Turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes. No other holiday’s cuisine can match the non-stop hits that Thanksgiving delivers. Yet plate after plate of the holiday’s festive foods can leave you feeling as stuffed as your turkey.
Here’s a few Fair State favorites for the lighter side of your palate, all available in CROWLERs to-go this week.
Fair State Cooperates November: Free Arts Minnesota
Creativity plays a big part in beer. Without it, we probably wouldn’t be drinking kettle sours and it’s almost certain that our house lactobacillus strain used in the Roselle wouldn’t exist. No creativity means no great collaboration beers like Dr. Spaceman and Spirit Foul. And let’s face it, Pahlay’Ahlay sounds far better than Beer No. 465.
Needless to say, we at Fair State believe in creativity. So in the month of November, we partnered with an organization that cares deeply about creativity: Free Arts Minnesota.
Free Arts Minnesota is an organization that has been providing art mentorship to youth at residential treatment centers, domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters and community centers in low-income neighborhoods since 1997.
Though the program was started over 30 years ago by an Art Therapist in Los Angeles, it was brought to Minnesota in 1997 as a project of the Junior League of Minneapolis. These days, Free Arts reaches over 2,000 youth at 25+ different partner sites in Minnesota. And in 2018, Free Arts will be partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters to expand their program, and Follow The Art.
Currently, Free Arts runs three main programs for the community youth to inspire creativity and artistic expression: a weekly mentorship program, CREATE Workshops, and Free Arts Days. The mentorship program adopts team style mentorship, which allows kids a more pressure-free and flexible environment with different mentors. Each week, there are over 40 groups that meet throughout the community.
The CREATE Workshops offer more time-flexible artistic opportunities to children through a semi-regular arts mentorship program. This program is especially helpful for families who are not in permanent housing and may not be able to commit to a weekly mentorship program. Lastly, Free Arts Days provide outside community organizations and businesses to work with kids as part of an Art Buddies program.
Earlier this month, Fair State took a group of members, patrons and staff to People Serving People in Minneapolis to join Free Arts Minnesota in an afternoon of creation. As art buddies, each volunteer was paired with a child to work on a specific art project together, under a “game” theme. Volunteers and kids rotated to different stations creating puzzles, ring tosses, and chess games.
Since Free Arts Minnesota is a non-profit organization and entirely free for the kids to participate in, having both volunteers and enough funding is an essential part of making the mission possible. With that, we’d like to thank our Cooperators for joining us in volunteering and for helping support our community.
Want to help even more? All month long, we’re donating 10% of all CROWLER sales to Free Arts Minnesota. Bring a CROWLER home to help support them and let’s all get creative.
A Fair Statement from Niko
When we released Spirit Foul, our hazy IPA collaboration with Modern Times Beer, we expected it to be a beer that would be pretty popular, and one that might raise an eyebrow or two. We were not expecting the full-on onslaught that we got instead! That said, we couldn’t be happier or more proud that you all enjoyed the beer so much, and so we’ve decided to re-release it. The second batch of Spirit Foul is roughly double the size of the first, so with any luck it will make it more places, and be (slightly) easier to find than the first round.
One thing that Spirit Foul‘s first release revealed to us is that our distribution plan for special releases needed some work. We hope that Round 2 of Spirit Foul sets a good baseline for all of the special releases we have planned for the rest of 2017 and 2018. We apologize to those who spent time and energy looking for cans the first go-round and couldn’t find them. We hope that you’ll accept our apology in the form of a second release and that those of you who aren’t familiar with the rest of our catalog of beers will take this opportunity to find out why we love Pils (and IPA, and Roselle, and Giantsbane) so much.
A note about haze, IPAs, and our plans going forward as well: we’ve put out many a hazy beer in our day, but until a couple of months ago, we had zero plans to embrace the haze craze in IPAs. Safe to say Spirit Foul has changed our tune on that front. Being able to collaborate with a brewery like Modern Times helped calibrate our expectations, and now that we’ve done it a few times, we feel like may have something to add to the discussion, our interpretation of the style. You may notice some changes in our core IPA that reflect these new directions over the next couple of months. We’ll be sure to clue you into those as they happen.
