Brewery: Surly, Brooklyn Center, Minnesota
Style: Rye Beer
Rating: 4 Stars
This is a first in a series of fall beer dissection. The fall beer season, like the real season, is quite short, and the Oktoberfests and Harvests are quickly giving way to Winter Ales and Holiday brews. I initially thought I'd combine them all into one mega-posting in a sort of report card style. I gave grades and everything. However, the practicality of that quickly evaporated when I realized who was at the computer controlls. I'll do them one at a time. Anyway, about the beer.
A very Surly take on an Oktoberfest. Really, there isn't much of a link between this beer and any other Oktoberfest I've tried. From the cracking of the can, it smells like a Surly--wild hops, and this one's got a spicy rye scent with a bit more malty backbone than the other lighter Surly options.
So how to describe this beer to someone unfamiliar with the Surly scent without using beer jargon. Well, I guess that's something I'll have to work on. Actually, I don't really even know what jargon I'd use here, other than restating that I wouldn't mistake the instant hoppiness for any other brewer. It's certainly not a deep, heavy beer you might associate with fall. It pours a deep orange-red with a obvious presence of carbonation. You don't see a glass of this and think you're in for a throat-coating. You know it's going down less sticky than some of its fall counterparts.
I guess I can admit this; I would have no idea this was considered a rye beer without doing some recon work. Surly is sneaky--they mess around with established styles, but dance far off the floor. This is not an Oktoberfest, and any message board-poster who says it's "a nice and interesting take on the style" is just lying. (I realize I said precisely that just two paragraphs ago. I'm trying to cut back on message board reading.) It smells, tastes and fills your stomach not like a fall beer, but like a summer poolside one. I'm not sure Surly can do it any other way other than to escalate to a fully-fledged stout. I can't complain, because it's that Surly smell I love. Thinking about the smell makes me want one.