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Bottle of 2021-2022 Chimacum Valley

2021-2022 Chimacum Valley

About four years ago I was looking around at local grain farmers who were doing things organically that were of interest. I was hoping to find some small grain farmers on this side of the mountains. We'd brewed a few buckwheat beers with buckwheat that Skagit Valley Malting had helped us find, but their grower had stopped planting it. I found that Keith who had started Finnriver Cider had begun growing grain out on the peninsula, and I reached out. He also had spelt, although sadly no buckwheat available at the time, and since we brew with copious amounts of spelt we took a bunch of raw spelt berries and came up with a new beer with them. This became the first batch of what has evolved to finally result in this beer.

After brewing with the spelt a few years, we finally kind of nailed the beer with the third batch, brewed in late 2021. After aging that beer for about a year and a half in barrel we brewed a new batch early 2023 with 2022 harvest spelt from Keith.

I've made saison which we package in what we'd say is similar to the methode ancestrale, ie: pet nat, where the beer is bottled during primary fermentation and finishes its fermentation in the bottle to create the carbonation. We also have bottle conditioned beers using gyle, which is to say beer which was just brewed and has had yeast pitched but hasn't yet really begun fermentation (somewhat similar to krausening, which is using still-fermenting beer during the peak of early fermentation). 21/22 Chimacum Valley was made by taking very old and well aged beer and blending about 50% young (6 week old) beer in after the initial fermentation had slowed but before the latter fermentation would really kick off and dry the beer out.

Blending old beer with young beer is a classic technique which is integral to the history of saison as an agricultural product, so it seemed fitting to call back to that history with this beer which celebrates the amazing Elwha River spelt that Keith and his family are growing out in Chimacum.

The beer has some really nice floral and citrus notes, and the mouthfeel is wildly fluffy for a beer that is totally dry and has no residual sugar. We always try to drop saisons this time of year because it's so great to drink classic saison in the sun, and this is one that I expect will also age really well.

Bottling date: 02/23/2023
ABV: 5.69% ABV

Cellar: best before spring 2025

Bottle of 2023 Arise and Cease

2023 Arise and Cease

This is the third release of this beer, and to be honest the Heirloom collab we brewed was REALLY similar, so part of me thinks of this as the 4th batch. The first was made entirely in tank, and was inspired by the history of grisette. Grisette was a cousin beer to saison which would have had a mixed culture and been tank fermented and served young before it got too funky. So when we made the second batch of this the fermentation was going slowly and we had to clear it out of tank and into barrel, so we used the widely-loved "long name" label to differentiate it from the first batch.

I think in the last few years I've chilled out a bit about those kinds of differentiations and realized that almost nobody but me really cares about that level of minutiae. So since there's been so many white label beers lately we brought back the original label for this with art. This beer has had some slight variations but this one hews pretty close to the last batch, the only difference being we used entirely whole flower hops on this one, which I think gives it a very classic saison profile.

This beer, as in the past, is being released young while it's still pretty hoppy and has a pretty clean/saison fermentation profile. What's going to happen is that it's going to continue to evolve in the bottle. I really suggest having a bottle now and then keeping it somewhere not too cold for a while and coming back and having another one in like a year to see how it's evolved. At some point in the interim it's going to start getting wild and it's best to just let it go on that journey and do its thing. I don't recommend keeping this in a wine fridge if you are someone who does that (in general I don't recommend that with any saison but definitely not this one).

Also of note, in past years we've gyled this beer to condition. I wanted to see how using honey would change it this time, as I think it results in a bit less bottle sediment which tends to age better, so you'll see that the lab-tested ABV is 4.4% instead of the previous 3.9% when we use gyle... that's a result of us doing lab tested ABVs post-condition which tend to accurately show how drastically conditioning affects the final abv. The beer is still really light and has a wildly pale glow, it's very aromatic, super refreshing, and a quintessential summer crusher.

Bottling date: 05/18/2023
ABV: 4.41% ABV

Cellar: drink summer 2023 and/or cellar til spring 2024, best before fall 2024

Bottle of 2022 Filaree

2022 Filaree

This was one of our favorite beers in 2021, and that was part of the reason I wanted to make it again. I also wanted to try to make another blend so that we could incorporate all of the plums JC grows.

