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

School Supply Drive


It’s that time again. We can almost smell the freshly sharpened pencils. We’re collecting school supplies in the Fair State Brewing Cooperative taproom from now until August 8th.

All donated school supplies will go to Hennepin County students in need. You can donate individual supplies or a backpack full of supplies. We just ask that all donated items are new and unused. Below are suggestions of supplies needed per age group.

Backpack#2 Pencils (no mechanical)
Covered Pencil sharpenersErasers
Colored pencils
Washable markers
Rounded scissors
Bottle of glue
Watercolor paint set
Ruler (no metal)Pencil box
(3) Pocket folders(2) Spiral notebooks (wide ruled)

Elementary School
#2 Pencils (no mechanical)
Covered pencil sharpeners
Colored pencils
Washable markers
Rounded scissors
Bottle of glueRuler (no metal)
Pencil box
(3) Pocket folders
(3) Spiral notebooks (wide ruled)
(1) Composition Notebook (wide ruled)
Basic Calculator
Pens (black/blue/red ink)

Middle School
#2 Pencils
Colored pencils
Washable Markers
Glue stick
Ruler (no metal)
Pencil Pouches
(3) Pocket folders
(3) Spiral notebooks (college ruled)
(1) Composition notebooks (college ruled)
Basic Calculator
Pens (black/blue/red ink)
3-ring binder
Loose-leaf paper (college ruled)

High School
#2 Pencils
Colored pencils
Glue stick
Ruler (no metal)
Pencil Pouches
(3) Pocket folders
(3) Spiral notebooks (college ruled)
(1) Composition notebook (college ruled)
Scientific Calculator
Pens (black/blue/red ink)
3-ring binder
Loose-leaf paper (college ruled)

Why Donate?
This program provides backpacks and basic school supplies for children in need to help them start school with the tools they need to achieve school success. Providing school supplies for children encourages them to perform better in school. Being prepared on that first day of school promotes higher student engagement which leads to successful day to day practices.

Thank you for your help and support of this worthwhile project. We encourage you to play an active role in providing these necessary tools to help generate a successful school year to Hennepin County students.



Jobs @ Fair State Brewing Cooperative: Street Team

Fair State Brewing Cooperative is seeking multiple part-time Street Team Members to join our sales staff. We are growing quickly and need to add staff to help meet demand in the following geographies:

Bemidji, MN

Brainerd, MN

Duluth, MN

Mankato, MN

St Cloud, MN

Minneapolis – Saint Paul, MN

Rochester, MN

Fair State is one of a very few cooperatively-owned breweries in the US. We began operations at our brewery/taproom in Northeast Minneapolis in August of 2014. We were fortunate enough to be named one of RateBeer’s 10 best new brewers in the world for 2015, and recently expanded into a 40,000 sq. ft. production brewery in St. Paul, MN. We focus on traditional German-style beers (especially lager beer), sour beer (ranging from kettle sours to 100% barrel-fermented mixed culture beers), and hoppy beers. We are positioned to grow substantially over the next few years, and as such this position may continue to grow and evolve with the brewery.

Currently we operate a 7.5bbl brewhouse at the taproom location, and a 4-vessel 30bbl brewhouse at the St. Paul location, where we also package our beer in cans and bottles.

We’re looking for a dedicated, hardworking, and someone wanting to gain more knowledge of our brewery and beer then share with customers throughout the Twin Cities. The ideal candidate would have some experience in the industry (but not required), be willing to learn, and feel comfortable talking with customers.

This position will report to the Off-Premise Sales Manager.


  • Attend (paid) trainings as required
  • Use scheduling software to regularly claim tasting shifts
  • Communicate availability to Off-Premise Sales Manager
  • Follow tasting processes and standards, including: representing Fair State Brewing Cooperative well to liquor store staff and customers, setting up and breaking down tasting area, checking ID’s, serving samples legally and responsibly, following prescribed tasting order, and educating and engaging consumers

Desired Skills and Experience

  • Enthusiasm for talking about Fair State’s beer and cooperative business model
  • Ability to engage with diverse audiences
  • Commitment to following company policies and procedures
  • Comfort with limited supervision and ability to make (informed) decisions independently
  • Strong communication skills
  • Experience with beer or food & beverage


  • Basic familiarity with beer styles
  • Able to stand for 2-4 hours at a time
  • Able to work evenings and weekends
  • Able to lift cases of beer (20 lbs.) repeatedly and safely
  • Able to reliably travel to accounts and event locations on time
  • Able to read, follow, and give oral and written English instructions
  • At least 21 years of age as of time of application


This is a part-time, hourly position. Compensation is $10.22 / hr. As an irregular part-time employee, this role is also eligible for:

  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Beer stipend for each shift worked
  • Sick and Safe Time Off and Workers Compensation, as required by law

Application Process

Please follow these instructions carefully; we may not review submissions that do not follow these instructions.

