ownership and holding a priority towards relationships that span the grain supply chain, LINC Malt is determined to reinvent the value of malt and add a new chapter to the compelling story of Inland NW grain. Our production model ensures grain varietal and farm-source identification in every batch of malt, allowing us to make malt with distinct, high-quality flavor profiles reflective of the skill of Inland Northwest farmers and the unique geography of the region’s farmlands.”
Most of the big malt houses focus on the types of barley and other grains that promise the highest yield, which is understandable given the scope of those operations and the general brewing and distilling industry’s need for large quantities of straightforward malted barley. It’s a simple fact that the world needs huge farms growing vast quantities of high-yield barley, but there’s also value in preserving other grains grown on smaller, family-owned farms. LINC aims to help preserve the farming of less common grains, which happens on a smaller scale.
Anyway, back to this new beer from Fair Isle. “Brewed with 100% Washington malts from the fantastic LINC Malt, the main focus of our lager program is to place an emphasis on highly expressive, locally grown malts,” said a statement from Fair Isle Brewing. “After conversations and exploring grains with Brian of LINC Malts, we began to develop recipes based on classic lager traditions.”
“Our first release is inspired by German-style Pilsner, using a combination of LINC’s Genie Pils and Baronesse Pils, and German Tettnanger hops sourced from Crosby Hops. For this batch, we used classic lager techniques like spunding (or naturally carbonating in the tank), slow crashing and extended lagering for 6 weeks to allow the yeast to express itself.”
“Ultimately, we are approaching our production of lager the same as we approach brewing saisons: using time as a crucial component, and employing old-world techniques with Washington ingredients. We’re proud of this new venture and eager to share these carefully crafted lagers with you.”
Fair Isle Brewing invites you to the taproom on Friday, March 17th for the House Lager’s official introduction. Along with the beer, they’ll host a special pop-up by Beast & Cleaver, a family-owned butcher shop and restaurant in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood dedicated to using local, sustainable, organic meat.
For more news about recent beer releases, visit the Washington Beer Blog’s New Beer Releases page.