Reopening the beer hall has given our extraordinarily talented brew team the chance to flex their muscles and work on all sorts of experiments with new hop varietals and styles. (As of this writing, we now have 32 beers on draft, a dozen of which are brand new.) It’s also allowed us to revive our Intelligent Design program for all Surly brewers.
Intelligent Design is open to all Surly brewers regardless of experience, allowing them to develop a beer concept and work with the Head Brewer and Brand Development team to bring that beer to life as a tap in the Surly beer hall. The entire process mimics Surly’s R&D process for developing new brands to bring to market, from brewhouse logistics to scaling up recipes to consumer appeal. It gives the brewers a valuable opportunity to gain insight and experience.
The program, sidelined for the last year due to the pandemic, returns to the beer hall with Celestial Doom, a beer from Brooklyn Center Lead Brewer Josh Lemke. Here’s more about the beer and the brewer.
BEER: Celestial Doom Stout. Intense with rich notes of cocoa and roasted malt with lactose sweetness. 11.5% ABV. “I love doom metal,” says Lemke. “And that whole floating, celestial, untethered-in-space feeling. Hence, Celestial Doom.”
BREWER: Josh Lemke, aka JAWSH. From Minneapolis via New Brighton. Surly brewer for seven years, part of the Surly family even longer as a Darkness Day volunteer and artist in the early ‘10s. When Josh expressed an interest in learning how to brew, fellow Darkness artist Adam Turman brought him into Surly and he caught on. (Turman and Lemke recently collaborated on a new beer hall mural that will be debuting this summer.)
BACKSTORY: “Brewing a big stout is something I’ve always wanted to do,” says Lemke. “It presents a lot of different challenges, but it also gives you a chance to have some fun. We already wanted to create a new stout as a base beer for different projects down the line, so this project allowed me to stretch my brewing skills and give Surly some versatility going forward.”
BREWING NEXT: Francis Willette, with a secret project that is currently fermenting.