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SurlyFest - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
SurlyFestSurlyFest

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

721 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 721
Reviews: 333
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 10.86%
Wants: 220
Gots: 43 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Märzen / Oktoberfest |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: feloniousmonk on 09-03-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 721 | Reviews: 333 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A lovely needed lager, with a rye edge. Pours yellow body with white bubbly head, and leaving a lace trail down the glass. Neutral to pleasant aroma with some graininess. Easy drinking, above average mouthfeel. Some hops
Had again 3 years later and it was fresh and it may have been tweaked. Got more toast, and hop aromas.

Sammy, Sep 09, 2009
Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -1.2%

t0rin0, Feb 26, 2013
Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -1.2%

spycow, Jan 12, 2013
Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

djrn2, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

zestar, Nov 20, 2013
Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

acurtis, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of Thorpe429
3.78/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to mikeyv35 for getting me a can of this.

A: pours an orangish copper with an off white head.

S: somewhat sweet bready malt combined with a bit of zesty herbal rye.

T: the rye doesn't come through quite as well here. Just faint hints along with some biscuity malt. Nothing terribly complex, but some nice flavors present.

M: nice dryness from the rye comes through on a light to medium body.

D: not my favorite Surly beer by any means, but fairly tasty and easy drinking.

Thorpe429, May 14, 2010
Photo of nmann08
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

nmann08, Oct 07, 2012
Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Texasfan549, Nov 10, 2012
Photo of metter98
3.88/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is relatively clear yellowish amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a short beige head that died down but left a large patch of bubbles on the surface and lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of herbs and hops in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but also has some spiciness from the rye and a light to moderate amount of hop bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little smooth on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The dry-hopping and rye helped lighten up the maltiness that is usually found in Oktoberfest beers. I found this to be very enjoyable and easy to drink.

metter98, Nov 03, 2012
Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -1.2%

kjkinsey, Nov 03, 2012
Photo of brentk56
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Blue Nile. Thanks, Al.

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with an amber color and a moderate head that retains and splashes lace with some success

Smell: Huge citrusy, almost pithy aroma

Taste: The citrus from the aroma is readily apparent up front but the rye crispness cuts into it after the swallow, to provide a clean, slightly sour (in a rye way) finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: I still can't get over that this is a lager; it is so fruity and lacks that lager twang

brentk56, Sep 25, 2008
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Oakbluff: Poured a deep slightly hazy amber color ale with a thick foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of big semi-sweet malt rye with some dry hops. Taste is also dominated by big rich malt with the typical rye taste and some light dry hops at the end. Full body with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very refreshing beer but also very filling which mean I wouldn't have that much in a session. Also, I was expecting a hop bomb as this brewery is quite good at those but this is somewhat close to the original style.

Phyl21ca, May 16, 2008
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bright coppery orange with sunflower trim and a blazing tangerine sphere indicating the rising sun on the opposite side of the pint glass. The lovely lid looks like a melted orange creamsicle and is starting to lay down a ridiculous amount of lace. This may be the best looking Oktoberfest ever.

The aroma would indicate that SurlyFest isn't an Oktoberfest at all. It smells like an APA with a hint of rye earthy spiciness. Dry-hopping a beer of this sort was a stroke of true genius.

This '08 version (Summit hops) doesn't taste like my memory of the '07 version (Sterling hops). Granted, it was only a short pour last fall and flavor specifics tend to blur over time. This beer tastes like it smells. That is... like a pale malt-dominant, rye-accented American pale ale.

There might be a little caramel/crystal malt in there... and a faint echo of toasted nuts that doesn't need to be any more prominent. The Summit hops taste especially orange-like and keeps things in near perfect balance. It's doubtful that the word 'balance' is uttered very often up in Brooklyn Center.

SurlyFest didn't knock my socks off on initial contact, but its sneaky complexity is... uh... sneaking up on me as the ounces fly by. Part of the reason is the perfect amount of rye malt. Sweet, bitter and spicy is hard to beat.

Drinkability is up there as well. Why does it always seem that 16 ounces of Surly beer lasts as long as 12 ounces of non-Surly beer? The mouthfeel is solidly medium, maybe even a bit bigger, and hangs on nicely. As is usually the case with these guys, the carbonation is perfectly calibrated.

Even though this beer isn't really in the same league as most of their other outstanding offerings, it's still light years better than similar lagers. Actually, there aren't any similar lagers. SurlyFest is both unique *and* delicious. Talk about a killer combination.

BuckeyeNation, Nov 03, 2008
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

ygtbsm94, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of mikesgroove
4.6/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks goes out to the wonderful BA who sent me a good supply of this one to get through the season! Opened this box last night and immediatly put one in the fridge. Drinkin it as I type right now and waite for the pizza to cook. Served cold right out of the fridge and poured into a tall pilsner glass. This one was consumed on 09/27/2008.

The pour was very nice, rich copper colored amber beer flowed effortlessly out of the can. Hitting the bottom with a decent splash, it proceeded to throw up a nice one inch head of wite foam which quickly settled down to a thin layer, that never really left the top bare at all though. Lots of carbonation coming up from the bottom of the glass, really quite lively looking.

