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 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.
Fair State Brewing Cooperative releases 2018 Brand Calendar
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
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 orask us onTwitter 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.”
-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 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.
SEVEN COOPERATIVE PRINCIPLES 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.
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
Behind the Beer: IPA
Head Brewer Niko Tonks on India Pale Ale.
“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.
Last year’s inaugural Homebrew Member Challenge had such great results (remember Kyle Schmidt’s Keller Blanc?), that we’re doing it again. Pretty much the same deal as last year – Submit your homebrew for a chance to have it brewed as a full-size commercial batch on our system (15bbl). We’re looking to try your finished product, in bottle form. So no sitting on your haunches. Get that brew kettle boiling!
We are accepting submissions from June 26-30th during taproom hours.
(4x) 12oz bottles or (2x) 22oz (or 750s) bottles of each beer you submit. Limit of 4 submissions per person.
Rules are as follows:
This competition is open to member-owners of Fair State Brewing Cooperative. Not yet a member? You can sign up right here!
Label your beer! (use an avery label/paper tag)
– Your name
– What you’re calling the beer
– A one-line description of the beer
YEAST: As long as it wasn’t harvested from a beard, it’s probably fair game.
MALT/HOPS: Feel free to use any malts or hops you want, but be aware that we’re unlikely able to source a bunch of Citra or Mosaic or the like (basically anything from the Southern Hemisphere is out).
ADJUNCTS: Fruits and other adjuncts (either in the mash, kettle, or fermenter) are fine, within reason. We can’t source 200# of Durian or Dragonfruit (please don’t make Durian beers, anyway). For a quick guide, anything available from Oregon Fruit in puree format is totally cool. Locally available things may be ok, but might not be depending on when this slots into the schedule. Herbs and spices are generally not problematic.
Kettle or quick sour beers are fine, Beers co-fermented with Lactobacillus and yeast are fine. Brett. fermentation in either primary or secondary is fine, but barrel-aging is out. Not enough room in the barrel room to make it work. This means no Pedio. While we do like sour and funky beer around here, that doesn’t mean we’re any more likely to pick a sour or funky beer than a clean one. Brew what you like, don’t try to conform to what we do just because you feel like you should.
The competition will be judged “best in show” style, and we don’t really care too much about style conventions. The Judging Panel will be made up of our brew team and last year’s winner, Kyle Schmidt.
We’ll brew 15 barrels of the winning beer, with the winner being invited to come sit in on brew day.
Kyle Schmidt stole our mouth-hearts with his Pale Lager featuring Hallertau Blanc Hops at our probably-annual Member Homebrew Challenge in July. The barley has been malted, the grain has been mashed, the beer has been brewed and it’s ready to drink.
Now Pouring: Keller Blanc Pale Lager, designed by member-owner Kyle Schmidt.
Bold, hop-forward, and well-balanced with malt. Pineapple, gooseberry, white-grape & lemongrass flavors give it a unique tropical profile. You’ll want another. 5.5% ABV, 30 IBU.
Kyle has been drinking Fair State since Day 1 and has been a Co-op Member-Owner since 2016 (#627). He developed his passion for beer in 2011 when his then-future wife gifted him a homebrewing starter kit. It was a fast, exciting time in the midst of a rapid resurgence of Minnesota breweries and Kyle caught the fever. He became a Certified Cicerone in November 2012, which allowed him to forego his teaching job for a position with the Better Beer Society and then Badger Hill Brewing. Kyle currently lives in Richfield and works as the Assistant General Manager at Northern Brewer – Minneapolis.
How did you get involved with Fair State? Kyle: I’ve been drinking Fair State beer since day 1! Simply put, Fair State focuses on executing the types of beer that I always strive to have in my fridge: lagers, session-strength hop-forward beers, farmhouse styles, and mixed culture. While supporters from the beginning, my wife and I were inspired to become member-owners in 2016 because we’ve always loved the atmosphere and strong, welcoming community at the FSBC taproom. It’s our favorite place to unwind with a couple of pints and bump into friends. Of course, Aki’s pretzels don’t hurt either!
How would you describe your Keller Blanc? Kyle: It’s a beer that is hop-forward (on the edge of bold) without being aggressive or bitter. The Hallertau Blanc hop is a newer German variety that combines some of the delicacy of traditional noble-type hops with the big flavor profile of next-generation IPA-type varieties. It’s difficult to work with in the brewhouse because it can get harsh very quickly in the boil kettle, but the challenge of making this beer was in highlighting the pineapple, gooseberry, white-grape and lemongrass flavors that give it a unique tropical profile. There’s just enough malt presence there to balance it all out and make you want another.
What led you to choosing that beer style? Kyle: I’ve always been a huge fan of pale German-style lagers. When done right, I believe they represent the epitome of what approachable, sessionable, and easy-drinking craft beer can be. These styles are important in a craft landscape often dominated by the bold and aggressive flavors of IPAs and mixed-culture fermentations. I also love that as a brewer there’s nothing to hide behind. These beers feature simple ingredient bills so your process and technique have to be spot on the do them well or people will know. One of my favorite things about FSBC is their embrace of these craft lager styles and the reputation they’ve earned for doing them so well.
What was your experience like working on a larger scale Kyle: The brewhouse at FSBC is not a sexy one, to be sure! Certainly no button tapping on iPads or computers, just a lot of running around the old-fashioned way. I’ve always told people the best way to brew is to be two steps ahead of whatever is next, and Niko and Caleb run a tight ship that demonstrates just what that looks like if you want to find success day in and day out. We were fortunate in that the recipe scaled well and could work within the established parameters of FSBC’s lager processes, but we certainly enjoyed bringing a couple of new ingredients into the brewhouse for this beer.
There’s a lot to live up to when a new beer hits the taproom at FSBC! I’m just hopeful that it’s well received and worthy of the tap line, and maybe even good enough to make again!
Many thanks to all of the Member-Owners that participated in the first of our probably-annual Homebrew Challenge. We hope the process was rewarding and we thoroughly enjoyed tasting the products of your hard work.
Pouring pints of Kyle Schmidt’s Keller Blanc Pale Lager at 4pm on Thursday, October 13. Come get yourself a taste.
If brewing your beer with Niko & the Fair State team sounds like something you’d be into, become a Member-Owner and get ready for our next Homebrewer Challenge. Before you know it, we could be pouring pints of your recipe in the Taproom.