I wrote an initial introduction to my concept for Field Blend in this letter sent to the mailing list.
This is the first release in a series of Field Blend beers. The 2017 harvest cherry iteration of this beer includes Balaton (organic), Montmorency, and foraged Cornelian cherries, all from Washington.
NW pie cherries in particular tend to have an amazing and prominent cinnamon flavor, and that comes through big in this beer. A few folks who have had this have said that it reminds them of pie. There's a bit of crust from the spelt and wheat in the base beers, the cornelian cherries add a floral, strawberry/cranberry character that makes this really different from a lot of other cherry beers, and the inclusion of the cherry pits gives a nice coconut and vanilla custard background note. The acidity on this one is just to my liking, very light/moderate. The goal with most of the Floodland beers is drinkability, and this hits that nail on the head for me. Bottled 09/14/17.
2017 Blackberry "Blackberry, Blueberry, Bourbon"
The second in this series for 2017 harvest fruit, this beer was a fun ride. Around 2010 I started playing with making fruit shrubs. All of the modern shrub recipes I found at the time were based around macerating fruit and adding vinegar, but I had read a bit somewhere about older shrubs being fermented, and of course that was of a lot more interest to me than adding vinegar. So I took a kombucha culture I had and began using it to ferment fruit.
The relative abundance of blackberries here in the summer made them a pretty easy candidate for low risk experimentation, I could pick some berries and if it didn't turn out I'd just toss it. After a bit the shrub was coming out really cool, and I ended up getting into a habit of coming home after work and blending the sour blackberry shrub with soda water and bourbon. It was this really cool combination of vanilla from the bourbon, blackberry, with a good spritz. It was crazily refreshing and it has kind of haunted me since I stopped making it.
This beer was initially inspired by that drink, and then it sort of morphed as other fruit came in. Two barrels of mixed culture acid beer fermented in still wet Heaven Hill bourbon barrels, aged for about 6 months, blended with a barrel of saison. The (organic) blackberries were huge and sweet and really floral, better by far than the common Himalaya Giant varietal that grows wild here (read this article for the story, which is pretty great https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/08/29/491797791/the-strange-twisted-story-behind-seattles-blackberries). When I was getting the blackberries I also got a call back from another farmer who had a bunch of extra blackberries and blueberries, and so she sent those over. Unfortunately her blackberries were in rough shape and I had to toss them, but the blueberries were cool, and the convergence of both fruits at the same time spoke to me.
The idea of the blueberry supporting the florality and lightening up the blackberry was suddenly really appealing, and so I threw in some of the organic Reka blueberries, which was maybe 10% of the total fruit. The fruiting rate on this beer is fairly high compared to my other beers, and the fruit definitely eclipses the bourbon character. You get a fair bit of vanilla and toffee/caramel as it warms, though, and I think it's got a pretty strong melon nose, as odd as that may sound. Definitely a cool one, and again, at a much higher level of acidity than most of the beers I did this year. If you like "sour" beers, grab this. This and Time/Eternity are the two most acidic beers in bottles at this point and with more varied blending components I don't expect anything quite this intense next year. Bottled 10/17/2017.
Raspberry Field Blend "Red raspberry, Gold raspberry"
The third in the series of Field Blend beers from 2017 harvest fruit, and the last, this beer was actually the first put into bottles at Floodland, and has been allowed to condition for a lengthy time to allow the Brett condition to come out. I think the wait has done it well. It was created with a blend of spelt acid beers fermented and aged in oak, which was then refermented on a blend of red and gold organic raspberries grown in Skagit Valley.
This was the first of the beers to hit what I see as the signature Floodland spritzy and easy to drink target profile. The acidity is in line with Protection Spells, and the fruit is present but intentionally doesn't overwhelm the funk and fermentation character. It has a lot of fruit, without having the cooked/jammy character you see in puree beers. There's a salinity and citrus character to the golds that balances the earthiness of the reds, and I think that keeps the fruit character bright and drinkable.
I carbonated this intetionally to a level where you can/should open it warmer than fridge cold. 50-60 degrees F works. Bottled 08/18/2017