A bit of etymology: the Latin prefix “co-” translates to “together.” This perfectly represents Fair State: it functions as a cooperative, stresses the importance of community and is co-owned.
When sitting down with owner and Macalester alumnus Matt Hauck ’06, we were constantly interrupted by customers saying hello to Hauck. It was a jovial experience to witness people from various walks of life come and talk to Hauck like they’ve been good friends for years, and it didn’t hurt that it was a Macalester graduate creating this sense of community in the Twin Cities.
The brewery itself has a very homey yet vivid atmosphere, oscillating between a rustic, crude brick wall on one side and tones of poppy yellow and red dominating the counter space above. With photos of over 300 co-op members on the other side of the room, it is clear that community is a cornerstone of Fair State.
Hauck found his love for craft beer at Macalester when he and his friends hosted bottle shares. During these events, he and his friends swapped different craft beers and came to appreciate the budding industry. At the time, there weren’t many micro-breweries in the Twin Cities. After graduation, he and two friends from Carleton’s rugby team began brewing beer in their home. The first flavors were daring: pumpkin ale and double IPA.
It wasn’t long until Hauck and the other co-owners wanted to turn their hobby of craft beer making into a profession. In 2014, the Fair State Brewing Cooperative opened its doors in Northeast Minneapolis. While there are many breweries located in Northeast Minneapolis, none have the sense of community that Fair State does. The brewery truly feels like a neighborhood establishment.
As for the beer, its taste was well beyond a “fair state.” I’d recommend getting the classic PILS: a dry, crisp German-style pilsner, available at Park Liquors. This beer is simple and delicious, with just one hop, one malt and one lager yeast. Also try the Razz Roselle, a hibiscus sour saison which is dominated by a sweet raspberry taste.
The UPICK is a great choice, with a combination of blueberry, strawberry and raspberry. It also is made with 100 percent locally picked berries from its co-op owners.
My personal favorite was the Party Forward, a Hazy IPA with citra and lemongrass. The lemongrass in this beer added a refreshingly new flavor to many of the other citrusy IPAs I have had.
If you’re a fan of something a little darker, I’d go with the Vienna Lager. It’s straightforward and has slightly toasty flavors complimented by a grassy noble hop nose. Also, if you like really dark beers, try the Ping Pong Tiddley. This London-style Porter is brewed with copious amounts of brown and chocolate malt. If you want to go all out with a heavy beer, I’d get The Duke of Bakesfordshire. This Pastry Stout is practically a dessert in a glass, consisting of whole pecans, maple syrup and vanilla. It’s heavy, it’s creamy and it will fill you up.
The Northeast is filled with vibrant restaurants and beautiful views of the Minneapolis skyline. If you find yourself in the area, I highly recommend adding Fair State to your itinerary. The cooperative consists of over 1,000 members, and some contribute to the new beers that are released on tap every week. Fair State is vibrant, with a community that is as enthusiastic as it gets.
Fair State Brewing Cooperative is located at 2506 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418