Bender is like your best friend

For me, the bottom line is that I will always choose a Furious over a Bender. Not that the two are really even in direct competition, they’re different styles of beer. It’s just that I love the extreme bite of a Furious so much. So it’s hard to pass that by and opt for a Bender. Of course if I were going to be drinking one after the other, Bender would be a much better companion. But typically when I have Surly it’s that I’m splurging on a 4 pack, and I want to savor them, so I’m only gonna drink one at a time anyway.

Here’s a good analogy I just thought of (mornings happen to be my most creative time): Bender is like your best friend. You can go over to his house and play war, video games, go skateboarding, etc, all day long. He’s awesome. But he’s got an even awesome-er older brother. When the older brother is around he’s kind of a dick to your best friend, but he’s just so damn cool, that you’ll join in and be a dick to your best friend, just so that Furious, I mean the older brother, thinks you’re cool.

Bender, but don’t break ‘er

I absolutely love everything about Bender.  The look, flavor, aroma-all of it.  Deceptively smooth and expectedly delicious.  It is a bastard child of a brown ale and a porter, with a little more hops than either bring to the table alone.  I’d constantly keep this in the fridge if the price was a little bit easier on the pocket.  Go on a bender with Bender and your wallet will certainly feel it too.  But as the old adage goes, you get what you pay for.  A premium price for a premium beer.  Don’t let imminent economic meltdown make you drink crap beer, though.  I think it was the Bible that stated, “Man cannot live on crappy beer alone.” Preach. 

bigness

Had it at the Muddy Pig – where the glassware always smells a little like their detergent.  Hey at least it’s clean! 

Everything seems to be in balance with this one.  It’s easy to drink and packs a punch; a huge beer in palatable form.  I can’t think of anything bad about my Darkness experience.  I may have expected a more extreme beer from Surly, but was even more pleased to get a great beer that was good all-around.   

best of the fest

I could Google it, but that just kills a conversation.  What’s the significance of the blue and white checkered pattern with Oktoberfest?  The Surly can just looks like a picnic tablecloth, but I became interested when I saw the pattern on a Schell’s Oktoberfest label.  Anybody?

 And for the record, this one is great.  Having this beer at this time of year makes me proud to be fractionally German. 

The hops define this beer

The extra hoppiness contributes wonderfully to the overall flavor character of this beer.  It has the look and initial similarities to the other Oktoberfest beers, but the extra hop kick puts Surlyfest miles ahead of the competition, at least in my book.  I felt like the aroma was a little like an old dishrag, leaving me thinking that I might not have washed my beer glasses properly, but, no, it was the beer.  That would be my only dislike about this beer.  Otherwise, the Surly boys have brewed up another winner.  The can design is a beautiful touch as well. 

Bier for a stein!

I was a little worried I wouldn’t find any Surlyfest left on the shelf, but fortunately I was able to snag a four pack from the last case at Surdyks earlier this week. I’ve commented before on beer packaging and specifically how much I like Surly’s can designs. Surlyfest does not dissapoint, with it’s checkered blue background and character with a German hat. Probably my favorite detail is that the typical “Beer for a glass, from a can.” statement has changed to “Bier for a stein, from a can.” Continue reading Bier for a stein!

I’m not Bitter

I’m not bitter about picking up this beer, but I am a little disappointed that I didn’t like it.  The Surly guys have the Midas touch when it comes to beer, yet I can’t really see myself ever buying the Bitter Brewer again.  The aroma and aftertaste was a bit too floral for my liking.  Sure, it’s got a clean crisp intial taste, but something about it just doesn’t turn my crank. 

Paddington Beer

Well, the can says it has hints of marmalade so this must be Paddington Bear’s favorite beer.  Why not couple alcoholism with an already odd addiction to an orange jelly?  He’s a bear in a raincoat!  Cute!

 The beer did have two distinct flavors:  the hop blast at the beginning followed by the flowery/fruityness.  It could pass as a marmalade flavor, I think.  Definitely a good summer beer. 

I can relate

Surly Bitter Brew is crisp and refreshing. I drank mine on a cold and rainy evening, and it was enjoyable, but I think it would be even better sitting outside in the hot sun. And by the beer being better I mean life would be better if it wasn’t raining every stupid day of the week. Anyway, it was comforting to spend some time with Surly Bitter Brew, especially since the can is covered with angry drawings, it made me feel like I wasn’t alone. The best part was that I finished my glass, took the dog for a walk, came back and realized I still had a good 4 ounces of beer left in the can!

2 much for me!

Sorry Surly, but not a fan. Most people that I have talked to about this seem to either love or hate this one.  I was sadly one of the haters.  I was really excited to try a cranberry beer and loved the idea of a local bog, but…alas….I will stay clear of this cranberry beer in my future.  Not sure how to even describe my thought process when sipping this bev: too tart, too strong, and too much for me.

Soooo good

Ok I tried this at Winterfest last weekend. It was good, but I thought I would probably pass on it the next time around. Then my wife and I had dinner at Cafe 28 tonight (owned by Linda Haug, wife of Surly head brewer Todd), and I thought, well I better give it a second shot, when I hadn’t had 20 beers already.

And I’m so glad I did. It had some of the same hop characteristics as Darkness, of course reduced by the cranberries and dark malts. Some have said its a one-and-your-done beer, but I could easily have had two or three. This is one of my favorite Surly beers. I can’t wait to pick up one of the bottles and throw it in my basement for a year or two.

