Surly Brewing Company sent us samples of its helles lager, pale ale and hybrid IPA.
Can-centric Surly Brewing Company
of Minneapolis, MN, has announced plans to enter the Colorado market. Last week, we received pint cans of three different Surly beers in the mail for sampling and, per my stated "review any booze that shows up in the mail" policy, we gave them a shot.
The first, Hell lager, is a 5 percent ABV, unfiltered Munich-style helles lager, or light lager. To be clear, that's light in color, not body. Finishing clean with that crisp quality lager-yeast imparts, this one still carries some malt sweetness, and it's certainly on the more substantial side of golden-colored lagers I've sampled. Fortunately, there's a significant noble hop bitterness that balances reins it in and makes for a beer that, while not conforming to a "sexy" style, certainly scores a few beer-nerd points and shows off technical chops.
The Xtra-Citra pale ale, 4.5 percent ABV, erupts with a nose of sweet citrus fruit, all tangerine and candied orange. The beer itself, crystal-clear with some light caramel notes, serves primarily to accentuate that delicate bouquet, sipping like a glass of summer. It's bitter, but not overly so for the style, landing between Bristol Brewing Company's Red Rocket and Oskar Blues' Dale's Pale Ale.
Furious IPA clocks in at 6.7 percent ABV. The can hypes its darker-than-common grain bill, suggesting it's some hybrid with a red or amber ale. Either way, the roasty malt flavor serves to mellow the hop bitterness and the very slight booziness. There's not a huge hop aroma, but we smell a ruddiness and sweetness. Maybe it won't please as a hop-forward IPA, but it's a fine ale that feels appropriate for a chilly autumn day.
According to a press release from Surly they've paired with beer and spirits distributor Elite Brands, which also distributes Boulder's Redstone Meadery; San Diego, California's Green Flash Brewing Co. and many others. Expect to see it on shelves starting the week of Oct. 30.