By Joseph Mahowald and Kyle Olson
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We turn our attention this week to a leader in the Minnesotan brewery scene. Surly Brewing Company is one of the largest breweries in the Twin Cities and offers a variety of beers with fun names such as Thanks Obama, Todd the Axe Man, Hell and CynicAle.
We are sampling the Surly Furious, their American Style IPA. Our feelings are anything but angry when drinking this beer, and we highly recommend the Surly experience.
Surly began like most small breweries do, with a dream. In 2004, owner Omar Ansari was inspired by reading home brewing magazines and took a leap of faith. He sold the family abrasives business and hired brewer Todd Haug and the two of them transformed the business to a brewery operation.
In December 2005, the first batch of beer was brewed and in February 2006 Surly was sold for the first time. The brand ascended quickly and BeerAdvocate heralded Surly the “Best Brewery in America.”
Apart from brewing, Surly has been influential in the politics of beer as well. In an effort to build their new Destination Brewery, Surly had to battle pre-existing Minnesota state law that prohibited breweries from selling pints of beer on site.
With lobbying efforts and an effective social media outreach movement, Surly was able to forever turn the tides of breweries in Minnesota. The brewery was impactful in the passing of the “Surly Bill” in May 2011.
The implications of this law are that breweries who brew less than 250,000 barrels of beer a year are allowed to open a taproom and sell pints of beers on site.
The “Surly Bill” allowed Surly to open their expansive taproom in 2014 and numerous breweries across the state have followed suit and now taprooms are almost commonplace.
Surly has an iconic brewery located in the Prospect Park neighborhood of Minneapolis near TCF Stadium. The large tap-room and brewery has
ample space for hundreds of patrons to gather with friends and co-workers to enjoy their wide selection of brews.
It’s a very modern looking brewery that also has a restaurant that makes visiting this brewery a fun activity for any weekend night. During the
summer they also have a large patio where you can catch a concert while sipping a Furious.
The Surly Furious is one of the brewery’s top selling beers. It is the hoppiest beer we have reviewed, weighing in at 100 IBUs.
We want to be upfront and say this is a hoppy beer but we don’t want to discourage anyone from giving it a try.
When smelled, there are distinct citrus and malty notes, but the malty notes tend to linger on much longer. The first taste picks up flavors of caramel, orange peel and grapefruit. As the flavors begin to diminish, the dry piney taste of northwest hops lingers.
This beer is crisp and refreshing and with its smooth nature it is quite easy to drink for its IBU level.
Breweries from Bad Habit to Summit owe it to Surly for their work in pursuing the taproom aspect of breweries through the “Surly Bill.”
We encourage you to visit Surly to take in the atmosphere and enjoy a pint of one of their unique beers. Please drink responsibly, CSB/SJU.