Up until 2011, breweries that produced beer in Minnesota weren’t allowed to sell those beers due to a Prohibition-era state law.
But early that year, a Minneapolis-based brewery called Surly Brewing Co. announced it wanted to expand the size of its brewery to accommodate demand. With much support and push for change in this area from Surly and supporters of the brewery’s beer, a few months later, Governor Mark Dayton signed into law the “Surly Bill.” It permits breweries that make less than 250,000 barrels of beer each year to sell pints of the alcoholic beverage at their breweries.
Given the brewery’s history, Surly is truly a worthwhile visit when in the Twin Cities. It is truly an experience to step onto the grounds of the brewery that pushed for a law that has since led to an increase in breweries across Minnesota! Today, there are more than 100 in the state.
When swinging by Surly, it’s also worth setting aside $5 to take a tour of the facility. The price includes four beer samples and a tasting glass. And, $1 of that price goes to charity.
For your last sample on the tour, you can opt for a 16oz glass of beer of your choice at the bar 🙂
Surly is located in an industrial area, and getting there via public transit (specifically via the Green Line) is a bit of an adventure. It involves walking through an area without sidewalks and not a lot of people in sight.
But regardless of whether you get there via light rail or car, the experience of being at Surly along with what you learn on the tour makes the commute all worth it.
A couple of facts offered on the tour include that Surly has the capacity to produce 100,000 barrels of beer per year. (1 barrel = approx. 31 gallons.) Its brewing equipment comes from Germany and all fluids are transferred between pipes – there is no removing of the beer for manual transfers.
Also, Surly beers aren’t filtered or pasteurized, so they have to be kept cold. Hops used in their beers come from Yakima Valley in Washington.
The guide on my tour also talked about the founders of Surly, who were from Pakistan and Germany. You can read more details about the brewery’s story here.
Apart from the tour, it’s nice to just hang out inside the spacious building or at the beer garden and enjoy a drink and/or food. After the tour – which I went on alone – I had my last sample at the bar while scanning through the list of 24 beers posted behind the bar. It was a wonderful experience.
I also want to note that one of the samples on the tour was a coffee bender, an ale with coffee flavor. I typically don’t like those, but I actually didn’t mind it because the way it was blended was pretty balanced. If you’re interested in Surly beers, check out that section on the website here.
There’s nothing quite like a refreshing glass of craft beer, and when in Minneapolis, Surly Brewing Co. is a place you won’t want to miss!