If you haven’t heard about The Surly Brewing Company, odds are you live either in out state Minnesota or further away and aren’t a hipster willing to buy a 4 pack – 16 ounce cans for $12. They have 4 types of beers that are brewed year round which consist of Furious, Coffee Bender, Bender, and CynicAle which all tend to be on the “Bitey” side of beers. Like many Twin Cities craft brewers they also have many seasonal and specialty beers that are available at different times of the year or the one time they made it.
The brewery is located in Brooklyn Center if you aren’t familiar it’s just north of north Minneapolis. The actual building is hidden very well in an industrial part that requires having a certain amount of confidence in your map/GPS to lead you to the right location.
The Brewery Tour
Arriving to the tour, you can take notice to how the building like most other Twin Cities breweries is a repurposed building that wasn’t designed as a brewery let along to accompany tours having a small parking lot. There was various brewing equipment and and signs around the building and the parking lot to indicate that you had come to the right place. Also like most other tours, they require that you bring a food shelf item and a valid ID other than that it is free.
After going through the mandatory ID check at the door you are given 5 beer tokens and an informational printout on the beers that they brew. There is probably 20-30 minutes of beer tasting time before the actual tour starts which is a relatively short time to drink 5 – 6 ounce glasses of their beers. If you read the hand thoroughly or listen to the bartenders before the tour starts you realize you can get beer during the entire tour and didn’t need to cram them all in while waiting for the tour to start.
The tour was divided up into two parts which consisted of the history of Surly Brewing and then onto the second part of how they actually brew their beer. The tour guide was a contract employee who seemed to know a lot of information about specific things, but had very little information i.e. When asked about who does Surly’s Artwork, he replied, “We have a bunch of artists we work with, and we have an artist that does the cans too.” He did offer plenty of details about how the actual company was started and about the owner and his trials and tribulations in the brewing industry. The Parents were quite impressed with the “American Dream” aspect of the first part of the tour from starting out being a small business and graduating to the level the company is currently at.
For the second part of the tour which was explaining the actual brewing process at Surly was probably the least appealing to me for a few reasons: The building and the equipment all seems to be laid out to high production modern day standards in an otherwise empty warehouse, and they don’t have the “trying to make it” feel that other smaller breweries tend to give off.
I am not going to cover all the details of the brewery tour, but we ended up leaving near the 2 hour mark due to seeing many brewery tours before and not wanting to hear why “brewing in cans is better than brewing in bottles”. If I want to be lied too, I wouldn’t be on a tour.
Meaning: If you are invited to go, I probably would but for the hassle there are better breweries to see in town.
Have you been on the Surly Brewery Tour and/or any other local brewery tours that you could compare my experience to? Do you prefer beers that have more bite or do you prefer mellower smoother brews? I’d like to hear your thoughts on the subject.
Also…. No green beer.