The aroma was damn spot on. I have never smelled a fest bier as god as this one. Rich candied malts, lots of green, vinous hops, soo fresh smelling with just the slightest of almost apple like aromas flirting down in the background. The flavor was more of the same, rich, caramel sweetness in the taste up front before fading back into a very nice grain like malt tht took up the middle of the profile, lots of hops in the finish, but very earthy with a huge and very healthy dose of frsh grass giving it just enough drying to let the sweetness come back for one more go round. Lots of little fruit hints in here as well, simply wonderful for the style. Great medium feel was a bit more then you would noramlly expect from the style, but the carbonation kept it flowing well. So smooth I wanted to drink like ten of the right away.

Overall I thought this was seimply excellent. By far the best fest I have had this year so far. SImply amazingly sessionable and just really a superb beer all around. Surly really is one of the best and this just goes to show it!

mikesgroove, Sep 27, 2008
Photo of womencantsail
2.65/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks for sharing this can, Bobby.

A: The pour is a fairly opaque dark amber/light brown color with fairly minimal head formation.

S: There's a really weird aroma to this beer...some nutshells along with peanut butter. A mild breadiness as well as some misplaced acidity. The one redeeming factor is the touch of earthy hops that comes in toward the back end.

T: Lightly bready with a fruit character (white grapes?) that doesn't really seem to belong. Again, mildly acidic with some faint nuttiness. Really all over the place.

M: The body is medium with the carbonation fitting the same description.

D: A rare miss for Surly and this one is way off the mark. I know they're trying to put a different spin on the Oktoberfest, but this just didn't work at all.

womencantsail, Nov 09, 2010
Photo of Knapp85
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

Knapp85, Aug 16, 2013
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

westcoastbeerlvr, Jan 10, 2013
Photo of oberon
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a becker a clear rich copper/bronze with a thick creamy white head atop.Grain and light toast in the nose along with mild spicy rye.Dry on the palate wich I liked alot with German malts toasted bread notes,a good shot of spicy hops and light lactic rye in the finish.I could drink this from a stein all day,a great O-fest beer.

oberon, Oct 13, 2014
Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Ultra-hazy amber, almost opaque. The head retention is great.

Smell - The hop aroma is huge and immediately noticeable upon cracking open the can. It lends a ripe, zesty grapefruit character to the nose, with a slight bready note from the rye present underneath.

Taste and mouthfeel - The taste is quite a contrast from the aroma. Very up-front rye, bready and dry. A touch of malty sweetness appears briefly, providing a touch of balance before the tangy, citrus-flavored hops take over the finish. Mouthfeel is decidedly full for a lager, with a coating hoppy bitterness remaining on the palate.

Notes - Never thought I'd try a dry-hopped rye Octoberfest lager. Very creative stuff, and more importantly, quite good.

largadeer, Feb 13, 2008
Photo of TMoney2591
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Surly shaker pint glass.

Thanks to VDubb86 for sharing this BIFed can!

At least I'm having this in some partially appropriate glassware. It pours a hazy sunset amber topped by a finger of dirty white foam. The nose comprises mandarin oranges, peach, light cinnamon, wheat, and black pepper. The taste holds notes of light toffee, mint, black pepper, sourdough, and light pine. The body is a straight medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta dry finish. Overall, a nice brew, though I think the rye goes somewhat overlooked/underused. Beyond that, I could see enjoying this on a regular basis in the fall. You lucky Minnesotans...

TMoney2591, Dec 12, 2010
Photo of zeff80
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a hazy, light orange color with a fizzy, small, white head. Minimal lacing.

S - It smelled of malt, and cirusy hops. Some rye notes, too.

T - It tasted like an oktoberfest mixed with a rye beer and an IPA. O-fest maltiness with a citrusy hop kick.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - This is an excellent brew. Typical of Surly, it is completely unique.

zeff80, Oct 14, 2008
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.01/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

apparently surly makes only interesting and top quality brews. I love this one. its like a Oktoberfest, but is spiked with rye malt, and has a unique vanilla character im not used to in the style. the pour is more bronze than orange, mostly clear, with an inch or so of lasting white head. the nose is german malty, but with that familiar peppery rye kick and a finish of fresh vanilla beans cut open and scraped clean. yum! the flavor is a little less dramatic on the vanilla, and its more toward the front than the finish, but its still there. the malt balances out into a nice german traditional marzen style. this has characteristics of both an ale and a lager, its crispness is remarkable for its complexity, and its super sessionable. strong carbonation lightens up a fuller medium body, and the 6% abv is just right for me in thus style. overall a very strong offering from surly, I really love the vanilla twist here.

StonedTrippin, Apr 09, 2013
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Acquired via trade from Scoobydank, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 16oz can into a mug glass.

A: The beer is a dark orange color with a very thin white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is pretty hoppy for an O-fest. There are also plenty of caramelized malts and spices in the smell as well.

T: Just like the smell, the most notable thing about the taste is the strong burst of floral hops up front. It almost makes you wonder whether you’re drinking an Oktoberfest or an IPA. There are flavors of caramel, spices and nuts to provide a good balance to the strong hops bitterness. At the risk of overstating it, this is by far the hoppiest O-fest I’ve ever had and I like it a lot. Hell, it’s hoppier than most IPA’s that I’ve had.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean and dry.

D: Very tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, good kick, decent representation of style while taking the style to the next level. This is definitely one of those beers that I could drink several of throughout a whole evening and not have the urge to drink anything else. I know that the fact that I like this beer more than any other O-fest I’ve had simply because of the hoppiness means I’m a Hophead, but I’m calling like I taste it. This is an excellent beer.

TheManiacalOne, Oct 21, 2007
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SurlyFest from Surly Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 721 ratings.