Sunday, August 2, 2009

Surly Brewing

Ok, so, this trip was insanely busy, with us constantly on the go, so we haven't done well keeping everyone updated. I apologize for that. We'll recap the rest of the trip, but for now, I wanted to take time to describe what may be one of the best tours we've ever had on a Beer Trip. We arrived at Surly Brewing in Brooklyn Center, MN about 15-20 minutes before the start of their tour. Dan had contacted them several months early to ensure we had a confirmed tour. We got out of the RV and started walking toward the entrance when someone came out of the warehouse section and goes "Is this the Southwest Brewing News guy?" I think all of us instinctively pointed at Dan. Turns out it was Omar, owner of Surly Brewing. He talked to Dan for a bit, shook our hands, and then went back inside.

We got into the line to have our ID's checked and and get our wrist bands and tokens. We were next in line when Omar comes back out and says "Hey, come this way." Yeah, he's taking us out of the regular tour and giving us a private one. I had an internal beer dork freak-out as we walk into the warehouse. He gives us our wristbands and tokens for samples. Oh and a can of one of their kick ass beers for each of us.

He then brings over Todd, the head brewer for Surly to take us around while he talks to the people on the regular tour. We chat with Todd for a while and he takes us down to the gift shop and tasting room ahead of the regular tour. There we get a pic with him and enjoy samples of more of their stuff. Honestly, they do not brew a bad beer. In fact, every one is top notch. No exaggeration. Also got to talk to some of the very cool volunteers they had working in the gift shop and talked beer to them. After the tours shut down we went to the parking lot and hung out with Todd some more. Kelly makes these cool cantilever bottle holders and he got one out. We all signed it and gave it to him as a very small token of our gratitude. Omar came back out and started talking with us some more. As any regular readers of our blog know, we put stickers on the back of the RV for anyplace we visit. We put a Surly sticker on there, but he had given us a label for their Darkness that they only release one day per year. Omar humored us and put the label on the RV for us while we took pictures as is the norm. Omar even checked out the RV to see how we travel. As we're talking to him, an older man approaches. Turns out it's Omar's dad! He was the original owner of the warehouse the brewery is currently located in. He turned over a small portion of it to Omar to start his brewery. That was three years ago, and it's now the entire building. He talked to us for a while and was just as cool as his son. Omar then proceeded to bring us out some free gifts for us to split and share including some very hard to get stuff. He then took us back inside to give us an even cooler gift...a sample of a brand new beer they haven't released yet.
Needless to say, you will not find a bigger group of Surly advocates. Unfortunately it's basically only available in MN right now, so if you're in the state, buy it. You will not be disappointed. The Crew cannot thank Omar and Todd enough for how they treated us. It is truly appreciated and they deserve all the success they've accomplished and future success they're sure to have.
-Timmy