Since 2017 we've taken JC's Elephant Heart plums and made Nothing/All, and we've blended his Shiro and Howard's Miracle plums into Time/Eternity. In 2021 we were also able to get some of his Santa Rosa plums and so those and the Elephant Heart made Filaree. In 2022 JC also has a new Green Gage tree that's producing fruit, so we combined all five plums. I think this gives the beer even more depth, and the strawberry/fruit punch juiciness of this totally explodes out of the glass. If you wanted to explain to someone why plum beers are the absolute shit you'd just give them a pour of this. Every time I open one I end up grinning like a kid.

Each year the amount of the plums the trees produce varies, a few of these come from very old trees and there's one large tree which produces the Shiro, for example. This year there were a lot of Elephant Hearts and less Santa Rosa, and the Elephant Heart are darker, so it's good to have all the pale plums (Shiro/Howard's/Green Gage) in there because it maintains a similar dark pink as in 2021.

One of the questions we get asked is: which beer should I drink first? This one. Drink this one first. It's one of our best beers, in my opinion.

Bottling date: 12/08/2022
ABV: 6.14% ABV

Cellar: I think the plum beers are so good in the first year, I'd just drink it this summer/fall, best by spring 2024

Bottle of MMXXII The Object of Devotion

MMXXII The Object of Devotion

Our second iteration on this beer. The first was inspired when we got this insane Grenache pomace from our buds at Avennia Winery. Aaron brought it back to the brewery and when we opened up the doors to the truck it just smelled like muddled cucumbers, in the best way possible. I immediately just threw away the existing plan for the blend and grabbed all the gin barrels we had and made the beer. This time we were prepared to make it and we were also able to get Marsanne pomace to coferment with the Grenache. The result is a little bit paler than the 2020 version, but the depth of fruit character is much better and the blend of gin beers is MUCH more gin forward. Normally I'm really light handed with the gin, but this blend is Transmigration-ish in its balance of fruit, gin, and the kind of spritzy citrus/floral Floodland fermentation character.

The emergency that caused us to have no green glass late 2022 and early 2023 ended with us buying clear glass to keep bottling, and this is the final of those bottlings. The grape beers which tend to have longer aging times and where the hops are more diluted with grapes don't skunk, so the clear glass works great for them. This beer is a beauty and I really hope you all enjoy it as much as we do. It's one for the books.

Bottling date: 02/09/2023
ABV: 8.95% ABV

Cellar: best before fall 2024


Bottle of 2022 Field Blend (peach and pluot)

2022 Field Blend (peach and pluot)

Field Blend was a foundational element of Floodland, it introduced that we often make beers as part of a conceptual series and was intended as a statement that we don't like doing things in a hyper-literal sense. These beers are not field blends per se, it is a twist on the idea of a field blend being a collection of fruit from a specific place and instead it whirls on the axis and brings together fruit from a specific point in time. Everyone who has heard of or read about NOMA has begun putting "time and place" in their instagram bios over the last decade, as if it elevates their ideas. We don't really claim to make beer that speaks to a specific place, our beers are more rooted in a specific aesthetic and vibe as a reflection of intent. If you were at the old Zymurgy series of events you heard me rant a bit about terroir in beer being bullshit, so I won't belabor that particular point.

These sets of beers we do share a name and sometimes similar/evolving label art and are composed of many individual beers which explore a particular idea. This remains a key part of what we do and is unsurprisingly a divisive way to make beer. For some it is compelling, it's a journey, a trip. If you think about beer in terms of spreadsheets and Untappd check-ins then it's probably frustrating and confusing. Field Blend isn't always Field Blend and Seekers isn't always Seekers.

As we dig deeper into working with similar fruit varietals year after year you begin to get a sense of the fruit and learn about how it likes to be processed, what ripeness you prefer it at, when you prefer it to be harvested. Some things are bursting at the seams early on and then fade aromatically as they ripen. Some can hang on the tree for months and often are harvested too early out of fear of the fruit overripening and falling from the tree. The varietals in this are both the latter and we were lucky to get a small last pick of them both at the same time at the very, very end of the season in Fall last year. We've worked with the Flavor Grenade pluots quite a bit, in Exoculo as well as in Collins Family blends. The O'Henry peaches we used in 2021 Seekers After Light.

The O'Henrys are a very subtle peach and are more about the delicate florality than intensity of some of the other peaches we really enjoy. For this blend we steered into that subtlety and made a blend where we tried to let both the peach and the pluot coexist without one overwhelming the other, and at the same time tried to allow the saison to shine through and show some nice hop aromatics. So this is more an exercise in subtlety than a hit-you-over-the-head beer. For those who want everything to be shocking or blog-inducing then again Floodland will dissapoint you, but I'm guessing that's a vast minority on this list. I don't always want everything to be intense all the time. Sometimes I like to just sit on the porch and drink a really nice beer.