Email and use the subject line “Street Team – [City]”, where “[City]” is which city you wish to regularly work in. We are hiring for positions in Bemidji, Brainerd, Duluth, Mankato, St Cloud, Minneapolis – Saint Paul, and Rochester. In your email, answer the following questions:

  1. What is your favorite beer and why?
  2. What experience and perspective will you bring to our team?
  3. Why do you want to work for Fair State?

Submissions will be accepted until July 27. Interviews will be conducted and offers extended on a rolling basis.

Where no can has gone before…

We celebrated the launch of our Mirror Universe hazy IPA by sending a can of it into the stratosphere!

Fair State employees, friends, and member-owners gathered in a park in Lakeville to see the beer off as they launched it towards space lifted by a weather balloon. We had spent weeks poring over weather data and wind patterns to find a perfect launch trajectory – one that would see the beer launched over 80,000 feet into the stratosphere. Wind patterns change dramatically from day to day and at different altitudes, and we needed to pick a day that would keep the beer outside of prohibited airspace while also keeping it from landing a thousand miles away or in a body of water or large forest.

We named the beer in an homage to Star Trek’s alternate universe and is a tongue in cheek reference to this beer being something of a departure from our core lagers and sours that have made our name for the past couple of years, while also being a fun journey into a new and exciting style. Therefore, we thought it was appropriate for a can of the beer to go on its own journey to go boldly where few cans have gone before.

We tied the can underneath a weather balloon with cameras strapped to it to record the journey and it rapidly made its ascent through the clouds until it was no longer visible. After that point, the we relied on GPS to track it as it moved rapidly south. We chased the beer south as it flew towards Iowa. It followed I-35 south faster than our cars could.

As the beer climbed ever higher, the lower density of the atmosphere caused the balloon to expand until it eventually exploded, floating back down to earth underneath a parachute. We kept following it through its descent, eventually locating the package in a small field near the Iowa border. We quickly poured the beer in a glass and shared it to celebrate its amazing journey.

Check out the video and photos below!


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.

free arts mn volunteersNeedless 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 Taproom Update from Evan

To our Member-Owners,

We have some changes coming soon to the Taproom. Member Happy Hour is being extended to all open hours.  Moreover, our year-round core beers (IPA, Pils, Vienna Lager, and Roselle) will be on double happy hour, giving members $4 beers all day, every day. However, to make this change, you will see adjustments to the prices of some of our beers, with most going up $1 starting Friday, November 24.

We strive to brew our beer to the highest standards. Your favorites, like Spirit Foul, Curation, U-Pick, FSB, & Raspberry Roselle (coming in December), require substantial investments to make up to our standards − from the sourcing of quality ingredients to our high-end quality control program − all are vital in continuing to produce more consistent and award-winning beer.

We are blessed to have such a passionate, involved, and supportive community of co-op owners.  You are the reason our brewery continues to grow, and our mission of community is expanding throughout the state of Minnesota and beyond.  We are excited to show you what lies ahead in 2018 and beyond. Learn more here.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me at

Evan Sallee, President & CEO, Fair State Brewing Cooperative

Member Week to Remember

Thank you to everyone that came out and took part in our first ever Member Week here at Fair State. All said and done, we had seven back to back days of events. Here are a few of the highlights for me:

Every good day begins with breakfast, and the same holds true of a week. Members filled up the big table with contributions from their kitchens (I brought donuts from Durango’s kitchen).

On Thursday we were joined by our friends at Planned Parenthood, Our April Fair State Cooperates partner. They brought an ample supply of art supplies for our volunteers to get creative with.

In additional to our full roster of Cooperators, a handful of taproom patrons grabbed markers to join in the fun. Our craftiness quickly flowed beyond the big table to satellite tables, benches, and the floor. Dozens of vibrant posters were made and will be used for Planned Parenthood’s annual Solidarity Day.

