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The Surly Guide to Thanksgiving 2019

Thanksgiving is this week. You think you’re ready. You’re not. The armada of snowstorms, the request to bring a side you don’t know how to make, the relatives who show up out of nowhere—these obstacles and more loom in the distance, foreboding in their quiet, gravy-laced menace. Here are the things to look out for, along with a recommended beer pairing.

The night before Thanksgiving when all your friends are back in town. Everyone’s home to see the fam on Thursday. But Wednesday, that’s when you get to bend an elbow with people who knew you in second grade. Unfortunately, the last time you were home it involved rail tequila, a confusing encounter with the actor Burt Reynolds (RIP), and waking up in a house that wasn’t yours in a town that’s not on Google Maps. You have kids and a mortgage now, and you’re in charge of critical side dishes on Thursday. Enjoy in moderation, idiot.

SUGGESTED PAIRING: XTRA-CITRA. Low ABV with a ton of flavor, our hoppy pale ale is the sessionable choice for loading up TouchTunes with songs from the year you graduated.

Watching the weirdos in your family run a 5K at 7 in the goldang morning. The only people who should be up this early are those hearty souls in charge of the bird, but nope, your dumbass brother sold everyone on a Thanksgiving morning “fun run” because that third helping of stuffing ain’t gonna burn itself off.

SUGGESTED PAIRING: COFFEE BENDER. As they run past your house, shuffle out in your hoodie and pajama pants, raise a Coffee Bender to their collective delusion, and go back inside to snooze with the dog while Al Roker describes giant balloons.

A beer with dinner. You have strategically laid out your plate with the star of the show (baked turkey, smoked turkey, deep-fried turkey, turkey stuffed with other birds, tofurkey, actually it’s a ham) and the supporting cast of starch-intensive sides, but in all the wonderful chaos of building the perfect meal, you didn’t consider the beer.

SUGGESTED PAIRING: LIQUID STARDUST. Grab one of these sparkling IPAs out of our variety Frost Pack. It’s festive and crisp with a champagne-like finish.

Politics gets brought up. You managed to steer the entire dinner table conversation to the safe waters of holiday plans, your sister’s new job, and the weather. Then, right as you’re about to get into the pie, someone says the exact wrong thing. The passive-aggression gets less passive, the kids scatter for the basement, and mom’s crying in the bathroom.

SUGGESTED PAIRING: DARKNESS. You didn’t anticipate getting the 2019 Darkness out of the cellar this soon, but the minute your cousin says “No, fuck YOU” in front of grandma, that ship has sailed.

When the Bears and Lions play. Vikings and Packers fans share a rare moment of unity this Thanksgiving as their struggling division rivals fight to snuff out the other’s dim playoff aspirations. Your cousin from Marshfield/Pine City will no doubt enjoy a beer as you de-escalate hostilities (for the moment).

SUGGESTED PAIRING: FURIOUS. Our flagship beer gives you the aggressive hop profile you need to enjoy Mitchell Trubisky’s shortcomings.

When you agree to go Black Friday shopping. You’re at the mall the day after Thanksgiving. People are brawling over Instant Pots. You never asked for this. This isn’t what you wanted.

SUGGESTED PAIRING: HELL. Maybe it’s a restaurant by the Spencer’s Gifts. It could be a sports bar across the parking lot by the looming pile of dirty snow. Today, though, it is nothing less than salvation. You walk in. You sit down. They have our crisp German lager on tap. The bartender looks you in the eye. You just nod. Words are unnecessary. You enjoy a bracing pint of Hell and watch Days of Our Lives on the bar TV. John Black is still alive.

Of course, these are just suggestions, and you may find that Abrasive or Axe Man works better for the situation at hand. We’re not Martha Stewart, we’re a brewery, and can only do so much. (A tasteful centerpiece really does pull the whole table together, though.) If your travels take you to the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, the Brewery is the place to go:

  • EXCEPT FOR THURSDAY. WE ARE CLOSED ON THANKSGIVING. DON’T COME HERE, THE DOORS WILL BE LOCKED. 
  • Friday: Surly is a designated dropoff point for Toys for Tots this year, starting Friday and going through December 15th.
  • Black Friday is also when our Slightly Selfish Surly Gift Card promotion begins. Buy $50, get a $15 bonus card to do with as you will from January-March 2020.
  • Friday’s Old School BC Tour is sold out, but we have extra public tours for the MSP brewery slated for the last week of December. Also a reminder that you can schedule private tours for family and company holiday outings.
  • Saturday: The biggest Border Battle in decades happens just up the street from us as Minnesota and Wisconsin battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe. The Beer Hall and Surly Pizza Upstairs will be open at 11 am for all your pre-gaming needs, and we’ll have the Big Ass TV up and running in the Beer Garden for those unable to get into the sold-out game.
  • Sunday: Our second annual Brewers and Doers Holiday Bazaar brings a remarkable variety of local artisans, curators, makers, and activities together at the Destination Brewery. Spread from the beer garden to Scheid Hall, guests will be able to have their tarot cards read, snack on items from the Surly Pastry bake sale, shop for anything from jewelry to home décor to locally sourced vintage ware, and experience the Minnesota Krampus Society, all while listening to some of the Twin Cities’ favorite vinyl DJs. Surly Gives A Damn is also part of this celebration of Surly Nation. They will be on site running a sock drive to benefit Hennepin County Health and Human Services. Bring in a pair of new socks, receive a wooden nickel good for a free beer or N/A beverage.
  • Throughout the holidays: The Surly Kitchen is selling pies for you to pick up, bring home, and be welcomed as a pastry hero.

One more thing that we can’t stress enough: Turkeys are incapable of sustained flight.

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