Two of 2 is one too many

I tried Surly 2 in small sample size at Winterfest last friday towards the end of the night. I was getting pretty toasted so the different beers were beginning to merge into one glorious happy generic beer. Then Surly 2 came through and it was like someone stabbed a straw through my throat and began pouring cranberry-flavored cough syrup in. I quickly asked for a tea-bagged furious.

Then on Monday Rebekah and I met up with Erin, Ben, and Josh at the Blue Nile for an official sampling. This time I enjoyed it. I think partly because I didn’t have a bunch of other beers fresh on my tongue, but also because I was able to get past the initial shock of flavor. I ended up finishing Erin’s as well, and I’d say two of 2 is 1 too many.

abcdefg…n

A is for Al, who served me Surly Two at Blue Nile this evening. A pleasant fellow, to be sure.

B is for Better, which Two got as it warmed. It’s also for Body, of which Two has plenty. Oh, and Balance, which it has, too.

C is for Cranberry, which was definitely present, but not overpowering.

D is for Dessert, which is when I’d like to have another sometime.

E is for Evil, which is what I thought of the first sip. I had just brushed my teeth.

F is for Finish- tart and still roasty. Favorable.

G is for Good God, when will this end?

N is for Now.

Think “dessert beer”… enjoy in patient moderation.

“Surly, two years old/ not ev’ryone’s cup of tea / as this beer will prove.” Haiku #4, you’re welcome. I had the first taste of this when I tapped it on the 23rd of January, (at the Blue Nile) and I sipped it and raised my glass and smiled. The bar was surrounded by throngs of Surly fans, and I didn’t want to spoil their enthusiasm. It didn’t win me over with the first slip down my lips, unlike Surly Furious or Darkness.

(I’ve heard this from other folks since then, that the first sip is not the best.) By night’s end, though, when I got a chance to relax and take my time, I was won over. Deep black, with crimson tinges, cocoa-tan head, with purple tints. Fruity nose, matched with roasted malts. Lightly sweet, with a side order of tart.Taste: there’s the tannins. I heard Todd Haug talk about why cranberries have that tannin feel we know from red wine, but I forgot most of what he said. Damn. Something in the bogs, I guess. There’s a flash of sweet, met with a smack of tart, a fun little jitterbug on the palate, followed by some black and chocolate malt flavors. A very unusual brew, closest I’ve encountered has been Bell’s Cherry Stout…never heard of one done with cranberries. It’s probably been done, heck, just about everything’s been done with fruit and beer by now, but I haven’t had it, yet. More I drink, more I like, not too sweet, not too dark, not too rich, not too tart…an intriguing blend, very fresh and lively, a labor of love to commemorate two fun years of great beer. I can certainly see how opinions here will divide on this one, and the extreme flavors, and high alcohol will surely temper enthusiasm. It’s not a session brew, and maybe would be best enjoyed as a dessert brew. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with “one and you’re done”…although I could go for another. But, just one more. So, don’t knock this for what it’s not. You can only enjoy it for what it is.

In the minority?

Well, by the looks of the reviews so far I might be in the minority on this beer. My wife and I stopped in at the Happy Gnome for lunch and had a couple of glasses.  When I was reading about the beer beforehand I had been thinking “cranberries? That sounds awful.”  But I couldn’t have been more wrong, this is an outstanding beer!! Because of the tartness it reminded me of something from Belgium.  Not overly sweet, very, very good!!

Surly Two

I had the Surly Two at the January 23rd tapping at the Blue Nile and enjoyed every sip of the first one. It was made with loads of cranberries so that was the dominant smell. Not a lot of hops aroma, but there rarely is in a fruit beer like this. I ordered a second one but I wish I wouldn’t have. Just one was perfect, and would have gone great with the right food (pork), but a second glass was just too much.

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

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.

Furiously strong

Pow. I like hoppy beers, don’t get me wrong, but Furious is pretty strong. It is definitely on the more bitter side of beers, but there were some nice hints of citrus. I also definitely tasted the pine taste that Surly boasts of it having. For some reason this beer always reminds me of summer.

What’s the alcohol content in this beer? It’s strong in more ways than one!

damned ellipses

used to hate American hops… still think they’re overused, and still really prefer European hops, but as they say- when in Rome… have come around to grapefruity beer in the last couple years… also in the last couple years, don’t wear as much vintage clothing…

prefer to drink this beer in the summer… drank a lot last summer… nearly went broke…

lined up a Furious and a Bender side-by-side last Wednesday evening… more on that later, I’m sure… did not do well at trivia that night, but it’s not Surly’s fault… maybe…

shot through the tongue, you give hops a good name

I love everything about this beer.  I love to take a can out of the fish killing rings (i do cut them up).  I love the “crack” sound.  I love first smelling the beer out of the can, then pouring it into a glass and smelling it more.  I keep smelling it until my tongue wants in on it.  The furious is so pretty in its glass, all amber and hazy, reminds me of this hippie chick…..    What can i say, if you dont enjoy intense hop flavor you probably wont like this.  If you see the Furious on cask, give it a try.  Even some hop-haters (joking, dont get so serious) like this beer on cask.  I really like this on cask and tea-bagged!

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!