It’s been 8 months since I began brewing at Floodland. The release of beers will begin soon with a trickle of bottles early in 2018. There are 8 distinct beers in bottles at this point, with more to follow soon as many of the 2017 summer harvest beers reach maturity. Most of what will come out in early 2018 was packaged in late summer or early fall, and beers bottled in the coming months will age until the summer. Bottle conditioning takes its sweet time and the beers will come out once they get right.
There are a lot of whole fruit beers that were made this summer. Some may never see the light of day, but it is likely at this point that over twenty will be released at one point or another. Although the beers remain focused in their profile and intent, that number of beers sort of showcases that this first summer was an exercise in new ideas. I approached 2017 as an opportunity to brainstorm, to try new and multiple fruiting techniques, to try fruit from different farms, malt from different maltsters, to try new and varied cultures and base beers. Because of this there are a lot of cool beers that will come out in 2018 which I may likely never make again.
I am well into brewing season for 2018 saison and acid beers which will be refermented on fruit next summer (and the following summer), and I am already looking back at the 2017 beers and refining what I will do next year.
I mostly want to save my thoughts on the beers themselves for when they are out in the public. It’s been four months since I last sent a Floodland news email, and there are a lot of new folks on the list so the remainder of this will exist largely as a recap of the basics.
I have a 4,600 sq ft warehouse in Fremont. It is intended mostly as a barrel storage and production facility. I am trying to keep the Floodland operation pretty small so that I can focus on making beer, and don’t have any current/short-term plans to have a taproom. I am currently making my wort offsite, mostly at Seapine in SODO, where my friend Drew has been kind enough to let me come in on weekends on his rare days off. The wort I make there I put into totes and drive back to my space to ferment.
Most of my fermentations start in an open top tank made by Foeder Crafters in St Louis. Some primary fermentation takes place in barrels or puncheons, but oak fermentation is not by any means a rule or a statement, simply an easy/affordable way to make the beers I am making and to be able to create components from which to blend.
I am also working on native/ambient fermented beer using a coolship made by fabricator Chris Baker in Bellingham, and those beers will come out when they are ready, most likely not until 2019 at the earliest. I am using a variety of cultures, including a few mixed saison-esque cultures, which are mostly comprised of yeast strains I’ve appropriated from bottles of real saison along with some English strains. Due to the nature of open fermentation these cultures pick up ambient/airborn yeast and bacteria, and as the culture is repitched from batch to batch it naturally has a tendency to evolve and change. Because of this many of the beers have some degree of acidity, although my tendency is towards light acidity, which I balance by blending, hopping, and so on.
To preemptively answer a few questions that folks new to the list might have...
What is Oakworks?
Oakworks is my bottle club. My goal with Oakworks was to create a way to sell beer directly to people who wanted it in a way that made the brewery as sustainable as possible for me. I don’t like asking people to line up to buy beer, because I don’t like waiting in line to buy beer, so I wanted to find an alternative way to handle sales.
My goal is to focus on making beer as much as possible, which necessitates a small operation. The trade off of the small scale of Floodland is that there is less beer, which leads to concerns about exclusivity. My goal is to make the beer as available as possible while maintaining a balance that allows me to continue to stay hands on making the beer, and to be able to pay rent in Seattle. Thankfully there are a lot of other amazing breweries in Seattle, the NW, and outside of the NW who distribute here who are all making lots of nice beer.
Where/how do I get beer?
Oakworks 2018 is sold out. There WILL be beer available for public sale in 2018. There is a ‘reserve’ list for Oakworks. Folks on the reserve list are effectively on the waiting list for any bottle club spots that open in the future, and more importantly, the first public availability outside of Oakworks will be announced to those folks first. My goal is to have a public bottle release by summer 2018 at the latest.
The reserve list is a separate mailing list, so that folks who just want news and stories on the making of the beer can be on this email list, and folks who want both news and bottle sales details and Oakworks membership offers can be on that list. Don’t bother untangling the logic of why I set it up that way, it’s a quirk of how things are set up behind the scenes.
Floodland bottle sales are done online through vinespring, to register for the reserve list simply go sign up here: https://floodlandbrewing.vinespring.com/register
Thanks again to everyone for their patience and support. The next Floodland email should be focused more on the beer I am working on and less on logistics.
Previous Floodland News emails