Posted on August 28th, 2017

SurlyFest: A Hopped-Up Departure from Tradition

Beer Release

Oktoberfest beers, like hayrides, football, and pumpkin spice lattes, are a fall tradition. There’s a place for tradition. But sometimes, you need to make your own.

Starting the week of Aug. 28, one of Surly’s most non-traditional beers, SurlyFest, will be available in bars, restaurants, and liquor stores across the Midwest. SurlyFest is a hop-forward rye lager that departs from the traditional, malt-heavy Oktoberfest beer style. Rye is used in the grain bill, and non-German Sterling hops from the Pacific Northwest are used in the kettle and for dry-hopping. The result is a crisp, distinct rye lager perfect for tailgating, autumn weather, centuries-old cultural celebrations, and your pint glass, boot, or plastic cup.

“My mother is from Germany and gave me my first beer at the Hofbrauhaus when I was a teen. ‘Prost’ might have been my first word. So, Oktoberfest is the holiday for us,” says Surly owner Omar Ansari. “Surly doesn’t brew to style very often, so when we made that first SurlyFest beer ten years ago, we went with a dry-hopped rye lager versus the malt bombs that make up a traditional Oktoberfest line-up. It might be unconventional, but it’s the beer we want to drink.”

The rye shows up three ways in SurlyFest: regular malted rye, a rye caramel malt, and unmalted flaked rye. The combination yields a distinctly earthy flavor, not dissimilar to rye crackers. The Sterling dry-hopping gives SurlyFest a noticeable hop bite, and makes it a welcome alternative to the wave of malt bombs hitting the market.

If you need further proof that We Don’t Fest Like The Rest, hit up our SurlyFest celebration on Saturday, Sept. 23. Enjoy the decidedly non-polka stylings of Caroline Smith, The 4onthefloor, Black-eyed Snakes, Heiruspecs, DJ Shannon Blowtorch, and more. In addition, our acclaimed kitchen will be putting a Surly-fied twist on Oktoberfest food, from German-Engineered Tacos to Reuben Frites. More details here. Admission is free, but tickets are available for enhanced SurlyFest experiences, swag, etc.

You can get SurlyFest throughout our distribution area in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans or, for the first time, in 12-packs of 12 oz. cans. Make sure to ask your preferred liquor store for a free copy of our limited-edition SurlyFest poster, featuring Adam Sward’s depiction of the most metal Oktoberfest celebrant this side of Heidelberg. We think his name is Klaus or Keith, but damn, does he love raking.

Prost! Kind of!