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 flavors, 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.


Giantsbane goes on tap at our Northeast Minneapolis taproom on Thursday, November 1. Cans go into distribution in Minnesota in the first week of November and in Wisconsin starting November 6.


City Pages: “Local suds: 5 beers to try in November.”



Behind the Beer: Mirror Universe

Haze is a contentious topic these days in the beer world. Once the enemy of all brewers, haze is now an aspect to be carefully cultivated and pushed to extremes. The Hazy IPA, also known as a New England IPA, is the latest in a long line of beer styles that takes the wisdom about appropriate hop rates and then, obliterates it. The cautious, European-inspired brewer within us cries out when we dry-hop a beer with more than five pounds per barrel of the choicest high-oil dank-sauce gnar-gnar hop-pow, but we did it anyway and we made it good. 


Mirror Universe is the spiritual successor to Spirit Foul. As such, it’s hazy as can be, brewed with an unusual water profile and a ridiculously high-protein wheat and oat forward malt bill, fermented with the fruitiest of ale yeasts, and double dry hopped with Mosaic, Citra, and El Dorado. This beer explodes with hop aroma: tropical, fruity, juicy, all the things. Soft bitterness and big mouthfeel round out the experience.


Mirror Universe will be available on shelves for the months of March, April, and at least part of May, before disappearing for the summer months (more on our updated Citra Pale Ale, Pahlay’Ahlay, soon!), and reappearing in the fall months.




You may also notice that while Mirror Universe is on the shelves, we’ll be producing variants of it solely for sale at our Taproom in Northeast Minneapolis. Those bottles will be small batch experimental beers that will hopefully allow us to do some very unorthodox things with hops, malt, and fruit.


As with all beers of this variety, we ask but one thing of you, beer drinker: keep this one cold and drink it fresh. Avoid the temptation to sock one away for later, and don’t worry if you miss that primo ‘gram opportunity. There will be a next time. We’ll make more for you, we swear.


So, where can you find it?

Mirror Universe will be distributed throughout the week of March 13 – March 16. Call ahead to make sure your beer store of choice has it in stock!


Fair State Cooperates: Association for Black Economic Power

If you asked someone a few years ago what kinds of cooperatives they knew of, they probably wouldn’t say “brewery.” In fact, before 2014, there weren’t any cooperatively owned breweries in Minnesota. Yet here we are today. That’s because when we started the brewery, we wanted to provide a space for the community to get together, to share ideas and skills, and of course, to drink beer. We are made up of community members, for community members.

So in the spirit of shining a light on organizations with a similar focus on community gathering and change-making, we can look to our February Cooperates Partner– the Association for Black Economic Power.

In 2016, Twin Cities residents got together to form a community organization by the name of Blexit– in efforts to “cultivate the practice of economic civil resistance.” It was through these meetings that the members began to focus on black banking– this lead to the late 2016 launch of the Association for Black Economic Power.

So what are they doing? Well, by 2019 they hope to establish a state chartered black-led credit union: The Village Trust Financial Cooperative (VTFC).

The leaders of ABEP and VTFC chose the credit union model (rather than traditional banking) because it follows the “not for profit, not for charity, but for service” ideals. The overarching goal for VTFC is to serve the underserved within the Black community who have been previously excluded from traditional financial institutions.


The VTFC name itself was voted on by the North Minneapolis community through a 2017 campaign that ran from April to June.

Part of the establishment process involves collecting pledges from potential members. Through pledge collection on their website, ABEP is able to gather the information needed to make sure they are prioritizing the services that the community most values– and gather the proof needed to show they have significant community support and interest. Their current goal is to gain five thousand pledges from those who are interested in using the credit union once it is open.


If you’re interested in learning more about the organization and the credit union, you can come to the Taproom on February 22. ABEP will host a panel to discuss community buy-in, policy, as well as economic resistance– all within the context of the creation of the Village Trust Financial Cooperative. If you want to pledge to be a part of it all, you can do so online or at this event– pledging is open to all, regardless of race.

