News Evan Sallee of Fair State Brewing Cooperative’s Guide To CBC Eating And Drinking

If you’re traveling to the Craft Brewers Conference this year, Northeast Minneapolis should be near the top of your list for areas to visit. Also known as NE and sometimes Nordeast (in local parlance or for those celebrating with the Schell’s Brewery beer of the same name), this neighborhood boasts about a dozen solid breweries, many within a short walk of one another, along with great distilleries and beer bars. Just over the Mississippi River from downtown Minneapolis, Northeast is a bustling commercial and arts district that still possesses much of its original 19th and early 20th century architecture, including grain silos and mills.

Dead in the heart of Northeast is the Fair State Brewing Cooperative (2506 NE Central Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55418), the state’s first co-op brewery. Opened in 2014, Fair State has more than 2,000 members, which allows them to help vote on matters related to the brewery and even design beer recipes. Fair State’s lively tap room is long and shotgun style, with exposed, light colored bricks and the bright, welcoming feel of a neighborhood pub. The brewery’s Northeast taproom houses a small batch innovation brewery while larger brewing operations for distribution are conducted at Fair State’s production facility in nearby St. Paul. During the CBC, Fair State will be offering a range of specialty lagers, including a couple collaboration brews.

One of Fair State’s co-founders is attorney Evan Sallee, who is a recent past president of the Minnesota Brewers Guild. A native of Indiana, Sallee attended college at Carleton in Northfield, Minnesota, before attending law school and then returning to the cities to practice. (For more on Sallee, check out the Beer Edge podcast with him: Sallee walks us through his favorite eating and drinking establishments in the Cities.

Love of Lager

“It’s really just a phenomenal scene here,” Sallee says of the beer landscape in Minneapolis. “We have a ton of really talented producers, and while you can kind of say that about just every market in the country, I think we do some really special things here.” Sallee points to the love of lager beer that many Minnesotan brewers share, dating back to long before recent trends and with the influence of the “multigenerational experts at Schells.” “I think this is something that we were ahead of the curve on,” Sallee says. “And I think you can go to most breweries and find something that’s really respectable.”

Northeast Pride and Pub Crawls

Beyond Fair State, “there’s probably about a baker’s dozen of breweries within a mile or two of each other,” says Sallee of Northeast. “One of the very first breweries that opened up in Northeast, among the newer breweries, that I’d have to recommend is Falling Knife.”
With its 20-barrel brewhouse, Falling Knife (783 Harding St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413) services a 150 person taproom. “The head brewer over there used to work for us and he does a great job,” Sallee says. “They’ve got some really great beers and really great people over there. I can’t recommend enough to go.”

“One of the best craft beer bars in the city is in Northeast and it’s called Grumpy’s,” says Sallee. (2200 4th St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418). “It’s the kind of place where if you go, there will be a few brewers hanging out there,” he says. “It’s a bit of an industry hangout but they always have a great beer list. I can count many, many of my friends who run breweries where Grumpy’s was the first place that bought a keg from them. I can’t recommend that place highly enough.”

Uptown and North Loop

Minneapolis is a city of neighborhoods and one of the most popular is Uptown. A short 7 minute ride from the convention center, Uptown is a lively, engaging neighborhood filled with fun bars and colorful shops near the shores of adjacent Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles. In the area, Sallee recommends Tilt Pinball Bar (113 E 26th St #110, Minneapolis, MN 55404). “They’ve got an amazing variety of pinball games and it’s a really fun place to hang out and has a great beer list too,” he says.

The North Loop and Warehouse Districts just outside of downtown, also teem with breweries and restaurants. Sallee recommends Fulton Brewing (414 N 6th Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401), a longtime fixture and one of the oldest breweries in Minneapolis, and Modist Brewing (505 N 3rd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401). “Fulton makes some really solid beers and they’ve got a great taproom,” he says. “And Modist has a great reputation for doing really unique and interesting things, especially with their grain profiles. All of them are great folks and great stewards of the industry.”

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