Overrated! Surly Brewing Company Minneapolis & Brooklyn Center, MN

Surly-logoBY Steve Lonsway

The Stone Arch Brew House brewery team has always been fond of the beers Surly makes and with a few recent trips to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, we were able to get an ample supply. Unfortunately our stock wore thin. Good for us and other beer aficionados, Surly beers can now be found right here is Wisconsin. When this news broke we were quick to call our distributor to land some of these fine brews for our Tap Room (and personal stash as well). The truly hard part was to find the one brand we wanted to write about. We ended up choosing the one we were most unfamiliar with…Overrated! Surly Overrated is a self-proclaimed “Pale gold American (West Coast) IPA with fruity-citrus aromas from generous dry hopping”. Our team used goblets for our Surly sampling experience. Here is what we found:

The beer poured a true golden blond color and produced a golden hue head that consisted primarily of tightly formed CO2 bubbles. Unanimously we noticed a definite haze to an almost cloudy appearance. Typically dry hopped beers will appear hazy which is nothing more than a visual thing, nothing that should steer you away. Some breweries will filter the haze out, but unfortunately it also strips some of the hop character out as well.

The nose (or scent) of this beer screams hops! Floral, citrusy, earthy, musty, grapefruit are all words our team used to describe it. A couple of us thought it was absent of the piney tones that are typical in a West Coast IPA. It was still quite pleasurable however.

As you would expect with a beer like this, our teams notes on the taste/flavor portion of this beer was pretty diverse. I personally noticed a malt forward push with Craig noticing caramel in the flavor. The other guys reported a lack of malt tones. A definite earthy tone came through with Taylor, Brian and Craig all noting a boozy or alcoholic flavor popping in. Very hop forward was the overall consensus. Citrus and floral definitely shines through on the palette and the medium body was just right for the style.

Surly Overrated finishes strong, both in hop character with its bitterness and warming from the presence of alcohol. Taylor commented that it finishes almost like a lemon-lime soda. None-the-less it finishes clean and dry with a slight warming effect.

Surly Brewing got their start in 2004 when an aspiring brewer convinced his parents and wife to convert the family abrasives business into a brewery. In order to be a brewery you need to brew beer and Surly did just that in December, 2005. With the help of heavy metal music and incorrectly operating fermenter controls, the first batch of Surly became reality on December 30th, 2005. Two months later they hit the streets to sell their flagship brew Furious. Furious was a bit ahead of its time and not well received at first by the local bars and restaurants but fortunately they have since come around. Then, good news came in June of 2007 when BeerAdvocate magazine named Surly Brewing the Best Brewery in America which was shortly followed up by more good news that RateBeer named Surly Darkness the best American beer in the world. With such fine accolades on their resume, they inspired to grow to not only handle increased demand, but to have a destination brewery where people can watch the beer being brewed, drink it and enjoy a fine meal as well. Only one problem prevented this dream from coming to fruition – an outdated, Prohibition-era Minnesota law. This law prevented breweries from selling their beer from their location (crazy, isn’t it?). Surly immediately went to work to change that law but soon realized it may be a bigger task then even they could handle. So what did they do? They turned to Surly Nation and encouraged them via social media to contact their legislators to help turn that law into history. On May 24, 2011 the then Minnesota Governor signed the “Surly Bill” into law allowing breweries that produce less than 250,000 barrels of beer annaully to sell their works at their breweries.

Two years later, Surly broke ground on their next adventure…a destination brewery. Finally in December 2014, after a record breaking cold winter and record spring rainfall, Surly opened their doors to an amazing facility that truly is a destination. Brewery, beer hall, restaurant, banquet hall and amazing beer garden await you in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota bordering Minneapolis.

FINAL WORD: Surly Overrated! Is truly overrated…in name only. A great beer, in a great package, by a great brewery. Cheers!

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