Local beer is becoming the main attraction it deserves to be at state fairs, with megabeer being pushed into the shadows. The switch makes sense: Fairs have always been a celebration of local agriculture and made-in-the-state products. “Agriculture is who we are; we saw the emerging craft beer industry as an extension of that agriculture,” says Dennis Larson, who handles the food and beverage vendors for the Minnesota State Fair. Six years ago, his fair invited the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild to showcase a few brewers. The first year, there were about 24 breweries pouring 60 beers. This year 70 breweries will pour more than 200 made-in-Minnesota brews.
Some fairs are now offering so many local ales and lagers that they rival local beer festivals. Here are seven of the best in the nation.