Yippee! Finally a special beer release out in the Western Suburbs of Minneapolis! Every day I read about special tappings and releases by local and not-so-local breweries and nearly all of them are in Minneapolis, St. Paul or the inner ring suburbs. I have noticed lately that more events are starting to trickle out to the hinterlands, such as the Top Brewer event in Maple Grove last month. So yesterday Surly released their fantastic citra hopped double IPA, Abrasive at the Eden Prairie Old Chicago to much applause!
The place was a zoo when we got there around 5:40, bustling with people in search of this sought-after seasonal ale. The entry way was full of other folks waiting to eat, probably unhappy that there was a special event there that night. I put our name in for a table at that point and got my pager. We pushed our way through the sardine-can crowd and discovered that our friends Chris and Hassan (who went with us to Belgium,) were sharing a table with Mike and Keith, (other good friends from Brew Club.) Small world. Seated just beyond them in customary good spots at the bar were Dave and Kent. Great to have a bunch of friends at this event, but I feel bad that I didn't get much chance to talk to our bar-sitting guys. The restaurant had some free wings and pizza hidden in the hallway for attendees, which was a nice touch.
After a while I got my glass of Abrasive, a brilliant light yellow color with fine white head, served in a tulip glass. The aroma on this is mango, grapefruit, and a hint of alcohol and those go right through to the taste. Ends dry enough to keep drinking more, but dangerously high in alcohol. Yum! This beer is in my top three desert island list, and I eagerly search it out each fall/early winter. Interesting that while every other brewery puts out their malty and spiced beers this time of year, Surly puts out the hop-bomb DIPA. I actually got quoted about this beer for Zymurgy magazine a couple years ago.
Surly had several employees at OC, including Omar, Derek A. and Jim (Number 4.) I talked to Derek for quite a while, a friend from beer judging circles, keeping him too long from his wife. I'm happy that he is back in the cities after working in New Ulm for Schell's. To come back and get to brew for Surly is a huge step! I talked to the other Surly folks briefly and met a couple new people as well. Abrasive is good for getting me to be more sociable! Sj asked me who I was and what I had done with her real husband...
Overall a great beer, a great brewery and a great event. We need more of these things out in the West, and based on the turn-out I think breweries should take notice. With more and more new breweries fighting it out for the City territory, the outer ring suburbs are the next battle-ground for local beer domination. Our bars and liquor stores out here still predominantly carry macro lagers, but are a huge potential growth market for Minnesota craft beers. Oh and Abrasive is out in stores around the Metro as I write this, so stock up now!