W&L No. 034: Sura
a Syrah piquette-inspired saison with Elderflower
This Windward & Leeward installment represents a fusion of two concepts that excite and push us forward as brewers: first, the reuse of fruit inspired by winemakers’ production of piquette; second, the importance of foraging local ingredients that impart a particular sense of place in our saisons.
Sura started as a base of Madame R. Galle, to which we added second-use Syrah grapes. This Syrah, which we added on its first run to another Fair Isle project, was grown in the world-renowned Red Mountain appellation surrounding Benton County, WA. The grapes still had so much flavor and character after their initial application that it didn’t seem wise to let them go to waste.
We then steeped the Syrah-dosed beer with fresh Elderflower foraged in Issaquah to add another layer of complexity. Wanting the distinct musky sweetness of this special ingredient to come through more clearly, we then made an Elderflower simple syrup to coax out additional and varied flavors via hot extraction. This solution also served as our priming sugar, allowing Sura to naturally condition and carbonate in the keg over the course of three months.
The result of this prolonged process is one that’s quite gratifying: Sura pours a vibrant vermilion and gives off bright aromas of raspberry and plum. Hints of floral sweetness in the mid-palate blend into a delicate vanillin-laced finish with a touch of funk.