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Minnesota on Tap

He writes about beer.

New beers from Fair State Brewing in northeast Minneapolis

Thursday will be a big day for the year-old Fair State Brewing in northeast Minneapolis. They will be releasing bottles of their first spirit barrel-aged offering called Old Richmond Rye. The supply is limited to 700 bottles which will be for sale starting at 3 p.m. until they run out.

The name of this Imperial Brown Ale stems from the rye whiskey barrels in which they aged the brew — which come from 45th Parallel Distillery out of New Richmond, Wis.

The limit is two bottles per person per day for this one.

On Friday Single Barrel Sours #5 and #10 will be released beginning at 3 p.m. in a very limited quantity (250 bottles of each). These beers were brewed in collaboration with Oude Oak which will be a new brewery in northern Minnesota founded by Caleb Levar and Levi Loesch.

Levar has been the assistant brewer at Fair State, which is a big reason their sour program has really taken off. Fair State's head brewer, Niko Tonks, was very excited to bring Caleb on after an encounter at a local beer fest. “We got drunk at Winterfest and I was like hey” said Tonks.

Co-op members will get first crack at the supply which will certainly not last throughout the busy weekend, with the brewery also hosting Co-Optoberfest.

Barrel #5 is a Rye Saison which is bottle conditioned and dry hopped with Nelson Sauvin hops adding a nice layer of pineapple to the French Oak red wine barrel-aged beer. Coconut seems to come through as well which is most likely due to the 10 months it sat in the oak barrels. It weighs in at 7.2 % ABV with a pH balance of 3.45. The limit is 1 bottle per person per day.

Barrel #10 was the most interesting of the three. This is a Sour Stout where the malt actually comes through really well lending a nice roasty chocolate flavor to the brew. Normally this flavor would be outshined by the sour funk. “You tasted it and it was just like those chocolate covered cherries,” said Levar. This was also aged for 10 months on French Oak red wine barrels like #5. Weighing in at 6.9 % ABV and sporting a pH balance (which is a measurement of acidity) of 3.65, this one is begging to be picked up before it runs out.

If all goes well, the crew plans to release these Barrel Aged Sours quarterly in the future. "We are super happy to be releasing these beers after 10 months,” said Tonks. You should also be excited, so much so that you should probably line up before they open on Thursday and Friday. These beers are that delicious.

If you go:

Old Richmond Rye release, 3 p.m. Thur., Oct 8.

Barrel #5 and Barrel #10 release, 3 p.m. Fri., Oct. 9.

Co-Optoberfest, 2 p.m., Sat., Oct. 10. Live accordion, food, live T-shirt printing and 17 beers on tap!

Fair State Brewing Cooperative, 2506 Central Av. NE., Mpls.


Five beers worthy of praise at GABF 2015

With over 3,500 beers from 750 breweries being poured at this year’s festival, it’s impossible to try everything so I went through my notes and found five that stood out.

  1. Ching Ching from Bend Brewing - This sour treat reminded me a lot of Sissel from Steel Toe except this one was brewed with pomegranates. Not too acidic yet very tart with floral notes from the addition of hibiscus.
  2. Trois Vies #2 from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery - This is a version of their Foolish Belgian Quad aged in a Woodford bourbon barrel which was previously used to a Pinot Noir. The character of the barrel really shined through in this brew which will hopefully see its way onto the tap line at the brewpub.
  3. Hop JuJu from Fat Head’s Brewery - This 100 IBU monster took home Gold in the Imperial India Pale Category and rightfully so. Winning a medal in any IPA category is a huge accomplishment .
  4. Pivo from Firestone Walker -  If there is a better example of an American made Pils out there, let me know. This is absolutely one of my favorite beers and if it ever shows up in Minnesota, it will have a regular spot in my fridge.
  5. Graham Cracker Porter from Denver Brewing - Subtle smoke and hints of vanilla come through in this chocolatey dream of a brew. Think about a cold fall night around the fire and this is the beer you’d want.


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