Surly's former head brewer just joined Fair State Brewing Cooperative

Jerrod Johnson (left) has a pretty formidable -- you could say furious -- brewing pedigree.

Jerrod Johnson (left) has a pretty formidable -- you could say furious -- brewing pedigree. Fair State

"When Fair State opened a second production facility in St. Paul in late 2016, you knew they were poised to take over the local beer scene," we wrote earlier this year in naming the brewery the Twin Cities' best. 

That takeover is ongoing: Earlier this week, the Minneapolis-based cooperative brewery announced that its newest hire is none other than Jerrod Johnson, formerly co-head brewer over at Surly Brewing Company. (Ever heard of it?)

Johnson's coming on board as Fair State's director of brewing operations after a long, long tenure at Surly -- he was the brewery's sixth employee, and was its lead brewer for years before ascending to the head brewer role when co-founding brewmaster Todd Haug left in 2016. Johnson was there for the switch from Brooklyn Center to the Minneapolis Destination Brewery, though you may not have seen him at Malcolm Ave.: He's been running the show at Surly's original B.C. location since the move.

So, yeah. Kind of a big hire.

Earlier this year, Fair State brought on a new lead brewer in Joe Wells, a job head brewer Niko Tonks called one of the "most interesting, varied, and important jobs in the whole brewery." And it sounds like this miiiight not be the end of their growth?

“To me, this is a watershed moment in Fair State history,” Tonks said in a press release​. “I think it puts more people in the right places, to make the right decisions, to spur further growth and inventiveness not only in terms of barrels produced, but in the chances we can take with our beers. My hope is that 2019 will be the best year in our short history, and I know that Jerrod will be an integral part of making that happen.”

Johnson says he's stoked about the switch to Fair State for a bunch of reasons: The beer, obviously, but also the very cool folks who keep that place humming and the northeast Minneapolis neighborhood it calls home.

"Also, Roselle is one of my wife’s favorite beers, so she’s on board," he adds. (Your wife and I have that in common, Jerrod.) "Ultimately, Fair State makes great beer and I hope to help them continue to do so.”