Unsurprisingly for a peach beer it presents really nicely if you open it warmer and if you incorporate the sediment in the bottle. Shake that shit up AFTER you open it.

Bottling date: 01/26/2023
ABV: 6.23% ABV
Cellar: please drink by spring 2024.

Bottle of 2023 In the Meadows

2023 In the Meadows

From my email two years ago the first time we released this beer:

This beer maybe had its roots in 2018 when Steve Luke from Cloudburst suggested that I brew with a hop he thought was cool. We try not to talk too much about individual hops we use because I think it can give you preconceived notions that don't match the beers. So we made a beer with it right when we got our brewhouse in late 2019 and it was used in Hex and Seekers and we ran out of it so fast that we figured we needed to brew more of it the next time around. In 2020 we brewed a double batch of it into one of our horizontal foudres, and realized that maybe we needed more than two batches as it became a go-to with half our fruit beers. The base beer is a blend of a few barleys with raw barley, raw wheat, and raw oats and has a pronounced citrus character.

Similarly, I had gotten some organic hops of a variety we'd never used before a few years back and we ended up brewing a sort of variation on Grails with it that was similarly light, but the hops pulled it in a more tropical/ripe direction than the more floral hops in Grails. That beer also caught on as we used a touch of it in our dandelion beer Beheld and it went easily into so many blends when we needed to bring some brightness or lighten a beer up.

In late June we were scheduled to bottle and the beer we were going to put into glass ended up needing just a bit more time. I was craving saison at the time and we just had transferred the first saison out of the oak tank and I'd been doing sensory on some barrels. The blend came together almost on its own and was so pleasant that we just went with it.

After the first release of that beer we continued to brew these saison and to try to improve them. We made slight changes from batch to batch and they have continued to work really nicely with fruit. So this is very simply a new-and-hopefully-improved blend based on what we have learned sitting with that first blend of the beer and drinking it and then working day-in and day-out to improve the constituent beers we use for the blend. It hits aromatically as unmistakeably Floodland and also distinctly this beer. It bears similarities to our other saison but is somehow its own thing.

When we were drinking it the other week I remembered a conversation with Shane from E9 years ago when I asked about one of his saison that I really like. Shane is one of the people I most enjoy talking about beer and brewing with, he's about as smart as they come and is a phenomenally talented and driven brewer. He said the beer I was asking about was always blended from three component beers and that they all had to be at different ages, so blending the beer was a total pain in the ass because of how much work went into setting it up. At the time I was brewing professionally at Holy Mountain and had been a serious/obsessive hobby brewer who had been aging and blending saison for quite a few years before that.

The idea of that kind of blend seemed preposterous and was totally out of my experience. I figured you could certainly synthesize a single recipe which would achieve the same results, that the process was overwrought. Now, years later I look back and realize that I was just an idiot and that Shane, unsurprisingly, was at a more advanced level of blending than I was.

When you start blending it's easy to fall into the trap that a more complex blend is better, this is part pretentiousness and part preciousness and it fades over some years into a period where you blend less and less as you get better at what you do. Then, in cases like this, pieces sometimes emerge which require distinct components to exist. Maybe 2025 Floodland will blend a wildly unique beer that is comprised of three distinct recipes and can't be made any other way... it'll be good to finally catch up to where Shane was at in 2015.

Bottling date: 01/05/2023
ABV: 5.96% ABV
Cellar: Drink by this spring 2024. It'll probably peak summer 2023 and over time it'll become more soft/acidic which will enhance the body, but you'll lose the hop aromatics, which I think are key in making it taste the way I enjoy.

Bottle of 2022 Neither/Nor

2022 Neither/Nor

This is one of my favorite beers each year. I often get bored of making the same beer more than two or three years in a row, but I have yet to feel that way about this beer. The last version was really high on my list of things I enjoyed drinking last year and my only criticism (besides the fact that people age them and then send them to unsuspecting traders across the country who don't realize they are being played) was that it had a touch more acidity than I wanted. So I went back to years of notes of making these beers, which undergo primary fermentation on spent fruit from other beers' refermentations, and I looked at all the various things we'd tried and rediscovered a few tricks I had forgotten about to control the acidity.

Every year this beer is totally different because it's entirely based on what fruit we have available at what times and also trying to find fruit where we don't have to immediately turn the tank to make another first-use fruit beer, because squeezing this in between other things becomes a really tricky balancing act and requires a lot of extra work to do so many transfers. So this year not only did we successfully lower the acid but we were also able to use 10 varietals of second-use fruit (I forgot three when I was typing out the label, the beer also has Santa Rosa plums from Filaree, Red Haven peaches and Red Gold nectarines from RAMA).

