Hazaa! A good excuse to whip out the SurlyFest mug. I was in the neighborhood so I figured I would wander over to the MGM off of Lake Street to explore their new building and see what they had to offer. First off I must say I really dig it. With their move and expansion they now have tons of cooler space along over half of their walls which is about a third full of Craft Beer. Further they have done a much better job organizing all of their Craft Beer offerings onto one large shelf instead of scattered about as it was before. The prices seem to be about the same, most average, a few things a bit over priced but their selection of Craft Brew has unquestionably grown and I am all for that. But on to the important part. Half of the reason I went was hoping, just hoping I might just find some of the newly canned product from our beloved local Surly Brewing out of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. All I can say is Hell yea. It seems Surly did a very limited canning run for their first batch and I am very pleased to have been able to secure some.
The simply named Hell is a Munich Style Helles Lager and keeps to the roots of the style but as always has a little extra Surly goodness. As the owner Omar Ansari writes on the back it’s a Surly beer his German mother actually enjoys. The beer pours a light golden straw hue that is very translucent and produces a few fingers of crisp tight white head that loosen and dissipate relatively quickly after you pour. Smells of sweet Pilsner malt and a gentle lemon citrus note. Tastes of clean Pilsner malt sweetness and has a light bread quality which adds to a nice fuller mouthfeel as well as gentle caramel notes. Subtle citrus hop notes are present to compliment the malt but are not dominate at all, particularly for a Surly brew. Body is light. As many of you know I am not the biggest fan of Lagers, particularly light ones but I would happily drink this beer all night long (as I did during their release at Moto-i) particularly with it’s ~5% ABV. An interesting twist on the style that still stays relatively traditional but like SurlyFest contains a bit more hop and rich malty flavors than one may typically expect from the style. On a side note this years brew seems a bit more full flavored and balanced than it did last year when it was first released on tap. You can see my previous review here. I don’t know how much the recipe changed but as always good work Todd. If you are into lagers but are looking for something that shows what American brewers are doing with classic styles this might just be the beer for you. 16 ounce cans for the win. Give it a shot and ride your bike.