We’re also happy to announce the arrival of MIRRORUNIVERSE, a new hazy IPA that will be available in cans and on draft in early 2018. MIRROR UNIVERSE will also spawn a series of hazy IPAs, pale ales, and DIPAs that will be available exclusively at our taproom, in very small batch sizes. We hope to release these to you in 750ml form and to use this series as a laboratory to understand where IPA has come from, where it’s going, and why. More details soon.
Thanks as always for drinking Fair State, and please bear with us as Spirit Foul Round 2 rolls out into distribution − it will be a week before it hits all of its destinations. Visit our Spirit Foul Locator page for information about locations, quantities, and more.
Niko & Fair State Co-op
Why a Co-op?
by Fair State Co-op CEO Evan Sallee
People often ask us why we started Fair State as a cooperative. However, in many ways that is a difficult question to answer. Nobody ever asks us, “why a brewery,” and yet from the beginning the two have been inseparable. Without the cooperative, there is no brewery. Without the brewery, there is no cooperative. Rather than dive deeply into the metaphysical underpinnings of Fair State, I think it would be instructive to simply tell our story.
In the spring of 2011, Matt, Niko, and I gathered in Austin, TX. We had been homebrewing partners in Minneapolis but had gone in our own directions in 2009. Niko was a brewer in Austin, at the Live Oak Brewing Company. I was in law school, and Matt was in grad school. Our spring breaks coincided with SXSW, and so Matt and I journeyed down to Austin to reconnect and enjoy significant amounts of both beer and music.
At some point over the week, Niko and I found ourselves at Black Star Brewing Cooperative, the country’s first cooperatively-owned brewery (or, at least, first since the 1930s). It was there that we found that first spark of inspiration that would lead to Fair State. Black Star, it seems, was aptly named. The concept of a cooperatively-owned brewery had a gravitational pull that proved too strong for us to ever escape. Having never heard of one, we had never seriously considered the idea of a cooperatively-owned brewery. But bringing the consumer-focused nature of a cooperative to Minnesota seemed like the perfect fit. Minnesotans love beer. Minnesotans love cooperatives. We had to tell Matt.
You will be hard-pressed to find a homebrewer who has not at least given some small consideration to the thought of opening up their own brewery, and we were no different. However, for myriad reasons, we never seriously considered the possibility. There were already many breweries making fantastic beer, and we did not feel justified in entering that fray unless we had something truly unique above and beyond beer that we could offer the brewing world. However, when the three of us got together later that day we brought up the idea of bringing a cooperatively-owned brewery to Minnesota. As soon as we started talking about it, we couldn’t stop. This is when we started to realize that we might actually be onto something.
We simply couldn’t get the idea out of our head. The next day we drove to Lockhart for Barbecue – more words were spent discussing starting a brewery than the brisket that was in front of us. I remember researching Minnesota cooperative law on my phone in the back of the car all the way back to Austin.
We had a number of unwise or downright silly ideas about what we could do with this business model. The idea spent most of its formative first few months as a hybrid homebrew shop, beer club, and brewery. Throughout all its iterations some core themes emerged – community, quality, cooperation. Throughout our years of being amateur beer geeks, we always lamented that there was not really an easy way to get more involved with our local breweries, few though they were at the time. However, here was a model that would quite literally make the consumer the owner. We could harness the power of democracy to build a brewery of the people and for the people.
And at its core, that has always been what being a co-op means to us. We wanted to build an engaged community of beer lovers of all stripes, and we wanted to build a brewery that would make beer worthy of their commitment. Beer and community for us are akin to the chicken and the egg, two inextricably linked halves of a singular concept. We firmly believe that businesses can and should be forces for good in our communities, that there is more to the bottom line than the bottom line. We strive every day to put this into practice, to live up to the potential that our cooperative has.
We’d love to have you join us in our collective perspective. A lifetime cooperative membership is $200, or $20 over 10 months. Visit fairstate.coop/membership to learn more.
Behind the Beer: Giantsbane
Head Brewer Niko Tonks on Giantsbane Double Stout.
Style conventions are a funny thing. At their best, they’re useful guidelines – a roadmap to a successful beer recipe. At their worst, they strangle creativity and box people into practices that probably never made sense in the first place (see: crystal malt in pale ales).
