Monday, December 29, 2008

Beers of the Year: 3. Surly Furious

Brewery: Surly, Brooklyn Center, Minnesota

Style: India Pale Ale

ABV: 6%

Rating: 5 stars

Hard to knock anything about this beer. This one really put Surly on the map a couple years back, when it was hard to find. Now that it's available at most decent liquor stores and on tap in many bars, I feel like sometimes I take for granted just how good it is.

The color, for one, is unsurpassed. A delicious deep amber; close to red but with that rusty orange shine that almost certainly means good things are to come. Really nice head, and one that clings and stays as the glass empties. And of course, it has that Surly dry-hopped smell.

The brewers say that the key to this beer is the Golden Promise malt, a delicately cared-for barley from Scotland that gives this beer such intense hops. I guess I can't disagree there. The hops come from somewhere anyway.

Furious has the perfect blend of bright citrus burst, dry sticky mouthfeel and bitter pine swallow. There isn't any residual spoon left behind here. It's smooth. This in fact may be my favorite beer, but its availability taints its brilliance just slightly. For the price, though, it can't be beat. If I was dropped in a store with all the beer in the world and told I could spend my last $10 on any one six-pack (or four-pack in this case), I would immediately go for Surly Furious.

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