Surly 16GritJanuary 23rd, 2009 beckel
There may not be justice in this world, but at least there is beer. Today I have decided it would be appropriate to tap into my fifth and last growler of Surly’s commemorative 16Grit and share my thoughts with you. Surly brewed this beer to commemorate its dedicated fans’ last opportunity to purchase growlers from their brewery in 2008 because our wonderful state of Minnesota has some silly liquor laws. One being an arbitrary limit of less than 3500 barrels of production to be allowed a permit to off-sell growlers and alcoholic products in other forms. Cheers to Surly for supporting their fans and coming up with something creative to share with them in a troubling time. Hopefully we can work on getting the laws changed before we miss out on too many Surlyfests and Darkness Days. This ale pours a lovely bright reddish amber color that is completely transparent [Edit: though the last glass out of the growler had lots of sediment and was completely opaque and more muddy in color. I didn’t think to give the growler a gentle mixing though I should have. Regardless after helping my friend finish his last growler of 16Grit off last night I can say the color is traditionally darker and more opaque, but the flavors are pretty much the same, just a bit more on the bitter characters I remember from my earlier samplings] Head was about two fingers and cream in color dissipating after about five minutes. Aroma is marvelous and noticeable as soon as you pop the cap. The intense hops produce an array of scents from sweet cherry to wonderfully floral bitterness, alcohol isn’t completely hidden but is not overpowering. Caramel sweetness from the malt is also noticed in the nose, very nicely balanced. I simply want to eat it up. Perhaps its because this brew has been in my fridge for almost a month but the floral and fruity notes seem to be a bit more pungent in this growler. Flavor is intense but well balanced. Citrus and floral hops are noticed first with some grapefruit flavors similar to Surly Furious presumably from Cascade hops. Then sweeps in the bitter wave across your palate which is quite dominate but none the less subdued reasonably by the sweet malt flavors that finish this ale. The body is medium and the mouthfeel is a bit on the sticky side with someÂ bitter residue but still very drinkable and reasonably smooth. Previous times sampling this ale I feel like the bitter characters were more intense and the malt less sugary but this time around it really reminds me of candy, very hoppy flavorful candy. Though this ale rocks in at 9% ABV the combination of hop bitterness, malty sugars and even the floral hints completely hide this. This is certainly one heck of a Imperial India Pale Ale and not for the faint of heart, though I must add my mother enjoyed it. You will not be able to acquire any of this ale currently but I hope Surly decides to brew itÂ again or at least continue to experiment with Imperial Ales and share them with me. If you have the opportunity, give it a shot and ride your bike.