Surly Brewing Company

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Surly Brewing Company
Location Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center, Minnesota
United States
Coordinates Minneapolis: 44°58′24″N 93°12′39″W / 44.9732045°N 93.2109019°W / 44.9732045; -93.2109019Coordinates: 44°58′24″N 93°12′39″W / 44.9732045°N 93.2109019°W / 44.9732045; -93.2109019
Brooklyn Center: 45°02′34″N 93°19′27″W / 45.042883°N 93.324222°W / 45.042883; -93.324222
Opened 2005
Annual production volume 47,757 US beer barrels (56,042 hL) in 2013.[1]
Owned by Omar Ansari
Active beers
Name Type
Bender Brown Ale
Furious India Pale Ale
CynicAle Saison
Coffee Bender Coffee Infused Brown ale
Hell German Style Munich Helles
Seasonal beers
Name Type
Mild English Brown Ale-Dark Mild
Schadenfreude German Style Dunkel Lager
Xtra Citra Pale Ale
SurlyFest Rye Beer
Wet Wet Hopped American IPA
Abrasive Double Oat IPA
Other beers
Name Type
Special Release beers
Darkness Russian Imperial Stout
Smoke Oak Aged Smoked Baltic Porter
Tea Bagged Furious Dry Hopped Cask India Pale Ale
Tea Bagged Bender Dry Hopped Cask Brown Ale
Pentagram Wine Barrel-Aged Brett Dark Ale
One Time Release beers
Sausage Fest Smoked Belgian
One Imperial Lager
Two Cranberry-Infused Dark Ale
Three Braggot
Four Milk / Sweet Stout
Five Wine Barrel-Aged Brett Dark Ale
Syx American Strong Ale
Seviin Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Eight American Oat Wine
Nein Dunkelweizen
Ten Old Ale

The Surly Brewing Company is a Minnesota-based craft brewery with brewing facilities in Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center, noted for well-reviewed beers and primarily canning, rather than bottling.[1] Initially available only in and around the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area, it has since begun to expand distribution to include all of Minnesota and several nearby states. Surly has been growing rapidly; it had production of 21,000 barrels in 2012, 28,000 barrels in 2013,[1] and 47,757 barrels in 2015.[2]

Surly's brewing system in Brooklyn Center is a 30 beer barrel (BBL) Sprinkman, one of four identical systems produced by Sprinkman of Wisconsin.[3] The Minneapolis location has a 100 barrel system.[4]


Surly Brewing Co. founder Omar Ansari had been homebrewing since 1994. After apprenticing at New Holland Brewing Company in Michigan and enlisting Todd Haug of Minneapolis's Rock Bottom Brewery, Surly Brewing began brewing in Brooklyn Center.[5]

In February 2011, Surly announced that it intended to open a restaurant and beer garden, which was expected to cost US$20 million. The new facility would also increase its brewing capacity to approximately 100,000 barrels. This type of installation was not in line with Minnesota's liquor laws, however. With the help of the Surly Nation, fans of the brewery's beer, some members of the Minnesota Legislature were convinced to propose changes in order to allow it. Minnesota's three-tier liquor sales system would not allow breweries to distribute their beer for retail sale and sell on the brewery's premises, as a brewpub does.[6] After just a few months, changes to Minnesota's liquor laws that would allow Surly to sell beer for consumption at the proposed BrewPub, were passed in an omnibus liquor bill introduced by Rep. Jenifer Loon (R - Eden Prairie) and Sen. Linda Scheid (DFL - Brooklyn Park).[7] Known as the "Surly Bill", this bill was signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton on May 25, 2011.[8]

Surly purchased an 8.3 acre plot of land in Prospect Park, Minneapolis for its $20 million brewery in April 2013. Surly secured $2 million in environmental mediation grants from Hennepin County to address more than a century's worth of accumulated industrial pollution at the site.[9] Their new brewery and taproom opened in December 2014.[10]


For the first several years Surly was only available in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area due to limited supply. An initial expansion to Chicago was reversed in June 2010 to ensure they could reliably serve the brewery's home market.[1][11] In November 2013, Surly re-entered the Chicago market, being offered at over one hundred different bars, restaurants, and liquor stores in the Chicago metropolitan area. This expansion included canned and kegged Surly Cynic, Hell, Bender, Overrated, and Coffee Bender, with some Chicago liquor stores carrying select Surly specialities when available.[1][12] In early 2015 Surly expanded its distribution to include Iowa[13] and is also aiming to include Wisconsin by the end of 2015.[14]


Esquire magazine selected Surly Brewing Company's CynicAle 16 ounce as one of the "Best Canned Beers to Drink Now" in a February, 2012 article.[15]


  1. ^ a b c d e Surly Brewing to return to Chicago, Chicago Tribune, November 07, 2013, Josh Noel
  2. ^ John, Ewoldt (11 June 2016). "Frothy Minnesota market might not bear much more craft beer". StarTribune. StarTribune Media, LLC. Retrieved 14 August 2016. 
  3. ^ Shepard, Robin. Minnesotas Best Breweries Brewpubs: Searching for the Perfect Pint. Madison, Wis.: The University of Wisconsin Press. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-299-28244-8. 
  4. ^ "Surly Beer Hall Opens". Minnesota Beer Activists. 19 December 2014. Archived from the original on 14 March 2015. Retrieved 14 August 2016. 
  5. ^ "Brewery: History". Surly Brewing Co. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  6. ^ Lussenhop, Jessica (February 9, 2011). "Surly's $20 million dream brewery: A first look". City Pages. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  7. ^ "Cheers to passage of the 'Surly bill'". Star Tribune. May 30, 2011. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  8. ^ Lussenhop, Jessica (May 25, 2011). "Surly bill is now law". City Pages. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  9. ^ Roper, Eric (April 15, 2013). "Surly buys Minneapolis site for $20 million brewery". Star Tribune. 
  10. ^ Nelson, Tim (19 Dec 2014). "Surly Brewing taps to start flowing in new age of beer". MPR News. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  11. ^ Sudo, Chuck. "Citing Need To Meet Demand In Home State, Surly Brewing Pulls Beer From Chicago Market". Chicagoist. Chicago: Gothamist, LLC. Retrieved 23 May 2011. 
  12. ^ Surly Brewing. "Get Surly in the Chicago Metro Area". Surly. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  13. ^ Lawler, Joe (1 April 2015). "Minnesota's Surly beer, Doomtree headed to Des Moines". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  14. ^ Held, Tom (26 Mar 2015). "Minnesota's Surly Brewing offering tasting in Bay View ahead of Wisconsin entry". Milwaukee Business Journal. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  15. ^ "Best Canned Beers to Drink Now". Esquire magazine via Yahoo news website. 2012-02-22. Retrieved 2012-02-22. 

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