We’re highlighting Minnesota’s 100-plus craft breweries with our flight series – four questions for the people behind the beer. This week is Fair State Brewing Cooperative.
Fair State Brewing Cooperative opened in Minneapolis in September 2014, and it recently expanded production at a new facility in St. Paul. That's where the brewery plans to grow its sour program, and it'll give them the ability to make enough beer so more Fair State beers will be available in cans at liquor stores (find where here).
The brewery focuses on a pretty large variety of beers, ranging from continental-style beers (lagers, hefeweizen, saisons) to hoppy IPAs and pale ales, to sour beers. And co-founder Evan Sallee says they strive to make "the most delicious beer we possibly can."
"And for us that involves a lot of balance ... it's really important to understand how those flavors interact with each other and what it takes to make a beer that you can really just drink," he said.
I sat down with Sallee to try an IPA and ask him a flight of questions.
What's the best reaction you've gotten from someone drinking one of your beers?
"Some of my favorite reactions – and I get this all the time when people drink our sour beers – I can't tell you how many times people will say 'This is the very first beer I've ever liked in my entire life,'" Sallee said.
But his actual favorite reaction ever was at a pouring at a Polar Bear Plunge kind of event:
"This woman came up. Orders one of our beers. Takes one sip of it and throws it on the ground and says, 'I can't drink this Dangerous Man bull----,' and just runs off," Sallee said, laughing.
And just to clear things up: Fair State is not Dangerous Man Brewing.
In 10-ish words, what would you tell someone to come into the taproom?
"I don't think you're going to find a place in Minnesota that has a better mix of really high-quality beer and really solid community. That's what we're all about," Sallee said.
What beer did you have that made you fall in love with craft beer?
"When I was a freshman in college (he wasn't 21) I had a poker night with some friends, and I told this guy who I knew who was 21: 'Go to the liquor store, buy me a bunch of good beer.' He bought me Guinness, Newcastle, Henry Weinhard's and Sierra Nevada. ... I had the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, it was the first time I'd ever tasted that – and it was just like, nothing short of a revelatory experience. I basically told all of my friends 'You can't have any of this, I'm drinking it all,'" Sallee said. "It was definitely the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale that got me into craft beer at the very beginning."
What's your favorite style of beer and why?
"It's probably pilsner," Sallee said. "I think there's a reason pilsner took over the world. When done well, it's unmatched – it's the perfect sweet spot for really amazing flavor, really great drinkability. You can drink one all day, but you can also savor one. In many ways it's the perfect beer. It's a shame that it had gotten bastardized in some of the ways it has been, but when done really, really well there's nothing like it."