I think he’s a teddy bear…

…despite the long hair and the affinity for Satan’s music, I think Surly brewer Todd Haug is a softie and the “bitter” thing is just a front. I have a sinking suspicion that Todd was more bitter in the 80s while playing in the Twin Cities’ metal band, Powermad. But that’s just me. Of course he ain’t exactly emo, either.

On to the beer… Slightly toasty and earthy with some spiciness from the hops – this comes through in both the flavor and aroma. Pretty nice, though not exactly what you’d expect from an English Bitter (and that’s fine… no one is pretending that this is such a beer). Very drinkable. I threw three 4-packs of this beer in my messenger bag when my neighborhood liquor store started carrying it and either the dog started drinking beer or Dawn and I consumed the beer at a furious pace. Yum. Glad to see this in cans this year.

Sessionable English ale, from Duluth

Haven’t had one of these in a while. Let’s crack a crown and jump right in… Cloudy coppery color, slim off -white head…nice…Aromatic bitterness greets the nose…classic English-style hopping. Green apple tinge to it, with a bit of the pine thing from American hops, mixed with  caramel malt.Tastin’ it…bitter hop smack on the palate, then the apple and a bit of butterscotch,…bitterness reigns, though isn’t overpowering, just right for an English style pale ale. I’m no expert, I can’t say if it’s Fuggles or East Kent Goldings, I just know it tastes British, and fits right in for the style.Though I favor American style pale ales and IPAs these days, I can drink this down without a problem. Just enough hops and flavor to keep my tastebuds occupied.  Haiku #9 (for week 10)…”Lake Superior/ Northern-most of the Great Lakes/ not bad beer, either.” 

I drink your pilsner! I drink it up!

In a Flat Earth pint glass (too lazy to search the cabinet for a proper pilsner glass), it’s a clear golden color, lovely white head, starts proud and slips down in size. Flowery aroma, and the hops are happening, clean and level headed.Drinking it…smooth, even, mild, and watery. Tidy bitter smack from the Hallertau hops right up, and then they slide back and merge with the water and disappear down the throat without a thought. Hops return with each sip and enjoy a nice visit on the palate each time. Light bodied, easy drinking, and right on for style. Almost perfect. And I’m no huge fan of lagers or pilsners, but this suits just fine. Haiku #7:  Czech town of Plzn / birthplace of clear, golden beer / look what you started!

Please follow dosage instructions.

 The back of the staggering, Strongbow-esque, Surly Furious can asks this query, “A tempest on the tongue, or a moment of pure hop bliss?” Where doth this scribe come from? After reading this and taking a few swigs of the beer I felt my review was written for me.

That is, at first tongue splash, understatedly I am unequivocally unimpressed. But after imbibing and cocking my head to contemplate, I reconsidered. A subtle yet striking flavor. I definitely couldn’t drink the whole four-pack, which they are sold in, better yet finish off two. Though, it’s too solid and strong a brew to be downed with such frivolity and not recommended.

All in all, it’s a beer that catches its drinkers off-guard, after they’ve already made their own presumptions. It is after a good half-can that like a true tempest with all its furiousness comes out of the green skies and makes you realize just how strong a force of nature it really is. 

Okay, yeah, hops. Seriously. Hops.

Only because I’ve homebrewed do I really know what hops smell like (probably because nobody’s ever pointed it out to me while drinking a beer). Hops smell like green. Grassy, earthy (but not like dirt), and a little sweet. Sniffing a can of Surly Furious is exactly like cutting open a package of hops and taking a big whiff. A sweet smell that turns into a sour taste on the tongue, and back to that sweet green on the aromatic finish (and upon burping). I needed a water chaser.

It’s definitely flavorful, just not my kind of flavor, so it gets a higher score than if I thought it was just bad.

Heavy on the Hype, I mean Hop

Don’t get me wrong, I love Surly, and I really enjoyed my can of Furious, but there’s something going on here. Something more than just the beer. Let me take a minute to throw out a few ideas on what’s gotten everyone so hyped up about Surly. Continue reading Heavy on the Hype, I mean Hop

…and don’t call me Surly

This beer pours a purdy ruby/copper color with a a nice think tan head. Lots of citrus in the nose, with some notes of resin-y pine and an aroma I can only describe as Hawaiian Punch-like that’s all in the Simcoe hops. I loves me teh Simcoes! A deeper sniff (or six) pulls out some nice, caramel malts. I can totally understand if people don’t catch this because this is a super hoppy beer throughout… huge bittering hops, huge flavor hops and huge hop aroma. Yup. More caramel sweetness and lots of citrus come through in the flavor. Yum!

It’s funny… two years ago when they debuted this beer at Winterfest, I couldn’t get over the hops… now I sit here on my couch and can’t help but notice the malt sweetness. In any case, a nice, local hoppy HOPPY beer. Good in the can, better on tap, best in a pin or firkin.

Surly – Furious in a can not a tap

I have had this one on tap at my favorite pub a couple of times. This time I tried it in the can. It can stay in the can. It is much better on tap. I am sure that everyone is surprised by that statement. I expected hops from my previous taps. Somehow the can seems to make it even more hoppy and bitter. I will have to switch to a nice porter to cleanse the palate.

Crack for the Hop Head

Hops, hops, hops, hops, hops/ bed of Golden Promise malt/you are perfection…there ’tis, #3 in the haiku series, enjoy!Fresh off the tap. Cloudy and red, big head, leaving lace…lovely to look at, delightful to smell. Grapefruit, pine, pithy citrus, and loads of other tropical fruits, a bit of mango, too, I swear. Blissful bitterness!Drink up! A blast of beautiful hoppy flavor, mixed with lush Scottish malt, full of satisfying flavor for any hophead. Not one? Not for you!It’s a lip-purser, and a mouth puckerer, a palate smacker, a bitch slapper! Each swallow and sip brings it back. The hops slip under the tongue, lay on the palate, and hang around. Some don’t like that, some compare it to “aspirin”…I think it’s tingly tasty ‘tantastic!  If you hunger for the flavor of hops, this is your candy, your mistress, your heroin, your hustler. The malt is here in plentitude, too, and eventually reveals a hint of chocolate, as well. I’ve been loving this for two years now, and await a lifetime of more such love!Looking forward to the rest of your thoughts, but take it easy on the can copy…I wrote that stuff! Will you perceive it as a tempest on your tongue, or…will you love it? You know I do!