Plus, for every CROWLER you buy, 10% of sales will go right back to ABEP and their mission.

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to support our neighbors on the Northside — join us!


Photos courtesy of 

Behind the Beer: Vienna Lager

Vienna Lager Cans


Head Brewer Niko Tonks riffs on Vienna Lager.

Here at Fair State Cooperative, we do tend to go on (and on) about lager bier, but bear with us because we’ve got an exciting topic to talk about today: Vienna Lager. This, friends, is Beer-Flavored Beer. It’s beer for those of us who enjoy drinking beer, especially in the company of friends, and especially while in pursuit of the finer things in life. Fair State Vienna Lager has depth, it’s malty but not sweet, it’s crisp and refreshing, and it’s the perfect companion for every beer-drinking occasion.

Beer is a marvelous thing but, in my humble opinion, its virtues are often misstated or just misunderstood. I think that beer is at its finest when brewed in support of the German concept of gemütlichkeit, meaning  “geniality,” “good cheer,” or “friendliness.” Beer is a social beverage–  we do it, and ourselves, a disservice when we treat it otherwise. The best way to get to the core of a beer is to sit down with friends and have a (full) pint or two of it and reserve judgment as best you can, at least for a couple of minutes. Words to live by, really.Vienna Lager

Vienna Lager has been a perennial favorite in our taproom, and it’s the sort of thing we keep in our fridges at home. We are excited to finally bring it to your cooler, fridge, or historically accurate lager cellar (if you have one of those, please call us, we’d like to hang out). This beer-flavored beer is about to be everywhere. You should be able to find it at your local liquor store without worry. Best of all,  we don’t anticipate running out of the experimental ingredients it (doesn’t) rely on for production. Craft beer is an adventure, and while the treasure hunt is an integral part of that adventure, so is the everyday joy of having a simple, reliable pint with friends. We hope you agree, and maybe we can talk it out over a fine lager bier one of these days. 

Serve this one in a dimpled mug, lager glass, or shaker pint.


Cans: Vienna Lager (year-round flagship), Pils (year-round flagship), Keller Kazbek (September 2018)

On draftVienna Lager, Pils


BrewBound: “Fair State Brewing Cooperative Launches Vienna Lager in Cans”

Star Tribune: “Great choices for pairing beer and snacks for the Super Bowl”

Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal: “Fair State Brewing’s biggest-ever Launch will add new year-round beer”


Fair State Brewing Cooperative releases 2018 Brand Calendar

Can Lineup

2017 was one hell of a year here at Fair State Brewing Cooperative. We started the year as a 7.5bbl taproom brewery squished into 900 square feet, and ended the year as a 30bbl production brewery that occupies 30,000 square feet (oh, and we kept the taproom brewery, too). We didn’t get to start brewing at our facility in the St. Paul-Midway area until the end of April, 2017, but we still managed to more than double our annual production from 2016. We commissioned our own canning line (and just passed the 425,000 cans filled mark last week), expanded our barrel room capacity by orders of magnitude, and filled up our shiny new lab with all sorts of fancy gizmos.

We know everyone wants more Spirit Foul, our collaboration with Modern Times, and we wish (wish wish) we could give you more of it, but it was based heavily on an experimental hop that is not in full production yet, and we’ve used all of our allotment from this year’s harvest already! We have contracted for a bunch more of it in the coming years, so keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime, we’re pretty excited about Mirror Universe as a sequel to Spirit Foul. Keep reading to learn more.

We’re excited about bringing our notoriously unwieldy brand calendar into line in 2018, expanding on lots of the work we’ve done thus far, tightening our grasp on who we are and what we do, and bringing some killer new beers to you. And now, onto the good stuff.

Ladies and Gentleman, your 2018 Fair State Brewing Cooperative Brand Calendar!


