When trying to find the "best" fruit for making beer with you
intuitively start with what tastes best out-of-hand. Because when we
referment fruit all the sugar is stripped out this doesn't always
translate, notably with berries you'll find that other flavors and
aromatics which are hidden behind the sugar come out. After that
refermentation the balance that you enjoy when you eat the fruit no
Peaches are the fruit where it is most likely that what tastes good to
eat tastes good in beer, and over a bunch of years as a hobby brewer,
and then especially in 2016 while working on starting up Floodland, I
tried every local peach I could get a hold of. RAMA's were hands-down
the best, followed closely by Collins Family. RAMA was a more obscure
farm, at the time they only sold at the U-District Farmer's Market on
Saturdays (and now they only sell directly) so I wasn't sure if we could
get fruit from them or not.
In early 2017 I had called them up on the phone and talked to Marilynn,
one of the two owners. She was very kind but told me that no, I
couldn't get fruit from them for beer. I checked in again a few months
later and the answer was the same, but as we got to talking I mentioned
picking fruit ourselves. She was surprised that we'd be willing to do
that and said that the harvest was expected to run late that year and
that the kids who often help them pick were going to be back in school
before the final trees were harvested, leaving a gap where there would
be too much fruit for just the two of them to pick.
So in mid September that year I headed out to Bridgeport with my very
good friend Seth. He had just left his position as the lead brewer at
the place we'd formerly worked together. For us it was a really fun way
to get back to briefly working together, a road trip in his short window
of time off before he and his wife moved to Oregon to be closer to
family. Getting to work with one of your best friends is a gift, and I'm
still really grateful that he and I got to take that and some other
trips that year (if you came to either of the two dinners we did with
Hogstone at QA Masonry in January 2020 then you had the cider from
Guemes Island that he and I also made that year).
This trip was towards the end of harvest for Floodland and I was
burning out, so having someone else along to get in the truck at 3am to
drive 5 hours was also helpful. Starting a brewery and then moving on to
start another brewery was a gut-wrenchingly difficult task and our
daughter was turning 1 right during that first harvest. Honestly, it's a
testament to how fun it was that I remember any of it at all given my
I had met Rick and Marilynn in person at the Farmer's Markets, but
spending time picking and sorting peaches with them really bonded us and
made the relationship between our brewery and their farm more personal.
Rick was laser-focused on how the peaches had to be picked and handled,
he was as picky about it as I am about how we make the beer, and so I
immediately felt a connection beyond just an appreciation of their
fruit. We helped pick Blushing Star peaches that year and drove back
with a lot of nectarines that became 2017 Meditation on Light.
We continued taking fruit from Rick and Marilynn every year until in
2020 when, stranded in Hawaii and having a hard time getting back due to
COVID, they decided to pass the reins of the farm to their son Nathan.
The 2020 transition was easy and the fruit remained excellent, Nathan
was profoundly qualified and had not only a respect for the way things
were done at RAMA but also a deeply technical background in organic
farming. At the very end of the 2020 harvest wildfires hit and RAMA was
overrun. The alpaca had thankfully just been moved off the farm
property, and as the fires came in they turned on the irrigation system
Most of you remember our 2020 fundraiser to help raise funds for
Nathan's brother Ben, who had been working with Nathan and had, with his
son, been living on the farm property. The fire damaged a portion of
the orchards, and entirely destroyed all the buildings including the
living and working quarters as well as the pump house and irrigation
systems. In 2021 Nathan was forced to let the trees rebuild their
strength as he worked to get the farm infrastructure rebuilt.
We were psyched beyond belief when RAMA fruit returned to us in 2022.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and Nathan's fruit was better than
ever, although in smaller quantities. He has a long road ahead of him of
replanting some of the orchard, peach trees take years to bear fruit.
So in 2022, not knowing what volumes he'd have for us, we decided to
blend many of the varietals to make a white label RAMA single farm beer.
We put the Rival apricots into 2021-2022 Seekers and the rest of the
fruit all went into this peach blend. As most of you know, nectarines
are just peaches with a small genetic abnormality which leads to them
not having fuzz (peaches will sometimes spontaneously turn to
nectarines, which tends to be a trait which isn't advantageous to the
fruit as the lack of fuzz makes them more prone to pest and disease
pressure). So this three peach blend is Red Haven peaches, Red
Gold nectarines, and Blushing Star peaches which normally would go into
Firmament/Transmigration, Meditation, and Fallow, respectively.
The fruiting rate on this is similar to most of our recent peach beers,
maybe a touch on the light side because we wanted to strike that
balance where the saison and the fruit both show themselves. There's
that classic RAMA floral character here, as well as tropical notes of
melon, pineapple, as well as some Floodland-y citrus. If you like the
other RAMA beers then you'll like this, I think it's one of the most
balanced and drinkable beers we've released from their fruit.
As with all of our peach beers I recommend not cellaring this for too
long, I know some people are just going to ignore that, but these beers
really really drink best within the first year, which is to say within
the next 6-7 months. I personally enjoy them with the sediment
incorporated, so pour a few half-glasses and then swirl and top with the
beer once the sediment is incorporated.
Bottling date: 11/10/2022
ABV: 6.98% ABV
Cellar: best by Fall 2023