Thanks to Matt Storm from Fast Fashion/The Masonry we got a really nice lot of some New Zealand hops that we were able to incorporate into the dry hop. I'm really really pleased with how this batch turned out. Please think of this beer like it's pale ale and drink it a few time this spring/summer and be done with it.

(note as usual we use a single digit abv on this because it's not lab-tested post-condition, we don't have time to do that after this one and still release it fresh, so we lab test it in the tank and this was 5.46% and we estimate about .4% increase from bottle conditioning)

Bottling date: 04/06/2023
ABV: 5.9% ABV
Cellar: drink fresh, do not age

Bottle of  MMXXI No Echoes

MMXXI No Echoes

This beer was made in conjunction with Nat from Brouwer's as part of the brainstorming sessions for their anniversary beer. He was looking to do something with Copperworks Distillery, who are in downtown Seattle near the aquarium. I immediately had the idea for this beer, but wanted to use a more neutral/older cask than the normal New American Oak casks that they use for their barrel aged gin. Thankfully Jason at Copperworks had a very old sherry bota which they had been aging gin in for over a year. This beer is the result of them sharing that cask with us.

While we've explored the combination of grape pomace and gin before with Object of Devotion (and will again as we blended one from 2022), this beer pulls in a much different direction. We usually use gin barrels as an accent, not a focus. We don't think about spirit barrels the way a brewery who makes stout does, the gin is not a focal point, it's a component that usually ends up slotting in below hops and fruit and fermentation character. It tends to sit more like the malt does, as a base that emphasizes other elements of the beer.

No Echoes is a break from that style of making saison and instead here gin is a focus of the beer. This was a convoluted blend and a time-consuming beer to make, we blended saison macerated for quite some time on Melon pomace from Johan as well as Marsanne pomace from Boushey. The Melon pomace beer was really cool, really dry and citrusy and funky. The Marsanne beer was very floral and fluffy. We tied these together with some Riesling beer which added body and dimension and emphasized the citrus characters. It all went through the big gin bota in one cuvee and then a second, and after the first pass went through it was further aged in another Copperworks gin barrel as well as a few Big Gin barrels.

Throughout the process I'd been wanting to experiment with using gin botanicals in a gin beer to help emphasize some of the character which is lost in the process of barrel aging. When we went to assemble this blend we found that the only thing we felt it needed was a single point of focus to bring the citrus character together, so I gort some organic meyer lemons from a little family farm and that maceration was just the light touch it needed. The 2021 pomace is from some of the same blends we used in The Constellatory Practice, and like that beer and Everything is Fire from that year it has big, soft, drying grape tannin, which in this beer is balanced by some creamy/vanilla-y oak and some texture from the sherry cask, although you have to go searching for that little bit of sherry funk as it is totally drowning in a sea of gin.

Bottling date: 01/12/2023
ABV: 8.66% ABV
Cellar: best by Fall 2024


Bottle of Brouwer's XVIII

Brouwer's XVIII

Some of our beers are more experimental and push boundaries of texture and aromatics... brewing a very focused set of beers with the intense limitations we put on ourselves is often more difficult than you might expect. We don't have glycol and we don't have a cold room, everything is mixed culture, everything is refermented to carbonate... so we are constantly changing how we do things, both to try to improve the beers and to keep it interesting for us. As much as making the weird ones is often the most fun, sometimes we want to do really classic beers in the Belgian tradition. This beer is both that and also classically Floodland.

In late 2021 Aaron and I drove over to Big Gin and met up with our buddy Alex who is the head distiller there. He handed some barrels off to us, we loaded our vehicles up, and drove them the 10 minutes back to the brewery and filled them with saison.

We've taken the organic cherries from Michael Simon at Applecart Fruit since 2017. In the last few years that portion of the farm has been farmed by Jerushah and Nico, all of them organic farmers who are part of a cooperative of farmers in the Okanogan Valley. The Montmorencies there are great, but the Balatons are even better, and we used those exclusively for this beer. In an attempt to balance the cherry character the gin character is as prominent as we've ever made, and the cherry character sits somewhere between the 2017 Cherry Field blend and latter iterations of Waxwing.

The blend for this, like Bottleworks, includes a touch of old beer and a touch of young beer, although most of the blend is about a year old, which is a sweet spot for saison the way we brew it. 