Roselle: the beer that first put us on the map, our flagship Hibiscus Kettle Sour. A simple golden ale that we do lots of strange things to: first we make it sour using our house lactobacillus strain, then we add copious amounts of Hibiscus flowers, along with Cascade and Crystal hops. The result is a tart, dry, citrus-forward and floral beer that just so happens to be a brilliant deep pink color. The Rosé of beers. (5.7% ABV, 19 IBU – available in 1/2bbl, 1/6bbl, and 4x12oz cans)

Vienna Lager: We’ve been making this beer since 2015, and we are excited to welcome it to the year-round can lineup in January 2018. This is Beer-Flavored Beer – a simple, nuanced, well-executed lager beer that is best paired with another pint of the same. Amber in color, medium-bodied, malty and delicious. (5.3% ABV, 25 IBU – available in 1/2bbl, 1/6bbl, and 4x16oz cans)Vienna Lager

Pils: Our desert island beer. A German-style Pilsner brewed with one hop and one malt and lagered longer than common sense generally allows. Crisp, clean, grassy, and elegant, it’s the beer we have in our fridges at home. (4.9% ABV, 40 IBU – available in 1/2bbl, 1/6bbl, and 4x16oz cans)

IPA: a beer that first went into (big, red) cans in fall of 2017, our IPA has undergone a number of revisions already, and we’re excited about where things are headed in 2018. Clean, dry, pale, and aromatic, our interpretation of the classic American IPA leans heavily on Chinook, Simcoe, and Centennial hops for its tropical piney flavors and aromas. (6.2% ABV, 60 IBU – available in 1/2bbl, 1/6bbl, 4x16oz cans)

BFDP (beginning April 2018): A 100% barrel-fermented Mixed Culture tart Saison. Blended from our favorite barrels in the cellar, varying in age from 4 to 12 months, and naturally conditioned. Oaky, funky, tart, and complex, it is the clearest expression of what we do in our barrel program. Available on draft and in naturally-conditioned 12oz cans (yes, you read that correctly), as part of a 4-pack mixed pack with… (5.2% ABV, 25 IBU – available in 1/2bbl, 1/6bbl, 4x12oz cans as part of Mixed Culture mix pack)

LÄCTOBÄC (beginning April 2018): A Lemon, Ginger, and Lemongrass-infused Mixed Culture sour wheat. Bright, funky, and refreshing, this is one of our very favorite recipes from the last two years. We’re excited to debut it in naturally-conditioned 12oz cans in April. (5.6% ABV, 10 IBU – available in 1/2bbl, 1/6bbl, 4x12oz cans as part of Mixed Culture mix pack)


Mirror Universe (March-May, Oct-Dec): A Hazy IPA for those who think a single dry hop just isn’t gonna cut it. Brewed with Oats, Wheat, and a boatload of Mosaic, Citra, and El Dorado hops. Double dry-hopped, this beer explodes with hop aroma. Tropical, fruity, juicy, all the things. This beer uses almost 6lbs of hops per barrel and utilizes the latest in hop technology (no, seriously, it does). A new foray into the “Northeast” IPA world, Mirror Universe will pop up twice in 2018, so keep your eyes peeled. Learn more about the future of our IPA program. (7.0% ABV, more than zero IBU – available in 1/2bbl, 1/6bbl, 4x16oz cans)Mirror Universe

Pahlay’Ahlay (Jun-Aug): Our Citra/Simcoe pale ale (get it? PAH-lay AH-lay?) is reborn in the haze model for 2018, as well. We’ve upped the dose of Oats, and slammed the beer with even more Simcoe and Citra than we previously thought was possible (or certainly advisable). Designed with summer adventures in mind. (5% ABV, 40 IBU – available in 1/2bbl, 1/6bbl, 4x16oz cans)

Festbier (Aug-Oct): We love lager bier, and this is one of our favorites to make. A decoction-mashed (ask us later about lager nerd technology) Oktoberfest lager designed for consumption in liter plus quantities, Festbier is malty but not sweet, bready but not toasty, and crisp as a fall day (pardon the cheese). Available on draft only, and for a limited time. (5.7% ABV, 20 IBU – available in 1/2bbl and 1/6bbl only)

