Darkness Russian Imperial Stout 2016 – Surly Brewing Co


From Brooklyn Center Minnesota’s Surly Brewing Co comes their “Darkness” Russian Imperial Stout 2016.  To acquire a bottle of this beer you have to either attend the breweries event Darkness Days or be lucky enough to trade for a bottle (and I have never been to Minnesota)!  The beer pours an opaque black colour with a brown head.  The aroma consists of molasses, roasted malts, chocolate, toffee and brown sugar.  The flavour is of brown sugar, molasses, roasted malts, toffee, coffee, dark fruit, sweetness and bitterness.  The beer comes in at 12% with an IBU of 85.  This is the third time I have had the chance to try this beer and it was once again a serious treat.  This beer only seems to get better every year!

Commercial Description:  This massive Russian Imperial Stout brings waves of flavors; chocolate, cherries, raisins, coffee, and toffee, finishing with a non-traditional dose of aroma hops.

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Todd The Axe Man IPA – Surly Brewing Co (Amager Brewery)


From Surly Brewing in Brooklyn Center Minnesota in collaboration with Amager Brewery in Denmark comes “Todd The Axe Man IPA” a West Coast IPA.   The beer pours a cloudy orange with an off white head. The aroma consists of dank hops, citrus rind, citrus, tropical fruit and some malts.  The flavour is of resin, bitterness, malts, citrus, citrus rind, tropical fruits and some dank hops bitterness. The alcohol content comes in at 7.2%. I had seen photos of this beer online for quite some time and wanted to give it a go. I’m happy to say the beer lived up to my expectations.

Commercial Description:  Our version of the West Coast Style IPA first brewed in collaboration with Amager Brewery in Denmark. Brewed with one malt, Golden Promise from the UK, with Citra and Mosaic hops. If you think Todd is a good brewer, you should hear him play his axe (guitar)! Named by Amager’s marketing director Henrik Papsø.

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Sága IPA – Summit Brewing


From Summit Brewing in St Paul Minnesota comes their “Sága IPA”.  The beer pours a golden orange colour with an off white head.  The aroma consists of citrus, floral hops and some malts.  The flavour is of citrus, orange, grapefruit, orange peel, mild malts and bitterness.  The alcohol content comes in at 6.2% with an IBU of 80.  With an IBU of 80 I expected this to be more bitter.  It felt a little more like a flavourful English IPA.

Commercial Description:  Named after the Norse goddess Sága, drinking companion of the God Odin. With a divine tropical fruit hop aroma and clean, assertive bitterness. Now available in 12oz cans!

Food pairing as per brewery:  Spicy cuisine, peppery, sharp, or pungent chesses, marinated meat, hearty seafood.

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Pentagram 2014 Vintage – Surly Brewing Co


From Brooklyn Center Minnesota’s Surly Brewing Co comes their “Pentagram” 2014 Vintage a beer that was opened 2 years after its release in 2016.  This beer is a 100% Brettanomyces fermented beer.  The beer pours a deep reddish orange colour with an off white head.  The aroma consists of vinegar, cherry, earth, oak, wine and funk but is a bit understated.  The flavour is of notes of vinegar to start with cherry, berries, some brett funk, oak, wine and maybe a hint of tobacco.  The alcohol content comes in at 6.66%.  I was expecting an overly sour beer when I poured this beer but it was fairly subdued.  This is a sour beer that you could easily drink a bunch of (If you could get a bunch).

Commercial Description:  100% Brettanomyces dark beer, fermented in stainless and aged in used red wine barrels. “Brett” is a unique yeast strain that produces flavors that would be offensive if they weren’t intentional. Flavors of sour cherry, tobacco, oak, and classic “Brett” barnyard funk, balanced by Dark Munich malt chewiness. Enjoy immediately or age at cellar temperature for a couple years.

Darkness Russian Imperial Stout 2014 (Aged 1 Year) – Surly Brewing Co


From Brooklyn Center Minnesota’s Surly Brewing Co comes their “Darkness” Russian Imperial Stout 2014.  The 2014 edition was barrel aged in High West Rye Whiskey barrels for 4-6 months.  To acquire a bottle of this beer you have to either attend the breweries event Darkness Days or be lucky enough to trade for a bottle (and I have never been to Minnesota)!  The beer poured an opaque black colour with a brown head.  The aroma consisted of chocolate, caramel, toffee, vanilla, oak, whiskey, sweetness and alcohol.  The flavour is of toffee, creamy milk chocolate, caramel, vanilla, burnt malts, earth, coffee, brown sugar, oak, whiskey with a boozy finish.  The alcohol content comes in at 10.3%.  The beer is worth the hype!  If I had the money and the time off I would have loved to go to Minnesota for the Darkness days this year on October 24th, 2015.  This is one huge beer in flavour and in alcohol content and I would love to drink it again if somehow possible.

Commercial Description:  The legendary Harpy tortured unwary travelers by stealing their precious food and drink.  This year’s cruel creature defends her cauldron of Darkness with razor claws and a dead stare of malevolence.  Don’t mess with her Darkness.  She’s hoarding this massively opaque barrel aged Stout screaming with notes of chocolate, coffee, dried tart cherries, vanilla, rye Whisky and raisins.  The thick body of this Russian Imperial Stout finishes sweet, with a piney resinous hop character.  Dar if you will to open this bottle and steal from the imagination of our 2014 Darkness artist, Erica Williams.

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Photo from Erica Williams website

Video From Surly Brewing on Darkness Days