Cheers most especially to Nat at Brouwer's, but also to Vern and everyone who has worked there over the years. We appreciate you.

Bottling date: 09/29/2022
ABV: 7.09% ABV
Cellar: please drink by Fall 2024

Bottle of 2022 Drive Out the Spirits

2022 Drive Out the Spirits

This is the first time we've released this beer since the 2017 harvest blend, which was part of the very first Oakworks release. That year we also made a second-use blueberry beer called No Here, No Hereafter. Both of those, to my tastes, were among our best beers that year and NH/NH especially was one of the defining Floodland beers for me.

As much as I loved those first beers the fruit was conventionally farmed and I wanted to find organic blueberries to work with. In 2020 a farmer had put me in touch with another farmer and we got good organic berries, so we tried to make this beer again. After months of refermentation we found that the beer had picked up a really light smoke character from some wildfires that we didn't know had reached the farm, so we didn't release that beer.

In 2022 we went back to the original blueberry farm I'd planned to work with in 2017, Bow Hill Blueberries. They are now under new ownership and a friend put us in touch. We took two varietals and fermented them separately to try to get a sense of how they differed. The one thing I'd learned from the first change in fruit was how difficult it is to anticipate what a fermented blueberry will taste like compared to eating it out-of-hand. Blueberries, like grapes, have so much tannin and just generally weird shit in them that the fermented product tastes very little like the fruit itself. While we'd magically hit upon seemingly ideal blueberries the first year, I am now of the mind that chasing the right berries to make this beer may be a fun ongoing path to follow.

This beer is packaged in clear glass, again a result of our shortage of glass bottles which left us without as much green glass as we needed. The clear glass is 3x the cost and so we're just eating that, this will be the second of three beers we had to use it for this year, I figured with the color of this beer it would be fun and we also did new art for the label.

This beer hits with a big blueberry candy aromatic that goes very grape-textured on the palate. It's dry and moves into classic blueberry funk, barnyardy and wild. There's still a touch of hoppiness hanging out that will likely fade out and I think that'll be when the beer really peaks, so this is a rare beer which I think would do well with another 6+ months in the bottle. Probably will drink best between September 2023 and Spring 2024.

Bottling date: 11/03/2022
ABV: 6.14% ABV
Cellar: best before Winter 2024

Bottle of 2022 Inevitably it Ends

2022 Inevitably it Ends

We first released this beer about two years ago, a successor of sorts to Altar, which was the same beer just hopped a little less in the kettle and then dry hopped. Although the prior blend of this was well received, I wasn't entirely happy with it and we took a bit of time off of brewing it after that release.

In talking to Matt Storm (of Fast Fashion/The Masonry) about it I mentioned that I felt that our hop sourcing was holding back the quality of the beers. We are very very small and in the brewing industry the best hops go most often to large breweries who contract enough volume to be able to select their lots first. The leftovers go to everyone else and so the quality can be hit and miss. Matt very kindly hooked us up with a really good lot of some of the hops we use in this beer. This blend, which is drawn from three batches of the beer aged for various amounts of time, shows those hops off nicely. We increased the kettle hopping a tiny bit but otherwise this beer is largely brewed and fermented the same way we had been doing it in order for us to really dig into the specifics of the hop bill and dial it in.

That's a long way of saying that I much prefer this to the last blend, that beer showed some bubblegum thiols from the hops interacting with Brett which I found distracting. This blend maintains some of the strawberry and tropical character, but leans heavily citrus: orange rind, grapefruit, lemon/lime, and if you incorporate the dregs (as I tend to do when drinking hoppy saison) then you get more of the POG tropical character to balance out the citrus. It definitely gets cool as the carb blows off and it comes up to room temperature.

Like the first Altar, this is definitely one of my favorite beers and I find it endlessly drinkable. It walks the line between my love of saison and pale ale, the latter of which are exceedingly hard to find in the style I used to brew, so this is about as close as I get.

Bottling date: 11/17/2022
ABV: 6.68% ABV

Cellar: best before Winter 2024

Bottle of 2022 RAMA

2022 RAMA

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 longer exists.

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 general exhaustion.

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 and evacuated.

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


Bottle of MMXXI Coming-to-Be

MMXXI Coming-to-Be

There was a lot of me thinking out loud while walking around the brewery which led to us making the first OW beer of 2022, Ceasing-to-Be. It was a beer whose creation I struggled with. Putting blackberries on Pinot beer seemed so basic. It was such an obvious idea that I kind of hated it. Ceasing was about taking blackberry, the immediate sensory note we got from the Pinot beer, and reinforcing it by adding actual Blackberries. That's only compelling so much as blackberries don't really taste like blackberries so much when they referment, they end up so different once the sugar is gone.

