Doomtree and Surly Reclaim the Bar Crawl for the Twin Cities

Seven establishments, including Turf Club, currently have Surly Doomtree on tap.

Seven establishments, including Turf Club, currently have Surly Doomtree on tap.

Doomtree and Surly Brewing joined forces on Sunday in an effort to reclaim the bar crawl from the primordial.

The Twin Cities rap collective led two separate tours -- one coursing through Minneapolis and the other tackling St. Paul -- with both ending in a secret show in Northeast at CO Exhibitions. The crawl was in celebration of the supergroup's collaboration with Surly Brewing, which will be available at the crawl's locations as well as the Turf Club and all other Blowout events for a limited time.

After the past week, Minneapolis denizens could logically be sick of Doomtree. After announcing their new album All Hands on Tuesday and taking over the Current for six uninterrupted hours on Friday, they kicked off their farewell Blowout concert series Saturday. But that's one of the unfuckwitably cool things about Minneapolis -- we have a symbiotic relationship with the Wings and Teeth.

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Slideshow: The Doomtree X Bar Crawl

On the Minneapolis side of things, the day began amicably at Uptown's Muddy Waters. Between the bused-in patrons and the Vikings crowd, the bar was considerably crowded, but getting a beer wasn't too much of a hassle. Bartenders were pouring the collaborative ale with factory persistence.


The beer is typically brusque for a Surly offering, though it finishes nicely with an apricot bloom. Surly Doomtree is certainly kinder to your palate than the Brooklyn Center craft brewer's median brew, making it a widely appealing ale that does right by the local legends, all of whom mixed gleefully with their fans along the tour.

Cecil Otter, Sims, Dessa, and Mike Mictlan all tagged along the Minneapolis triumvirate, sharing a bus with fans and VIPs, with P.O.S., Paper Tiger, and Lazerbeak heading the other charge. Seeing Doomtree representatives out and around the city is barely novel for Twin Cities residents, but it's always refreshing to see them so approachable.

While all four sipped their namesake concoction, Cecil Otter made a group of guys howl with laughter on the patio while Mictlan vaped with a beardo in an arm sling and Dessa smiled for selfies with fans. This was par for the course with the bar crawl -- the united sense of purpose and communal appreciation for Doomtree drew the masses together in a way that no frat-boy soiree can.

Things moved along to First Ave appendix the Depot Tavern at 4 p.m. The Depot was, of all the bars, the most prepared for the crowds. Bartenders had Doomtree pre-poured, and their ample seating gave day drinkers a chance to fill their bellies with some greasy fare before drowning in more of the grog. The Doomtree family took a booth in the back, gorging themselves on poutine and suds, in anticipation of a yet-unrevealed set they'd be performing later in the night.

Herein lied the genius of the bar crawl's design -- by giving patrons a chance to soak up the alcohol, Doomtree and Surly kept the keel fairly even. On the other side of the crawl, St. Paul boozehounds were scarfing Pizza Luce, showing a definite intention in the traveling drunk tank's design.

Plenty of folks managed to get sloppy despite this precaution. "Oh my god," complained one patron by the bar, "I have a work party in an hour!" "That's going to be entertaining," her companion said, "because you're drunk as FUCK." Elsewhere, a group discussed the recent fast food protests with increasing drunkenness while competitive snowmobiling played on the screen. Things were trending toward your nightmare scenario of a pub crawl by the time the party moved to the Red Stag.

It was almost as if no one told the Stag they'd be hosting 50 thirsty local hip-hop enthusiasts. Though the bar probably isn't mapped to too many binge drinking festivals, lines at the bar were unconscionably long, with only two bartenders (one of whom was working service) holding down the line.

As the staff scrambled to catch up, things fell apart. (The manager even clocked a piss-filled customer with his office door while the man waited in line for the bathroom.) It was somewhere close to an utter clusterfuck, but luckily the crowd was well lubricated by this point. The Surly/Doomtree faction had a loud cheers as they gulped shots, letting any service malfunctions melt away in the burn of unchased liquor.

Despite the fact that the mood was one of community and collaboration, the Surly/Doomtree bar crawl couldn't fully escape the characteristics that make bar crawls so impeachable. Traffic to the tap handles was slow, spillage and slurring both abounded, and the general suffocating mass of humanity was nearly too much to endure, but the fact that all in attendance were members of Team the Best Team did somewhat improve things. Especially once the group brought their friends and VIPs over to CO Exhibitions.

"I'm on that Doomtree!" hollered an admittedly hammered P.O.S. as the hometown rappers took the stage. The art gallery was filled with generously buzzed fans by this point, and the group (especially Sims and Cecil Otter) were entertainingly drunk by the time they began.

Those in attendance were treated to three new powerpacks from Doomtree's upcoming album, while the collective also reprised "Boltcutter," P.O.S.'s "Get Down," and "Bangarang" before turning back to the sauce for the night, because Sunday was about Doomtree just as much as it was about the artists getting good and plastered with the people who unrelentingly support their art.

Yes, bar crawls can be cesspools of overindulgence and fuckery, but when you're riding with your city's marquee rap artists and the vibes are as pure as the were Sunday, things like belligerent barflys and dipshit managers don't detract much. That's the beauty of the Doomtree family -- they make the banal (and even insidious) rituals of life worth dragging your bleary bones around town.

Overheard in the crowd: Surly dude to Cecil Otter as the bus got ready to leave Muddy Waters: "Five minutes! And not 'band time' five minutes -- five fucking minutes!"

Random notebook dump: P.O.S., who once rapped, "I don't like drinking, and I fucking hate coffee shops" now has a beer styled after his rap group in addition to having a beverage at Urban Bean in his name.



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