Brewery portfolios can be the same way. You start out brewing to a personal style, and hopefully, that continues to evolve and change as you go, but you get to be known for a few things. In our case, you’ve probably heard of our lager biers, and our sour stuff. That’s how we like it, but it doesn’t mean that’s all we enjoy doing.
Giantsbane, our “double stout,” is a solid example of both of these truths. It’s not a beer built to a style designation, and it’s not something that you’d immediately point to as being in our wheelhouse: high alcohol, malty, not afraid to be a little bit sweet. It’s a demonstration of when going outside the norm can be a rewarding thing.
The beer takes cues from the classic “Foreign Export” stout designation, but with a more modern American bent. It’s closer to an Imperial Stout than a standard American Stout (if that’s really even a thing), but it doesn’t rely on a full motor oil consistency to bludgeon you into submission. It’s a beer built for long, dark winters. The magic here is in the combination of specialty malts and grains we employ. Brown Malt and oats are stout secret sauce, and we’ve employed both of them here. Oats buoy the mouthfeel of what could otherwise be a roast bomb, and brown malt is the goldilocks zone of roasted malts: lots of roast flavor, but none of the ashy char of black malt. It’s a fine line to tread, brewing a big stout that emphasizes harmony, and we hope you agree we’ve managed to stay on that tightrope.
FAIR STATE STOUTS
Witches are everywhere. You may not believe it, but it’s true whether you like it or not. Once you start looking, you’ll see us everywhere- including your favorite local brewery.
Us witches here at Fair State wanted to make a special brew just in time for Halloween. And to make it extra powerful, we wanted our coven with us. So we put out a call, through the witchiest of all communication channels: a private email server.
We found witches everywhere: witches from Northeast, North Loop, and St. Paul. Some witches even flew down from Duluth!
On October 9th, 2017, we all gathered around our cauldron and made a bitter, bitter brew. The malt was blackened over fires fed by the bodies of the damned. We didn’t just use hops, oh no! There’s no alpha acid percent high enough to express the feeling you get when your employer has to reassure you that you can still get birth control because the current administration no longer requires employer-sponsored health insurance plans to cover it. In addition to Cascade, Amarillo, Simcoe, and Tahoma, this beer was bittered with the rage of every witch who has been persecuted by the flame of injustice. (We also dry hopped with X331). Fermented with a dry English ale yeast, cursed in the kettle, this Cascadian Dark Ale is a reckoning. ABV: 6.66%, IBU: 70
Last Friday I had the privilege of hiking through Glacial Lakes State Park with Cale Nordmeyer of the Minnesota Zoo. My goal was to capture wild yeast; Cale’s, to spot a Regal fritillary. This butterfly is designated as Minnesota Special Concern, meaning that a species is extremely uncommon, or that it has highly unique and specific habitat requirements (Minnesota DNR). The Regal fritillary only lives in tallgrass prairie; Glacial Lakes is part of the 1% of natural prairie remaining in Minnesota.
Butterflies and the prairie are intertwined. Prairie flowers rely on them for pollination, which occurs as they feed on the flower’s nectar. As our natural prairies have dwindled, so have species like the Dakota skipper and Poweshiek skipperling. The Dakota skipper is a prairie specialist, unable to survive in any other environment. Until the early 2000s, Dakota skippers were fairly common. Now, they can only be found in declining numbers at one or two other protected sites in the state. The Poweshiek skipperling hasn’t been seen in Minnesota since 2007 and may already be extinct in North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa. Less than 500 Poweshieks may exist globally.
Cale works at the Minnesota Zoo’s Prairie Butterfly Conservation Program, the world’s first and only rearing and breeding program for the endangered Dakota skipper. Studying the Dakota skipper in a modified shipping container, Cale creates miniature habitats with a few blades of grass, wire, and pantyhose. Dakota skippers seem to prefer porcupine grass, with which they build small, volcanic-shaped structures. These structures are necessary for the skipper caterpillars to survive the harsh prairie winters. Cale experiments with other prairie grasses such as big bluestem, little bluestem, and Indian grass to mimic how the test subjects may perform in the wild. It is worth noting Dakota skippers have only been successfully bred since 2014.
