Spirit Foul IPA by Fair State Brewing Cooperative

James Norton / Heavy Table

Fair State Brewing Cooperative‘s Spirit Foul has an aroma that’s as difficult to quit as this sought-after beer is to find. More than a decade of tasting and describing food has me instinctively sniffing and then deeply inhaling anything that I plan to taste. It’s a holdover from a conversation I had with a cheesemaker while researching The Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin.

“First I feel the cheese,” he said, demonstrating how he would roll a small piece of cheese between his fingers before gently mashing it into a pliable ball. “Then I smell it. By the time I finally put it into my mouth, nine times out of ten, I already know how it’s going to taste.” It was a good line of patter, but he was right. Along with sight, smell, and feel, taste is but one of the ways we have of assessing food.

Back to Spirit Foul. It has a juicy, resinous, piney aroma — not herbal or acrid or air-freshener-y, but rather dank and full and wild.

James Norton / Heavy Table

Spirit Foul is a big 6.3 percent ABV “hazy IPA” brewed in concert with Modern Times Beer of San Diego. And as its addictive odor suggests, it’s mouthwateringly juicy, with a funky pineapple-powered richness that is a refreshing antidote to our current and ongoing bout of cold weather. This is a big IPA that is more than just crushingly astringent hops; it’s a fuller, richer package.

A pack of probably jealous Philistines in the comment section of The Minneapolis Egotist don’t like the packaging, deriding its “hideous” and “nauseating” design. In reality, the package is absolutely stellar. It’s a bold tribute to the palettes and design sensibility of the 1950s, with faded circles of color overlapping and becoming saturated, creating a disorienting, hypnotic, and incredibly distinctive appearance.

If you’re hoping to pick up your own four-pack, Fair State has helpfully built a “Where can you find Spirit Foul?” beer finder for you.

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James Norton

James Norton is editor and co-founder of the Heavy Table. He is also the co-author of Lake Superior Flavors, the co-author of a book about Wisconsin’s master cheesemakers, and a regular on-air contributor to Minnesota Public Radio.

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