Surly Brewing

One thing necessary to understanding Surly Brewing Company is to know that the brewery’s head brewer Todd Haug is just as famous for his guitar work in the speed-metal band Powermad as he his famous for his beer. Along with the brewery’s founder Omar Ansari, Surly’s speed-metal approach to the brewing business defines the brewery and permeates everything the brewery produces. Every year, Surly commissions a different local artist to contribute artwork for the brewery’s three annual limited-edition series’ of beers: Surly Darkness (a Russian imperial stout), Surlyfest (the brewery’s Oktoberfest-inspired rye beer), and an annual experimental numbered series that is devised by Todd. This year’s Surly “Five” was a 100% Brettanomyces-fermented brown aged in used red wine barrels labeled with a pentagram. Not your average beer. But nothing Surly makes is average. Their fan base is rabid, ever-expanding, and will camp out at the door a day-and-a-half in advance for some of these beers.