As an aspiring beer snob I’m always looking for the next beer to add to my resume of consumed beverages. I’ve been of legal drinking age for four years now, and I’ve made the best of every moment of it.

I’ve tried just about everything on my “to try” list at this point, but there was one brand of beer I’d been meaning to try for quite some time that I didn’t get to cross off of my list until last weekend. I’m talking about Surly beers. I know - I can’t believe it took me four entire years to try it.

It is perhaps the most famous of all Minnesota made beers and it’s a brand that the other beer snobs in my life are always raving about. Over the weekend I tried four of Surly’s beverages, and here are my thoughts.

First Avenue + 1

Surly teamed up with First Avenue to create +1, which I thought was pretty cool. After gulping a pint of it down it struck me as the type ale that’s perfect for the occasional beer drinker. It’s moderately light with a nice, crisp taste.

Since not everyone likes heavy, dark beverages, I would say it’s the most universally palatable beer on this list. Personally, I’m the polar opposite. It’s not often I enjoy lighter ales, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one.


Don’t let the name of this one scare you. Aside from the alcohol content (6.2%) there’s nothing about this IPA that’s intimidating. It goes without saying that IPAs are an acquired taste. I personally enjoy them, but I know a lot of people who don’t like the “hoppy” aroma.

However, I would feel perfectly comfortable giving Furious to someone who doesn’t typically enjoy the IPA. The “hoppy” flavor is just right. It’s not overbearing and it’s perhaps the most palatable IPA that I’ve ever consumed.

Todd The Axe Man

This is without a doubt the most famous beer on the list. It’s actually one of the most popular beers in Minnesota. Needless to say I was pretty stoked to try this one in particular. Whereas Furious is universally consumable, Todd The Axe Man is not. This ale is not for the faint of heart.

With the alcohol content coming in at 7.2%, this is a pretty stiff drink. The taste of the hops is much more pronounced with this guy. I wouldn’t recommend this bad boy to just anyone, but if you’re like me and you love stronger beers and hoppy aromas, you’ll fall in love with it.

Coffee Bender

Last but certainly not least on the list is the Surly Coffee Bender. Again, this is one that’s an acquired taste. I love this drink because the first thing I do in the morning is slam a pot of strong, black coffee, and in the evenings after work I love unwinding with a bold, dark beer.

I guess I like the taste of bitter drinks. The Coffee Bender is both of these elements in one beverage. It’s rich and dense. As someone who adores darker beers, I absolutely loved this one. It’s my new to-go-to beverage and my new favorite way to kick off my Saturday mornings. It’s hands down my favorite beer on the list.

In conclusion, I’m nothing but impressed with Surly. It’s been quite a while since I tried a craft beer that I was legitimately impressed with, but I give Surly two thumbs up. If you’re an aspiring beer snob like myself, do yourself a favor give this brand a try.

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