Friday, March 28, 2008

Beer of the Week

In homage to my new home, this week's beer comes from a suburb of Minneapolis, courtesy of Surly Brewing Company.

Surly is relatively new to the brewing game, having been on the scene for about two years, but has started with a bang. The young brewery has been featured in Gourmet magazine and was rated the #1 brewery in America by Beeradvocate magazine, quite the praise.

Surly produces two year-round brews, and both are excellent. Furious is a solid, medium bodied, well hopped ale, and Bender is our BOTW.

According to Surly, the Bender is an amalgamation of styles: part porter, part brown ale, part APA. After a few Benders at the bar last night, I decided that Brown Ale is the tag that a beer gets when the brewers don't know what the hell to call it, likewise with Amber Ale.

This brown ale is a little browner than one might expect, pouring an almost black color with a nice off-white head.

One definitely picks up hops in the aroma, but it doesn't slam you in the face, which considering the style, is not a bad thing. There's definitely some oatmeal in the nose, almost like an oatmeal stout. Surly says the oatmeal is for smoothing out the finish, which it does, but it also gives it quite a pleasant smell.

The beer has a nice medium body with almost perfect carbonation. It has a nice defined presence, but you don't have to work to get it down. Its perfect body and 5% ABV make it an outstanding session beer, keeping you coming back for more.

The brew has a solid roasted malt base with the oatmeal really smoothing it out and mingling with the hops at the end of the taste. The beer is complex yet crisp, easy to drink, yet satisfying: a true acrobat in the art of brewing balance.

Surly is only available in the immediate area, so if you're outside of the Twin Cities or Duluth, have someone send you some, or better yet, come to Minneapolis and raise a few pints.

Congrats to Surly Bender as our Beer of the Week.

Links of Interest:

Surly Brewing Company

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