That beer, as a counterpoint to Coming-to-Be, became much more interesting for me. The idea for this was to add to Gamay press running refermented beer the fruit which most of my favorite Beaujolais Gamay present with – cherry. The Gamay we've worked with from the Willamette is nice, but US-grown Gamay never has that brilliant cherry character you get particulary in Fleurie and Morgon.

So while Ceasing-to-Be was about reinforcing more of what was there, Coming-to-Be became about adding what was missing.

Prior to the grapes being harvested we took a bunch of Van cherries from Collins Family Orchards, and after we made 2021 Van we racked fresh wort directly onto the spent cherries and made a second use beer from them. After harvesting the Gamay grapes we put them in a tank and let them undergo semi-carbonic maceration for a few weeks. The grapes were pressed, the pomace was used to make Voice-Hearers, and the press runnings were blended with the Van beer to referment. After aging we then refermented that beer on some Balaton cherries farmed by Jerushah and Nico who took over these trees on the old Weddle Farm under the license of Michael Simon at Applecart Fruit.

The Johan fruit often has a really great barnyard vibe and that's here, as it was in the recently released Contellatory Practice which had some Johan white pomace, as well as Flowers of the Field, which was the other 2021 Johan beer we made. The Van cherries provide a lot of floral character and together with the candied cherry the Balatons the result both recalls my favorite Beajolais and is its own distinct thing.

In the 6 years we've been playing with coferments of grapes and other fruit I think this is maybe one of if not the most special of those beers we've made.

Bottling date: 08/11/2022 - the label erroneously says 10/11/22
ABV: 8.57% ABV
Cellar: please drink by Summer 2024.

Bottle of MMXXI Chardonnay

MMXXI Chardonnay

This beer exists thanks to Damon Lalonde, who manages the French Creek Vineyard. He reached out and asked if we would want to use the fruit a few years ago. I was familiar with the vineyard because Devium makes a really really great Mourvedre from there and Mourvedre is one of my favorite varietals. Chardonnay in most of its incarnations is not one of my favorite varietals (even with Champagne I prefer blanc de noir), but it's so versatile and seems so well suited to our beers that I wanted to give it a try. I was really pleased with how the first iteration of this beer, MMXX Chardonnay, turned out. We had gotten things lined up late that year and so we go very late harvest fruit, which wasn't ideal for our purposes, and so I was really looking forward to picking closer to mid-season in 2021.

One of the great things about making vintage beers is that I don't feel any need to make the beer the same way twice. Our beers aren't IPAs and nobody expects that the 2021 version of a beer will taste the same as the 2020 version. This is reinforced by the fact that the beers naturally evolve quite a bit as they age. In making the 2021 iteration of the Chardonnay beer I really wanted to work in a similar manner to 2020. I was writing another brewer an email recently and I said "it's easy to occasionally make a great beer, harder to make a wide swath of exceptional beers. The hardest thing as a brewer is to take a really good beer and improve on it through iteration." The part I missed is that we only get to iterate on beers once a year, and while we're making the next year's vintage the previous isn't even ready yet so we have a 2-year feedback delay before we can really even react to what was good or bad. It becomes a matter of closing your eyes and driving by feel.

Thankfully I think everyone who has had this vintage of Chardonnay prefers it to 2020, which isn't to take away from that beer, but we did refine it a bit here. I say that all mostly because I'm thankful that I already decided to make the 2022 version of this differently, because this would be hard for me to improve upon.

Bottling date: 08/18/2022
ABV: 9.41% ABV
Cellar: best before Summer 2024

Bottle of 2021-2022 Endless Spheres

2021-2022 Endless Spheres

This beer began with the idea that we'd make a sister-beer to Dwellers and Beheld and ended up being much more in the lineage of Lupus. We began working with Tyler from Methow Medicinal Herb Farm in 2018 or 2019 as he's the only person growing organic wormwood in Washington that I'm aware of, and we use some of his herbs and botanicals in many of the blends of Roseate. In talking to him he asked if we used Calendula flower. I'd used it years ago as a hobby brewer, but never for a beer at Floodland. He sent some over once it was harvested and we brewed a spelt saison with it and put it into barrels.

The blending and aging history of this beer is convoluted, but the short version is that we used 2021 Calendula flower and some 2021 and 2022 citrus in it. The majority of the blend is that spring 2021 spelt beer, but we added some other components and over the course of about 16 months it aged on both Seville orange (the varietal used in orange marmalade) and Cara Cara orange (one of my favorite eating oranges). We also further macerated it on dried calendula in tank before bottling.

