Behind the Beer: Keller Kazbek

The brewers here at Fair State are certified lager fanatics. We brew two lagers as flagships, and frequently make short runs of other traditional and experimental lagers we love such as Festbier or Helles and now we are reintroducing our fall seasonal lager, Keller Kazbek.

Keller Kazbek is an unfiltered German-style Pilsner brewed with Kazbek hops from the Czech Republic. The designation “keller” refers to beer served from the conditioning tank without the intermediary step of filtration, so you may notice some intentional haze in this beer . Kellerbiers can be modeled after any lager style – in our case the inspiration is northern German Pilsner. Kazbek is an interesting hop that has a unique “grassy” or almost hay-like aroma, combined with the classic spicy and floral notes you’d expect from a noble hop. Keller Kazbek hits shelves this week in 6 packs of 12 ounce cans.

Our co-founder and head brewer, Niko Tonks, occasionally waxes poetic about Pilsners and lagers in general. He says: “Pilsner is my first true beer love, and maybe my only real one. It contains multitudes, and it might just change your entire mindset about beer if you give it a chance. Pilsner began in the 1840s in Pilsen, in what is now the Czech Republic. It proved so popular that it was adopted, in turn, by the Germans, the rest of Northern Europe, and the world, all by the third quarter of the 19th century. Some perhaps less-than-ideal things have happened to Pilsner between then and now, sure, but we all make mistakes.

At its core, in the form that we do our best to emulate, lager bier is all about restraint, intention, detail, and mindset. Lager is not, as so many people would have you believe, the absence of things. It is, in fact, a deeply idiosyncratic palette upon which only certain things may be accurately projected. It requires selection of only the finest ingredients; a willingness to work them in the ways that they demand; and the patience, forbearance, and skill to ensure that those ingredients and our yeast friends play nice

The WitchHunt

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

Try it…if you dare.

The WitchHunt will commence in the Taproom at 4 pm, Thursday, 10.26.

Photo credit: Davin Haukebo-Bol