Keller Kazbek (Aug-Oct): An unfiltered Pilsner (or Kellerbier, if you prefer) brewed exclusively with Czech Kazbek hops and the finest Bohemian Barley malt. Crisp, slightly hazy, and best served as fresh as is humanly possible, Keller Kazbek is an even grassier, almost hay-like hop-forward lager that we think pairs well with pretty much everything. Currently sits as the #2 Kellerbier in the world, per RateBeer (not so humblebrag). Also our first 6-pack of 12oz cans! We thought you might enjoy drinking a few of these. Nice of us, we know. (4.9% ABV, 38 IBU – available in 1/2bbl, 1/6bbl, 6×12 oz cans)

Limited Release

In addition to the constant stream of one-off beers we produce at our taproom brewery (where you’ll find a handful of perennial favorites not listed here, as well as the latest in sour beer, IPAs, lager bier, and more), we’ve slotted in a few pretty exciting beers for wider distribution in 2018. They are:

Clarity Of Purpose (April): An IPA brewed in collaboration with a certain local brewery you may have heard of (more details on that soon), Clarity of Purpose is our best faith attempt to demonstrate that hop flavor, aroma, and haze are not necessarily correlated. This beer will be bright as bright can be, and aromatic and juicy as can be, ALL AT THE SAME TIME! No, but seriously, we’re excited about this beer, we hope you will be too. (ABV and IBU TBD, available in 1/2bbl, 1/6bbl, 4x16oz cans)

Hefeweizen (June): Our perennial summer favorite, Hefeweizen is an authentic German-style wheat beer. Brewed with 50% malted wheat, and fermented with a particular (and iconic) yeast strain, Hefeweizen sports a unique combination of clove, banana, and vanilla aromas and flavors. We take great care in authentically reproducing the German version, which is a pain, but we think it’s worth it. (5.0% ABV, 12 IBU – available in 1/2bbl, 1/6bbl, 4x16oz cans)

FSB Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout (December): Each year we make a big Imperial Stout, and every year it’s a little different. What we can say about the 2018 version is that it will be big, black, and aged in 45th Parallel Distilling Rye, Wheat, and Bourbon whiskey barrels. Stay tuned for other details. (available in 1/2bbl, 1/6bbl, 750ml bottles)

Raspberry Roselle (December): We take Roselle, our flagship Hibiscus sour, and add a ton (actually, more like a ton and a half) of raspberries to it. Bright, juicy, raspberry jam, and tart, it’s exactly what it sounds like. The best part is it tastes even better than it sounds. (5.7% ABV, 10 IBU, available in 1/2bbl, 1/6bbl, 4x12oz cans)

Beer Calendar

PDF version here: Fair State Brewing Cooperative 2018 Beer Calendar

Where can you find Raspberry Roselle?

Raspberry Roselle


We’ve put the MN Craft Brewer’s Guild Winterfest 2016 Best Beer winner in cans & kegs. Raspberry Roselle is our year-round hibiscus sour saison re-fermented with a whole bunch of raspberries. The result is a fruit-forward, rose-hued beer that’s distinctly juicy and dry, with increased acidity. 5.8 ABV, 10 IBU.Raspberry Roselle

It may be a week before Raspberry Roselle reaches all of its destinations. We strongly encourage you to call the locations below to confirm when they will have Raspberry Roselle in stock or ask us on Twitter if you want to know a specific store’s anticipated delivery date and we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction.


MN Craft Brewer’s Guild Winterfest 2016 Best Beer winner

The Growler’s 2016 & 2017 Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Awards Best Fruit Beer


The Heavy Table: “Cheerful, holiday-ready raspberry & hibiscus sour ale that’s equal parts novelty, talent, and fun.”