We closed the week with a party. Opting to forgo the party hats, we focused on the beer. Member-Owners enjoyed half-priced beer from open to close. The day was well attended, and some folks decided to join right then and there! As we always like to see your faces, we also took a bunch of portraits. Keep your eyes to the north side of the taproom to spot all the new additions to the Member Wall. Here is one of my favorites…

introducing Member Week!

We are quite proud of the more than 1,000 Member-Owners that are the foundation of our cooperative. These people have supported our business through patronage, our neighbors through volunteer initiatives, our community through social gatherings, and so much more! To highlight and highfive these great folks, we are throwing our first Member Week. April 1-7th will be packed full of events celebrating membership, cooperatives, and coming together around good beer. Everyone is Welcome!
(members get some special deals)

Members First – Potluck Brunch
& Super Member Happy Hour 12-2pm.
Crowler Debut,
Stand-Up Comedy at 8:30,
Member Happy Hour all day.
Cribbage Night 6-8pm,
1/2 off you first beer with another co-op’s card,
Member Happy Hour all day.
Fair State-sponsored music and $2 off all FS pours at 331 Club. Music at 8:30pm.
Co-op Trivia with Tommy.
Fair State Cooperates Planned Parenthood Poster Party 7-9PM. Sign up here.
Member Thank You Party
1/2 off all pours for member-owners, all day!
Member Wall photobooth 4-8pm.

International Women’s Day

Raise Your Glasses to These Lasses

In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re highlighting the women who help power Fair State. In a traditionally male-dominated industry, it’s a privilege to work, learn, and laugh alongside such smart, strong, and downright inspirational ladies.

That’s why we’re using today as an opportunity to bring visibility to the many women who dedicate their time and talents to craft brewing. Today we give thanks for these wonderful women—not that we need a special holiday for that! These gals deserve recognition for their hard work every day of the year.

Here are their thoughts on what it’s like to be badass broads in the beer biz and how they got here.



Events & Education Manager

Favorite Fair State Beer: Pils

Sarah came to Fair State via the coffee industry. “After living out-of-state for a year, I was asking around about jobs in Minneapolis upon my return,” she says. A former co-worker at Up Coffee hooked her up with Fair State through his wife, Kayla, then a manager at nearby Indeed Brewing.

“Only recently did I discover that Kayla’s connection was to two other rad ladies, Barb from NorthGate and Hilari from Dangerous Man. Both are women that I now have the pleasure of working alongside as colleagues in the NE beer world. These three women were in the process of forming what would later become NEBDA, the Northeast Brewer’s and Distiller’s Association. These rock star ladies saw a need to connect leaders in this growing industry and made it happen. This is one example of how the women in craft brewing have been quick to build one another up. These women are all backbones for their respective breweries and spend much of their creative energy making this industry a productive and cooperative place. Craft beer (and my career) would not be what it is without these women.” Sarah, in turn, now pays it forward as an exemplary role model and advocate for other women getting their start in the brewing world.




Favorite Fair State beer: Raspberry Roselle

Though Jill came to us with nearly 25 years of bartending experience under her belt, her path to Fair State was anything but direct. When she started working again after taking time out to raise her two children, she says, “I had a hard time finding a job. All the bartenders, especially in Northeast, were either young females under 30 in tight T-shirts, or men. As a mother, I had to start all over.” Jill put in long hours at physically demanding catering jobs for a few years before she joined Fair State’s team. Now, says Jill, “I pour beer and I talk to people.” Lucky for us! Jill puts customers and co-workers at ease with her gift for conversation. In addition to being a mainstay of Jill’s own neighborhood, she values the flexible atmosphere fostered by Fair State’s founders. “They try to work out everything for everybody,” she says,



Assistant Taproom Manager

Favorite Fair State Beer: Vienna Lager (the beer that got me hired at Fair State)

“I got involved with Fair State because of Sarah,” Donelle says, “because she told Matt and Charlie that I was awesome and they should hire me.” It’s true—she is awesome, and she’s been a model of tireless efficiency in our taproom for more than a year now. She’s also a constant support for others, making sure her co-workers know they’re not taken for granted. “I’m lucky to work where I work and am super grateful to be working with this team, and I’m also super grateful to have met all of the awesome people in this industry.”



Office Manager

Favorite Fair State Beer: U-PICK

It was the cooperative model that initially drew Alena to Fair State. Now, it’s the strong community of engaging and conscientious people that keep her passionate. “I’ve met all these impressive and magnanimous people who are eager to teach, share, and use their networks to connect and uplift others.” She’s proud to be part of a brewery that builds social capital and connects her with women mentors within the industry.

