Surly Hell

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.

Surly Hell

3 Responses to “Surly Hell”

  1. Glad to see you and Aaron from Captain’s Chair wrote reviews for it. I was so underwhelmed I relegated it to a tweet. Not to ding it for being a decent example of the style, just not what I expect from Surly. I want crazy complex.



  2. This flew under my radar. I know it was coming out but had no idea it was a limited run. There may be a couple places I can get it.

  3. I also had not idea they would be producing so little the first time around, but I am sure they are hard at work producing more for further future runs.

    I agree Shawn, Hell isn’t exactly a beer I would go out of my way to procure but I do understand why they decided to make this their newest canned offering. While many (most?) of us may love Surly because of the complex, heavily hopped, creative brews they like to produce. Many consumers are becoming more interested in sessionable beers.I for one will happily pretend that Furious is sessionable and drink it all night long, but I think I understand their intent. While I would like to see Surly work on more complex unique offerings (as I’m sure they will continue to do in the future) I also understand that they are growing a ton and probably want to take it a little easier. So I see adding a previously brewed Lager to their line up of beers simply a logical progression and good business decision (particularly after their success with Bitter Brewer). Hopefully Todd comes up with some more delicious crazy hop filled recipes to share with us in the near future. Cheers!

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