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The Secret Origins of Seventeen

In the early 20th century, a secret society formed, dedicated to cocktail enthusiasts in the fraught time of Prohibition. The International Bar Flies formed in Paris at Harry’s New York Bar, birthplace of drinks such as the Bloody Mary, the Side Car, French 75, and the concoction that brings us here today, the Boulevardier.

Made with bourbon, Campari, and sweet vermouth, this cocktail soon made its way out of the shadows and into bartending lore. It’s also the inspiration for Seventeen, our 2023 anniversary beer.

Our goal with these beers is to innovate, to stretch and push our brewing processes and knowledge base…basically, to boldly go where no brewer has gone before. Surly’s head brewer and Boulevardier fan Ben Smith got to work on crafting a beer that paid tribute to the cocktail’s flavor profile. He acquired some Bitter Orange liqueur barrels from Tattersall Distilling and filled them with a strong red ale. For bourbon sweetness, he aged a wee heavy Scotch ale in 10-year Henry McKenna Bourbon barrels.

Seventeen is the complex, unique result. Sweet molasses, vanilla, and brown sugar aromatics commingle with notes of whiskey, cherry, and nutmeg. There’s a lot going on, all of it pretty incredible.

This beer is a perfect choice for sharing with your fellow craft beer drinkers. But if you want to keep this one for yourself, your secret’s safe with us.

The particulars:

  • ABV: 11.0%
  • Malt: 2-Row, Golden Promise, Crystal Medium, Aromatic, Munich, Coffee Malt, Caramunich, Roasted Malt
  • Hops: Warrior
  • Yeast: English Ale
  • Pour: Dark Ruby Red
  • Bitterness: Moderate
  • Sensory notes: Medium body, no sourness, definite alcohol warmth

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