“I’ve been lucky enough to jump into a community that values me and makes me feel respected. However, I know that’s not true for everyone everywhere, and I’m often reminded of the work-in-progress we’re witnessing,” she says. “Since the demographics of craft beer drinkers (and brewers) are changing at a rapid clip, I’m hopeful that we’ll get to witness our community grow to include and be enriched by people from every background.”



Brewery Assistant, Jack-of-All-Trades

Favorite Fair State Beer: Like ever? Wild rover. But Vienna is my go to.

When she was in school, Rose figured she’d get some boring QA/QC job with her microbiology degree. “Boy, was I wrong!” she says. Fully aware of the gender skew within the industry, Rose says, “When I first started at Fair State, I was concerned about seeming too feminine. Like, if I was going to make a bunch of mistakes, better to seem like I don’t care about dumb “girly” stuff, right?

“But now that I’ve been here awhile, I know none of the FS staff could care one way or the other. They’re all evolved and don’t give a damn what’s on their keg washer’s eyelids- so long as they’re wearing goggles when handling caustic.”

“I think beer people care about quality product more than any BS gender norms,” says Rose. “Industry people are always super respectful. That said, I think there is a stereotype that if a woman is in beer, she’s front of house,” says Rose. And, she adds, “I think it’s worth noting that there are hardly any women of color in beer.”

As for the stereotype that women don’t drink beer? “I think it’s because beer bros want a “no girls allowed” sign on the treehouse fort of craft beer. Case in point: men on the Beer People Facebook page always painting their wives as no-fun killjoys who can’t appreciate their beer habit. Like, she’s probably just pissed you blew the weekly grocery budget on Hexit. And she’s probably the one who had to make the budget in the first place, so…”

For more straight talk on beer bros and more, you can catch Rose doing acid titrations or keeping our kegs in top condition.




Favorite Fair State Beer: Pils

Katie kicked off her beer career in Austin, Texas, taking on roles in just about every aspect of brewing. She’s been a brewing assistant and a cellarperson, bartending and doing draft stuff all the while. Before coming to Fair State, she says, “I helped a buddy open his own small brewery,” in Montana.

Now, Katie uses her experience and expertise to make the magic happen in Fair State’s brewhouse. When it comes to gender issues in brewing, she says, “It’s sort of a mixed bag.” Questions of sexism and empowerment, she points out, deserve more space than a blog post can offer. “I don’t feel like I could distill it,” says Katie of its complexities. That’s a sentiment that resonates with many in the brewing industry, and it’s a discussion that demands ongoing, concerted attention.


Because a woman’s place is in the brewhouse—or in the microbiology lab, or behind the bar, or in the office, or having a pint in the taproom, or wherever else she damn well pleases. Happy International Women’s Day, everyone.

Homebrew Member Challenge – Legal Stuff

Eligibility – This contest is open to all non-professional home brewers who are also members in good standing of Fair State Brewing Cooperative (Fair State).

General Terms & Restrictions – Fair State, at its sole discretion, may use the winning home brew recipe (Recipe) for production and sale at its taproom and to the general market. This right shall be irrevocable and extend in perpetuity. Fair State may also, at its sole discretion, enter beer brewed from the Recipe into any beer festivals or competitions. The winning homebrewer agrees to fully disclose the winning recipe, including all ingredients and processes used therein, to Fair State, and grant to Fair State an irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free license to all commercial and intellectual property rights to the winning beer recipe, including, but not limited to the Recipe and beer name. In consideration for these rights, the winning homebrewer will receive two 3-packs of crowlers (or three bottles), a t-shirt, and an opportunity to assist with the brew day, as consideration.

By entering this contest, entrants permit Fair State to use their name, likeness, picture, biographical information, voice, and any audio and visual recordings of entrant in any manner or media whatsoever anywhere in the world in perpetuity for the purpose of manufacturing, promoting, or advertising any relevant product or service of Fair State, except where otherwise prohibited by law. Fair State reserves the right to revoke a winning entry at any time if it determines that the entrant has behaved in any manner that Fair State considers, at its sole discretion, to be damaging in any way to the contest, its brand, or home brewing as a hobby. Winning entrants may, at Fair State’s sole discretion, have an opportunity to participate in the actual brewing of the winning beer, assuming that they can attend the brew day, which is yet to be scheduled.