Fair Isle Joins the Ballard Brewery Scene

Photo credit: Fair Isle Brewing.

Fair Isle, the newest brewery to enter the scene in Ballard, focuses on saisons created with ingredients farmed and foraged in the Pacific Northwest. Their beers are then fermented with their house blend of wild and feral yeasts and bacterias, creating a beer that is PNW to the core.

Fair Isle opened on January 23rd, and the taproom has been packed ever since. And for good reason! Fair Isle offers a selection of tart Saisons and American Wild Ales, a departure from the typical IPA-heavy brewery menus we are accustomed to in the PNW.

These beers are categorized as “Farmhouse Ales” because the way in which they are brewed originated before the industrial revolution, when beer was naturally fermented with wild yeasts and bacteria. Today, most breweries use a more controlled system of commercial yeasts and processes that allow them to brew large quantities of a specific recipe, knowing with pretty much 100% accuracy what the final brew will taste like.

The Sadie and Bobby, Fair Isle draft beers. Photo credit: Andrea Pesola.

While Fair Isle is not brewing in a farmhouse, they are brewing with the Farmhouse Ale Mentality. That is to say, they are taking advantage of the rich ecosystem we get to call home in the PNW. The team at Fair Isle forages for wild cultures throughout the state, while also incorporating seasonally fresh ingredients like peaches into their ales. 

The team at Fair Isle has developed and refined their house culture, a blend of both commercially available and wild yeasts and bacteria. They compare this mixed culture to a sour-dough bread starter, it takes time and experimentation to refine and craft to get to the desired end product.

The full taproom during a recent Saturday visit. Photo credit: Andrea Pesola.

Stop by their taproom to try these wild beers for yourself! They currently have seven Fair Isle Draft beers, and a curated list of guest beer, cider and wine. The taproom is warm and cozy, evoking a modern farmhouse feel. Keep in mind that the taproom is 21+ only, and pets are not allowed inside.

Their taproom hours are Wednesday through Friday from 3:00 to 10:00 pm, and Saturday through Sunday from noon to 10:00 pm. They don’t currently serve food, but their kitchen is opening soon and will feature a rotating line-up of guest restaurants.

Fair Isle | 936 NW 49th St, Seattle |