City Pages: Local Guide to Hipster Beer Styles

MN Craft Brewer’s Guild: Winterfest Snowshoe Award Winners

Beerploma: Top Ten Minnesota Beers for 2016

MN Beer Activists: What (Minnesota beer) I’ve been drinking…

Star Tribune: Best of MN 2016


Roselle 4 Pack-Roselle, the real “champagne of beers.”

-Double Raspberry Roselle, a double-ized version of Roselle with twice the fruit of Raspberry Roselle. 750 ml. bottles are Member-exclusive. On draft at the Taproom on Thursday, December 7. UPDATE: a few cases of Double Raspberry Roselle are available at the Taproom now.

Behind the Beer: 7 Principles Pale Ale

7 Principles

7 Principles started as a set of cooperative guidelines. Now, it’s also a beer: A dry-hopped pale ale made with all Minnesota ingredients (hops from Mighty Axe in Foley/Ham Lake, malt from Vertical malt in Fisher, MN). 5.1% ABV, 40 IBU.

“I’m excited about this beer – to me, it’s a bit of a milestone to be able to source quality base malt and pelleted, ready to use hops locally,” Niko, our Head Brewer commented. “We’re sitting at the starting point for an entire industry of small, artisanal producers of raw beer ingredients, and it’s important that breweries support their efforts wherever it is possible to do so. Often local beers lack true locality, a sense (and taste) of place. We have no idea what MN terroir in beer means, but we’re starting to make strides towards figuring it out.”

We used aromatic and pale malt from Vertical malt, which yields a beer with a crisp, slight malt presence and pale golden color. It is hopped in the kettle with Cascade and Columbus hops, and the dry hop is a heavy dose of Columbus. As a result, the beer is pretty dank, with pine and citrus rind in the background.

The name is a reflection of the seven principles that guide our brewery as a cooperative business, operated and democratically controlled by our Member-Owners to meet their common needs and aspirations.

1. Voluntary and Open Membership
Voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use services and accept the responsibilities of membership.
2. Democratic Member Control
The Democratic organization controlled by members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions.
3. Member Economic Participation
Members buy into the cooperative and occasionally receive a return through patronage dividends.
4. Autonomy and Independence
In agreements with other organizations, members maintain democratic control and cooperative autonomy.
5. Education, Training, and Information
Cooperatives provide education and training at all levels to contribute to further cooperative development.
6. Cooperation among Cooperatives
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together.
7. Concern for Community
Working for the sustainable development of communities through member approved policies.

The opportunity to become a Member-Owner of Fair State Co-op is open 24/7. Learn more about membership here and check out this sweet deal available through Sunday, 12.3.

How to have a Trypto-fantastic Thanksgiving



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.

It’s Gold, Jerry!, a fresh hop golden ale

It's Gold, Jerry!
Our fresh hop pale ale with 650 lbs. of freshly-picked local Mighty Axe hops. $7/CROWLER


Shoulder of Orion, a dry-hopped pale wheat lager

Shoulder of Orion
Collaboration with Modern Times Beer. Featuring a little haze yet still crisp with a juicy hop flavor to accompany the bitterness. $7/CROWLER


Cromulence, a sour wheat beer

Modeled on the classic Berliner Weisse, Cromulence is a perfectly cromulent rendition of a classic style. Tart, refreshing, and bready. $9/CROWLER


Roselle, a hibiscus sour

Our signature canned sour is infused with hibiscus flower at flame-out, resulting in its distinctive pinkish hue, ethereal fragrance & citrus flavor. $9/CROWLER

As always, save $2 when you buy a 3-pack of CROWLERs. You can save it for a rainy day, or donate your discount to benefit our monthly Fair State Cooperates partner.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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.

Spirit Foul

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 MIRROR UNIVERSE, 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

Where can you find Spirit Foul?

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 or ask us on Twitter 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.”

The Heavy Table: “Spirit Foul has a funky pineapple charm all its own.”

The Minneapolis Egotist: “Little designed some beer cans. Totally nailed it.”

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.