Thanks to the Prairie Butterfly Conservation Program, about 200 Dakota skippers were reintroduced to the wild for the very first time this past June. However, the battle for survival is not over yet. Natural prairie sites are small, few and far between. The skippers must manage to actually find a mate within their sites. Even if pairs mate successfully, maintaining genetic diversity in small populations is a struggle without outside gene flow. And if a natural disaster were to occur at one of these isolated sites, that population may be entirely wiped out. Imagine flying hundreds of miles between habitats, battling the elements, dodging predators, finally arriving at a tallgrass prairie site, certain you’re going to find more Dakota skippers like yourself…and realizing you are completely alone.
So what can we do? Vast fields of monocultures and pesticides aren’t going anywhere in the foreseeable future; wild prairie restoration isn’t going to happen overnight. Planting pollinator friendly gardens is a step in the right direction. Some of you may remember Dakota Skipper, our summer saison brewed with prairie grasses and bee balm. Our goal is to raise both awareness and funds for the conservation effort. A beer alone isn’t going to save the butterflies, but it’s a start.
Where can you find Spirit Foul?
Spirit Foul is a hazy IPA brewed in collaboration with San Diego’s Modern Times Beer. Super juicy, tropical, and dank. 6.3 ABV.
When we released Spirit Foul, our hazy IPA collaboration with Modern Times Beer, we expected it to be a beer that would be pretty popular, and one that might raise an eyebrow or two. Instead, #hazemania struck the Twin Cities and the beer was selling out in mere hours after delivery. We couldn’t be happier or more proud that you all enjoyed the beer so much, and so we’ve decided to re-release it. Learn more about the future of our IPA program here.
Thank you for bearing with us as this re-release of Spirit Foul rolls out into distribution – it may be a week before it reaches all of its destinations. We strongly encourage you to call the locations below to confirm when they will have Spirit Foul in stock orask us onTwitter if you want to know a specific store’s anticipated delivery date.
City Pages: “10 locally brewed New England IPAs to keep you on trend.”
Pioneer Press: “Fair State’s hazy IPA, a collaboration with San Diego’s Modern Times, is re-released.”
GoMN‘s Melissa Turtinen and Zach McCormick get hazy.
It’s time for the biggest party of the year at Fair State Co-op. Following our annual member-owner meeting, we’ll open to the public at 2 pm to celebrate our third birthday Oktoberfest-style and turn our beer garden into a mini-Munich with brats, pretzels, polka, and beer.
WHEN: 2 pm-midnight, Saturday, September 23.
WHERE: Fair State Taproom (2506 Central Avenue NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418)
The World’s Most Dangerous Polka Band of Nye’s Polonaise fame
“IPA” has more or less become synonymous with “craft beer.” I’ve seen White IPA, Black IPA, DIPA, IIPA, Triple IPA, Belgian IPA, Session IPA, Hazy IPA, West Coast IPA, Red IPA, Brown IPA, Milkshake IPA, Fruited IPA, IPL, Sour IPA, Barrel-Aged IPA, Coffee IPA, Chili Pepper IPA, Double Dry-Hopped IPA, Continuously-Hopped IPA, and even the rare old school British-style IPA. To be honest, this proliferation of hop juice wears on us sometimes.
So why, at this late date, did we decide to make a beer that’s just plain old “IPA” and put it in big, bright red cans? Well, long story short, we’ve been watching IPA as a category and we thought we had something to add to the conversation. Our goal with this entry into a crowded field is to cherry-pick all the things we like about IPA as a broad category and put them together in one beer.
We like: IPA you can see through, even if you have to squint (even if we make the occasional one you can’t). IPA that is intensely aromatic: fruity, citrusy, floral, and maybe a bit dank. IPA that isn’t heavy, sweet, dark, caramel-laden, or overly bitter. IPA that is soft, easy to drink, and crisp all at once.
With Fair State IPA, we think we’ve hit on most of these things. It is brewed with German Pilsner and Red Wheat malts, fermented with our house English Ale yeast strain, and hopped with Horizon, Chinook, Crystal, Simcoe, Centennial, and Cascade hops to the tune of almost 4 pounds per barrel. Old school, new school, and the kind of school no one much cared about until now, all wrapped up in one neat, inviting package. We hope you enjoy.