After a year of scouring the urban landscape of Seattle, Fair Isle Brewing has finally landed a home in the heart of Ballard. Before this announcement came, beer lovers in the Pacific Northwest were already chomping at the bit to learn all they could about Seattle’s most anticipated brewery.
The buzz began when word got out that two local home brewers, Geoffrey Barker and Andrew Pogue, were looking for a home of their own. The two met through the North Seattle Home Brew Club and began brewing together in 2015. Soon, the two began putting a plan in motion to create Seattle’s first brewery focusing strictly on mixed culture farmhouse and wild beers utilizing foraged ingredients.
Prior to meeting Barker, Pogue formed a relationship with Jester King that dates back to the brewery’s early days in Austin. In addition to brewing with them, Pogue and his wife Heather built a bar top in Jester King’s taproom. He is also credited with inspiring Jester King’s Bonnie The Rare Berliner Weiss with a test batch he created.
Fair Isle’s connection will also utilize Joshua Cockrell, a Jester King partner, long-time label artist, and a fellow Seattle resident who created the infamous Deku glass. Cockrell is also credited for creating Fair Isle’s logo.
Yet Fair Isle has more going for it than a respected name to back it; the brewery has quality beer to boot. Through a series of salons and private dinners, Fair Isle has been sharing home brews with the public, all of which have been received positively. Free tickets to the most recent salon were snatched up quickly. With an intimate group of 40, the gentlemen presented six home brews ranging from a highly refreshing spelt saison to a stouted farmhouse made with green walnuts. Each beer was made with ingredients harvested by the duo and utilizing their own locally developed mixed culture.
With the official location for Fair Isle secured in Ballard, Barker and Pogue have taken advantage of the American Jobs Act set in place by the Obama Administration in 2012. Under Title III of the American Jobs Act, which didn’t come into effect until 2016, non-accredited individuals can invest in small businesses or private start-ups. In other words, anyone can invest regardless of income or accreditation. With the utilization of the investing platform NextSeed, Fair Isle is also able to offer a return investment of one and half times the original investment. Other perks include investor exclusive bottles and invitations to private dinners, depending on the tier in which one invests. So far the brewery has raised over $126,900 through the NextSeed campaign.
Fair Isle will be Seattle’s first farmhouse brewery and is slated to begin brewing in February of next year. Although the taproom is not set to open until June, they hope to see their beer on the market as early as March.
So, to address the elephant in the room, what does a partnership with Jester King look like for Fair Isle?
“To throw in a metaphor, we see Jester King as a big brother,” Poque stated in regard to their partnership with the infamous farmhouse brewery. “[They’ll be] showing us the ropes and helping us out as we start this journey so that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”
For more information on how to invest in Fair Isle, check out their NextSeed campaign.
Brandon Wiley spent a good portion of his adult life as an actor, writer, producer and director for film and stage. That was until he found work in a brewery in 2010. He’s been kicking around the beer scene since, never to look back on his old life in entertainment. His teeth were cut in Portland’s beer community and now he’s sharpening his tools in Seattle’s. He owes a lot of his career to Ashley Rose of Brewvana. She is the best. Buy her a beer. Email: BrandonMichaelWiley@gmail.com IG: @BrandonMWiley