In the distant past I had made citrus beers as a hobby brewer and professionally and always had fine results, but never anything I was really pleased with. Over a handful of citrus beers in the years I've been brewing at Floodland I've really moved on from the more rudimentary techniques I used in the past. After the first citrus and gold raspberry Field Blend in 2017 I put a lot of thought into how to get the beers to be more the way I imagined them. Leading up to the first Superior Stabat Lupus batch and since that time I have developed and refined a handful of processes to get the type of character I like. I wasn't really consciously aware of that refinement of processes until I was explaining how we put the citrus into this beer to someone at the brewery recently and realized I was hesitant to talk about it because I had never heard of people using the techniques we do. There's 3-4 things we do differently depending on the beer and the citrus, and we used a few of those here. Like Lupus and our other citrus beers this one is bright and well-rounded. Unlike other citrus beers this one has already been aged a bit so the character, while not as bombastic as it could be, is somewhat stable and should be able to age for a good amount of months and still be really enjoyable.

The citrus hits first aromatically and is at the front on the palate, but the calendula is right behind it, especially if you don't drink the beer too cold. Citrus remains the only non-local fruit we use and it's just because we like drinking these beers so much. The calendula on this is a really great addition, it lends texture and complimentary aromatics to the zippiness of the citrus.

Bottling date: 09/15/2022
ABV: 5.64% ABV

Cellar: best before Spring 2024

Bottle of 2021-2022 Seekers After Light

2021-2022 Seekers After Light

Our saison refermented on a blend of white grape pomaces and stone fruit is back, and this marks the return of the RAMA Farm fruit as well. While we made two batches of Seekers for release last year, there is only one for release this year and it's our two-vintage version with long-macerated pomace.

The 2020-2021 version was my favorite from last year so we made another one in that vein, which is a throwback to the original 2017-2018 version with apricots. This version is 2021 harvest Marsanne whole cluster grape pomace from Boushey Vineyard and Melon de Bourgogne whole cluster pomace from Johan Vineyard. We aged/refermented beer on both of them separately for around 10 months during the offseason. When the next harvest rolled around we transferred that beer onto apricots, one of the first fruits we get during harvest, and let it referment.

I had hoped to do this entirely with RAMA Rival apricots, but we didn't get quite as many as we had projected, so we supplemented with some Candy Cot apriums from Collins Family, which is what we'd used last year while RAMA was recovering from the wildfires. The fruit-leather and citrus of the Rivals unsurprisingly blends very nicely with the eponymous candy character of the CFO fruit. The 2021 pomace does what it did best, which is that heat dome sun tea thing. This iteration is a bit funky and has some dried orange/apple/pear/tropical characters to it. I like that all the iterations of Seekers are entirely their own things with little variations. This one is really fun to drink and I'm confident nobody will be disappointed.

This beer, like all the peach/nectarine/apricot beers, drinks best with the lees incorporated. I suggest rolling the bottle gently before pouring and if you aren't comfortable doing that I suggest pouring a few half glasses, swirling the bottle, and then topping them up once you have the lees incorporated.

Bottling date: 10/06/2022
ABV: 6.59% ABV
Cellar: best by Summer 2023


Bottle of 2022 Crimson Red

2022 Crimson Red

We’re rounding out the year without an inclusive bottle, but we have this beer which won’t be a part of the public sale instead. During the last few years of making Roseate we have used organic rhubarb from LIving Rain Farm in Mount Vernon. In a few of those batches we made the rhubarb beer and then put it on cherries, and we noticed when sampling it that the rhubarb character was really interesting and that it had a beautiful pink color.

I was thinking about enjoying the simplicity of beers like Yuzu which we made for Brokeworks last year and so we made this simple rhubarb beer. The rhubarb itself brings a lot of acidity and this beer shows that. As it bottle conditioned the color dropped out almost entirely and faded to a light blush. The rhubarb flavor after aging is more reminiscent of powdered candies than anything - Fun Dip specifically. So basically if you like sour candy then this is for you.

Bottling date: 08/04/2022
ABV: 5.21% ABV
Cellar: please drink by Summer 2023.

