Posted on June 2nd, 2017

An Introduction to Intelligent Design #1--Rusty Melvin

Beer Hall, Beer Release, Minneapolis Brewery

Our brewers like to do new things. So we’re letting them.

We’re introducing Surly’s Intelligent Design series, in which each of our brewers gets to make their beer, their way.

“We’ve wanted to do this for awhile,” says Head Brewer Jerrod Johnson. “It gives the brewers a chance to experiment and showcase what they can do.”

First up in the series is Rusty Melvin, a recipe developed by brewer Glenn Casper. It’s a Barrel-Aged Scotch Ale and is reminiscent of a Rusty Nail cocktail, a favorite of Glenn’s. Spices like cinnamon, mace, fennel, and clove, plus a heavy dose of honey, all work to mirror the scotch-and-Drambuie elements of the aforementioned drink. Barrel-aging in second-use whiskey barrels adds oak and whiskey notes to the malt-forward finished product.

“We’re a production brewery, so it’s not always easy to do stuff like this,” says Johnson. “Intelligent Design gives us an opportunity to play around a bit, which we’re all excited about. And it gives a little spotlight to the individuals on our brew team.”

The first spotlight falls to Glenn. Here’s what you need to know:

NAME: Glenn Casper


TENURE: Brewing at Surly for six years, brewing for 16 years in total.

BACKSTORY: “When my wife was pregnant with our first son, we joked that his name would be Rusty Melvin–Rusty is my father-in-law’s name, and Melvin is my dad’s middle name.  That name sounded like a drink to me, and Rusty Nails are great. I even had my first one with my father-in-law. That sparked the concept for a Rusty Melvin. I had already homebrewed a Scotch Ale, and over the years I’d thought about spicing it with the flavors from Drambuie, adding honey like Drambuie has, and aging it in whiskey barrels.”

THUMBNAIL: Rusty Melvin pours a dark reddish-brown with low bitterness and clocks in at 10% ABV.

Here are the first three brewers in the series. We know what the other two beers are, but we’re not telling.

  • Intelligent Design #1 (Rusty Melvin)–Glenn Casper, tapping May 31.
  • Intelligent Design #2–Weston Shepherd, releasing late summer.
  • Intelligent Design #3–Robbie Denaway, mystery beer, 2018
  • Intelligent Design #4–JAWSH, something barrel-aged and cool, 2018

These beers will be exclusive to the Beer Hall, so get in here.