I spent a few days travelling around the Minneapolis/St. Paul area in search of great beer and I discovered several cool places along the way. The majority I knew little about but, as a beer writer, there was already one place I was completely familiar with and I was anxious to visit and see what it was like first hand. That place is Surly Brewing, located near the University of Minnesota.
Surly Brewing is a large brewery with a 100,000 barrel capacity. This makes it one of the largest breweries in the United States and I recommend signing up for a tour online or over the phone before you visit. The tour walks you through the brewhouse where you learn about Surly’s history and the brewing process. The tour ends in a tasting room reserved for those on the tour. It is here where you can sample and savor some of Surly’s tasty suds with the rest of your tour group. I loved the Todd- The Axe Man IPA the best, but there were several standouts overall.
I was hungry when I visited Surly Brewing and that was not a problem at all, as I quickly learned that Surly is a full- service restaurant as well as a brewery. The food is made to go with the beer and it does exactly that. Guests can choose among delicious, beer- compatible foods such as sweet and spicy beer nuts, lamb meatballs, Surly Burger, Chopped Brisket Sandwich, Oven Roasted Trout, and others. Like I said, the food matches up perfectly with the beer and the whole is easily greater than the sum of the parts.
Surly’s Beer Hall is a cool place to hang out, but depending on the weather, you may want to head to the outdoor patio. Both are very large and the outdoor patio is dog friendly, perfect for those times when your beloved pooch just can’t get enough of you. Music is often playing at Surly, and it tends to consist of rock/punk from the past 20 or so years. I should warn that it is often quite crowded at Surly, so come prepared for a wait. But don’t fret- you can order a beer to enjoy while you wait, making the time fly by.
Minneapolis is overloaded with breweries and Surly Brewing is arguably one of its very best. I spent more time here than I did at any brewery in the Twin Cities area and I would have spent even longer had I not been under pressure to make it back to the airport for my return flight home. It’s a truly cool place in Minneapolis and one that every craft beer fan should visit.
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