Thursday, January 28, 2016

Minnesota Breweries One by One #5: Fair State Brewing Cooperative, Minneapolis, with Pomp le Moose Farmhouse IPA

This is not how it looked on Monday's visit, for
that was a dark and stormy night. My attempts
at capturing this same scene were unsuccessful.
Instead, enjoy this view from a sunny
summer day, last year.
Fair State Brewing Cooperative has appeared in this blog 10 times before: 5 bottles and a can bought at local stores, 1 serving at Acadia, (a keg I didn't order, but would have), 2 growlers and a few glasses as part of a post featuring no reviews, just photos of beers. I was going to include a visit to the brewery in my Biking to Beer series last summer, but I had a case of writer's block and stalled, the post sat and was never published, the series abandoned. Not this time, bitter ones! I'm not quitting this time! We're in for the long haul.

Looking back at that last growler review, it appears that I haven't been there since September. That's just plain wrong. I've been meaning to return, believe me, but something always messes up my plans. The increasing number of entrants in the Lactobac series and talk of an Imperial Stout tempted, and I kept plotting to get out to Central and Lowry Avenues in NorthEast Minneapolis to get my lips around those brews. Meanwhile, I decided to get them back into the rotation of taps at Acadia, contacted the salesrep, and ordered 3 different kegs. That same day, I stopped at a local store and found bottles of the FSB Imperial Stout and the Saison Drei sour farmhouse ale. Passed on those, because they were two of the kegs I'd ordered. I can try 'em when I tap 'em, right? But, something's telling me I should have a bottle or two for cellaring. There were other beers noted on the website that piqued my
interest, and I planned the bus trip Monday night. Why don't I do this more often? One bus took me downtown, I hopped on a #10 and got off it across the street from the brewery, easy as pie.

I pulled up a stool and found my friend Davin manning the taps. He broke the news that LactoBac 10, the one I was most looking forward to had run out a few days ago. Alas. Snooze= lose. I've learned long ago not to whine and wallow, so I strode forward with my drinking and chose a beer that I will
They call this one Tuque. I liked it
so much, I purchased a FSBC toque in
it's honor.
take notes on later, for it was keg #3 that I ordered for Acadia, their winter seasonal, Tuque, a dark saison brewed with juniper berries, a spicy, herbal thing was a joy to drink down. Once I get that keg hooked up, I'll sit down with a pint and say a little more.
Here's Davin, serving up my FSB.

They call this one Stout. 
Next up, I moved on to the FSB Imperial Stout, which gets it's name from the agency that preceded the KGB, as well being the initials for Fair State Brewing. Not your ordinary Barrel-aged Imperial, this one was fermented with a French saison yeast, and aged in 45th Parallel Rye and Wheat whiskey barrels. It was a complex sipper, at 11% ABV, and like the Tuque, I'll do an lengthier review when that keg meets a coupler.

I finished my visit with a pint of the regular stout, called Stout, which I don't recall having at any of my previous visits. It seems there's always the IPA, the Pils, the Vienna Lager, etc., but this one was new for me. 5.5% ABV, 35 IBUs, brewed with oats as well as brown malts, as well as the roasted black malts that you'd expect in a stout, this was a solid, easy-drinking stout that left my palate satisfied. Yet another Fair State beer that I liked from top to bottom. I've yet to be disappointed by these guys.

I had one more order of business, and that was to pick a growler to take home. Pomp le Moose, the saison IPA,  got the nod this time. I'm going to open it up now....

Highly clouded, straw gold coloring, nice white head that slowly drifts down.

Funky aromatics, nice blend of sour and wheat notes, fresh and lively, and here come the hops. Beautiful citric notes that strike a nice balance, and are never bitter.

On the palate, that's where the bitterness comes in, and it pounces pleasantly, lingering long, staying strong through the finish. All the elements of a classic, slightly sour saison are in place, as well as the cornerstones of a great, bitter IPA. I haven't had a lot of farmhouse IPAs, perhaps I've never had one, but I'm pretty damn happy with this. Good beer, and you can drink it. There's some hop astringency on the palate that some may not like, but I'm not them, and I do dig this easy-drinking hoppy saison. The growler will be gone in no time flat.

Here are the official notes from the brewery: POMP LE MOOSE
6.0%, 40 IBU YEAR-ROUND
This is a farmhouse IPA. Hopped with Meridian and Centennial, it should have strong grapefruit aroma and taste in addition to the classic French Saison yeast profile.


Another hit from these guys, proving that I need to get
out there more often. And this introduces the conundrum: we have too much good beer around here! I went to Fair State on  Monday in order to try the tenth LactoBac, having missed out on the previous 4, and now they're starting a new sour series which debuts tomorrow night. Should I go there, again, or to Sisyphus for the open mic comedy night and the re-release of Isaac the Fax Man, which I bought a growler of, but accidentally drank without taking notes on it? If I visit them, I won't be making another notch in the progress of this project. The quest for great beers from my favorites means I don't get out to others, or is it that the quest to try them all means I don't check in to those favorites? There are more Wooden Souls at Indeed, there's a new IPA at Harriet, an Imperial Red at Northgate and their Anniversary, I still need to return to Lakes and Legends, and what about all those St. Paul (haven't made it to the new Bad Weather once, or Wabasha, or to several of them for the second time) and suburban breweries? I've got to make it out there, while still stepping into the comfort zones, too, to keep my smiling face in front of my favorite beer-tenders.

This is #5 and we're still on Minneapolis brewery taprooms here on the 27th day of January. I may publish #6 later tonight. Could I find #s 7 & 8 in the next 4 days, fulfilling my goal of 2 per week, or 8 a month? Wait, did I say one a week earlier? Nope, it's 8 a month. Yeah, that's it. And on we go.....

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