In Cahoots with Mikey and Niko: Episode Two – The Brew Day

A behind-the-scenes look at the Fulton + Fair State collaboration beer

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Fair State’s Niko Tonks (left) and Fulton’s Mikey Salo brew their collaboration beer for the 2nd Annual In Cahoots! A Collaboration of Craft // Photo by Ellen Burkhardt

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July 8, 11:30am, Fair State Brewing Cooperative

A pallet of white-and-red bags sits in the sun outside the back entrance to Fair State Brewing Cooperative. Filled with 50 pounds each of German malts—pale wheat and Bohemian pilsner—the bags indicate one thing: Brew day has arrived.

About a month after nailing down the details for their In Cahoots! collaboration beer—a kettle-soured wheat beer dry-hopped with rhubarb and Nelson Sauvin hops—Mikey Salo and Niko Tonks are ready to put their recipe to work.

As Fair State’s head brewer, this is Niko’s domain and he climbs the brewhouse stairs to take the helm at the kettle. Mikey lugs the malt bags up the stairs as Niko pours in bag after bag, stirring the steaming mash with his bright-yellow paddle. The humid July air thickens with the aroma of fresh grain as the temperature within the brewery slowly climbs higher and higher. The mash becomes denser as the hundreds of pounds of malt combine to create one giant, soupy mixture.

Phase one for the Fulton/Fair State signature brew is over in a few minutes. The beer will go through many more steps leading up to its big debut on Sunday, August 2. But for now, on this hot July day, the duo’s work is done.

For more on the Fulton + Fair State collaboration, see Episode One.

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About Ellen Burkhardt

Ellen Burkhardt is a freelance writer. When she's not writing, editing, or interviewing, chances are she's on the road seeking out good food, drink, and fodder for her next story.

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