2015 BEER DISCOVERY TOUR: Surly Brewing Company, Minneapolis, MN (July 7th, Brewery Stop #32) (recovered post) The 32nd brewery visited during our cross-country beer discovery tour (click to read about the whole trip) and second in Minneapolis was the Surly Brewing. After spending an hour or so at Fulton Brewing in downtown, we decided on driving out to Surly next. We had only heard of Surly through reputation, be it that they do distrubute around the mid-west and east coast and have a pretty large production as compared to smaller ‘micro’ breweries.
They are located out in an industrial park, sort of off the beaten path. You need to use navigation or have a good map to find them. When we pulled up, we found that they have ample parking and lots of warehouses and a humongous production facility. We figured they would be busy, but we had to park almost a full block away they were so busy. The parking lot(s) are really big. After walking up, we realized they were a bit more ‘corporate’ than we anticipated, in that it looks super slick, overproduced, and expensive when you go inside. They have lots of artwork up along the walls, a really large gift shop with their branding on just about anything you can imagine.
We spent a little time looking around the shop, Devin tried a few things on, I bought a few stickers and a hat for the collection, and then we headed back towards the bar/restaurant where Gary was supposed to have gotten us a table. We only wanted to try some beers, but quickly discovered there was no place to sit or stand as it was so busy there was over an hour wait for a table. We found some of their production is visible from the hallway and main restaurant area, which was pretty cool as shown in the pictures. They had a gigantic kettle that sort of looked like a spaceship behind glass.
After walking through, and belly-ing up to the bar, we asked for some samples as they didn’t offer ‘tasters’. Again, we were frustrated by the fact that even with 20 different beers available, we could only get 1 ‘sample’ at a time. With the amount of noise, and how busy they were, the bartenders didn’t really give us must attention, which was sad. We basically had to yell at him to get him to come over and take our order. It seems that the only way you can get more than one ‘sample’ at a time is for each person in your group to ask for something different then repeat it over and over. This wasn’t flying with us.
We ended up just ordering one ‘sample’ each and then ordered a pint. We didn’t really feel that the bartender wanted us to ask questions since they were running around like chickens with their heads cut off they were so busy pouring beers for orders. Sort of a shame, I wish we could have learned a bit more about them, and perhaps tried a few more beers since they had so many on draft. Even with the ‘samples’ and beers we ordered, the vibe was super busy and sort of like a meat market.
The beers we ordered are reviewed below. I didn’t have a chance to take notes with the ‘samples’ we got as there was barely enough for one person to get any sort of aromatic or true flavor from. Overall I’d say if you’re in Minneapolis, give them a try if you have the time and can go back a few times to find something good. Regarding the beers, the three we tried were decent, the one pictured is Schadenfreude, a smooth, clean dunkles.
Surly Brewing Co. • Munich Dunkel Lager • IBU: N/A • ABV: 5% • SRM: 28 • PLATO: 13º
MALT: German Munich, Vienna, Caramunich, Carafa
YEAST: German Lager
Darker amber clear draft with a small 1/4″ off-white head that dropped quickly, little to no lacing. The aromatics are sweet breads, toffee and wood. The front to mid mouth lends nicely to the oak it was aged on with some earthy undertones, solid chewy mouthfeel, and rounded malts. The hops are quite secondary on this one. Sweet lingering aftertaste of chewy caramel.
|1349 Pale Ale
Surly Brewing Co. • American Pale Ale • IBU: N/A • ABV: 6.66% • SRM: 18 • PLATO: 14.5º
MALT: 2-row base malt, Weyermann Acidulated
YEAST: English Ale
Slight hazy medium orange hue with a large bubbly head and no lacing or retention. The nose is all grapefruit pith and hints of pine. The front to mid mouth expresses tons of dried grapefruit peels and some acidic pine resin hits. The mouthfeel is thinner with some long-running bitterness on the back. Not a beginner beer.
Surly Brewing Co. • American Adjunct Lager • IBU: N/A • ABV: 6% • SRM: 3 • PLATO: 13º
MALT: CMC Pils malt, Acidulated malt, Flaked Corn
HOPS: Warrior, Willamette
YEAST: German Lager
Clear bright yellow draft with a solid foamy white head with good retention and some spidery lacing. The aromatics have hints of dried cereal and some floral hop notes. The front mouth is crisp and sharp with some dried hop cones and resin that’s balanced with a decent amount of cereal grains and crackery thin malts. There are some hints of spice on the mid to back mouth. The mouthfeel is mild with a watery/thin approach.