Notoriously Unconventional Oktoberfest Beer Has Seen Its First Decade

craft beer surlyfest surly brewing oktoberfest rye

Surly doesn’t fest like the rest.

Pumpkin spice everything, fantasy football drafts, Instagram-worthy apple orchards–these are some of the traditional signs that fall is just around the corner. Surly Brewing Co., the Minneapolis-based independent craft brewer, is aware of those traditions. They just choose to make their own.


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Because it was time for a beer club with this much value.

One of the brewery’s most non-traditional beers, SurlyFest, is now available in bars, restaurants and other retail locations across the Midwest. SurlyFest is a dry-hopped rye lager that departs from the traditional, malt-heavy Oktoberfest beers. It is brewed by using rye in the grain bill, Sterling hops from the Pcific Northwest and additional Sterling dry-hopping. The result is a crisp, distinct rye lager perfect for autumn weather, centuries-old cultural celebrations, and your steein, boot, pint glass or plastic cup.

“My mother is from Germany and gave me my first beer at the Hofbrauhaus when I was a teen. Prost might have been my first word. So, Oktoberfest is the holiday for us,” said Omar Ansari owner and founder. “Surly doesn’t brew to style so when we made that first SurlyFest beer ten years ago, we went with a dry-hopped rye lager versus the malt bombs that make up the traditional Oktoberfest line-up. It might be unconventional but it’s the beer we want in our steins and cans when Festing.”

To celebrate the tenth year of Surly’s idiosyncratic seasonal, the brewery has released a guide to putting a new twist on a traditional celebration. Plus, they’ve released a limited-edition poster at select retail locations that comes with a purchase of SurlyFest, which is available in 4-pack 16 oz. cans and 12-pack 12 oz. cans.

10 Simple Rules For Not Festing Like The Rest (Brew Studs abridged)

  1. Shred like there’s no morgen.
  2. Default to your beer stein can handle.
  3. Replace kraut and wurst with German Tacos, Schnitzel Sandwiches or Reuben Fries.
  4. No need for a Tyrolean. Wear flare on a baseball cap.
  5. 12 oz. SurlyFest cans sind ganz gut.
  6. The spice of life is rye, freunde.
  7. SurlyFest is the frugal person’s (actual) Oktoberfest.
  8. Prepare yourself for polka.
  9. Hammerschlagen’s alright and perhaps deserves a spot on The Ocho.
  10. You can fest unlike the rest anywhere you ficken please.

Find out more about the brewery’s annual SurlyFest event, taking place September 23rd, here.

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Brew Studs Founder, Editor. Homebrewer. Good Damn Beer Drinker. Steward to Craft Beer Nation.

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