Bottle of MMXXI Flowers of the Field

MMXXI Flowers of the Field

The last few harvests have been fairly grueling for us and well before they are over I’m entirely out of energy and behind on everything both at work and at home, so in 2022 I decided that we needed to focus a bit more and not burn out. Taking fruit from Johan was one of the sad casualties of that decision. Ironically the two beers we made with 2021 Johan fruit are probably the two best beers we’ve ever made from there (the second will come out in January). As sad as it is to stop using their fruit in 2022 it felt okay to close that chapter, the farmer/winemaker Dan Rinke left Johan as well (Dan also does Art + Science with his wife, Kim) and after the 2021 harvest they also had an ownership change. Dan is still a buddy of ours and I highly recommend you check out the Art+Science wines and ciders if you haven’t already.

Flowers of the Field began as an idea to create a Burgundian-blend of Pinot and skin contact Chardonnay because we had a really nice crop of 2021 Chardonnay from French Creek. This year is a Pinot-heavy blend, although I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future we make other variations on this. It’s hard to guess the proportions but maybe 70/30. The Pinot takes the spotlight with the color but the Chardonnay really brings out the citrus elements in the saison in the flavor and aroma, it also shines a real spotlight on the fruit character of the pinot, which normally leans towards spice but here has big red-fruit elements and is very fun and juicy.

Due to all the supply chain issues we’ve seen, which I normally try really hard to not let affect the beer, we were set to run out of glass bottles in 2022. When this became apparent I spent a bunch of time and was finally able to track down the same bottles in a few other colors, including several pallets of flint (clear) glass. So this beer is bottled entirely in clear glass. It’s basically grown-up hawaiian punch.

Bottling date: 06/02/2022
ABV: 8.23% ABV
Cellar: best before Summer 2024.

Bottle of 2021 The Constellatory Practice

2021 The Constellatory Practice

In 2017 we made the first Seekers after Light, blending long skin contact Chardonnay pomace with Apricots. We’ve made a number of versions since with peaches/nectarines, apricots, and apriums. Every year leading up to harvest I have a list of beers we want to make that year. As each harvest moves on beers are added and removed based on availability of fruit. In 2018 or 2019 the idea of a pluot/pomace beer from pale plums and white pomace snuck onto the list and it has stayed on every harvest’s list since without actually happening.

In 2020 we made fewer grape beers because of how bad the wildfires were, so in 2021 I dove headlong back into it and we took more grapes than we ever have. To make this happen we sacrificed making Time/Eternity and used the plums from it (Shiro and Howard’s Miracle from Filaree Fruit) as well as some Flavor Grenade pluots from Collins Family along with a blend of white grape pomaces (mostly Marsanne from Boushey Vineyard in Yakima which we got from our friends at Avennia Winery) as well as some Melon de Bourgogne (the varietal used in Muscadet) from Johan.

Thinking of how intense and out of balance the original Seekers had been I decided to start this one at the other end of the spectrum, it’s nuanced and light and very crushable. It’s quintessential Floodland in that it’s better to be consumed at home at dinner than at a bottle share. Its virtues are in its balance and the subtle ways it opens up as you drink it. The way that the tropical citrus character of the Shiro bounces against the strawberry ice cream flavor of the Flavor Grenade, all backed with that oceanic texture of the pomace. The Marsanne pomace was citrusy and had some nice floral characters. The Melon pomace is very mineral forward, funky, and citrusy.

This is not a hit-you-over-the-head beer, it’s very very enjoyable and easy to drink. Every time we open one it’s gone almost immediately.

Bottling date: 07/07/2022
ABV: 6.48% ABV
Cellar: best before Fall 2023.

Bottle of 2022 Dwellers by the Waysides

2022 Dwellers by the Waysides

Our third iteration of this is my favorite so far. Certainly if I had to give someone one beer to represent Floodland this beer would be at or near the top of the list. This is the most yarrow-forward of the blends (although dramatically less yarrow-heavy than the last yarrow beer we had from another brewery). We made some changes to how we do the yarrow macerations which I believe are an improvement in capturing some of the subtleties of the yarrow flowers.

Aaron had found a new spot to forage yarrow near his mom’s cabin in the Methow Valley, so the creation of this beer this year was spur of the moment and as such we blended in some older 18+ month barrels I had tagged for another blend, they lend a depth to it that the other blends may not have had. It’s rare with our saison that a beer is better at 18 months than at 12. More is not better, older is not better. These barrels we’d identified as being special and held for longer and they served their purpose well in this blend, allowing us to again balance the tropical/7-up character of the yarrow against the citrus/floral character of the hops. It’s the way the two of them play against each other that makes this beer great.

Bottling date: 07/14/2022
ABV: 5.76% ABV
Cellar: best by Summer 2023.