Four and a half years and over $30 million dollars in the making, the Surly Destination Brewery finally opens at 11 a.m. today. This day has been courteously dubbed Surly Brewing Day by the city of Minneapolis, which is (understandably) proud to host the popular brewery that opened in Brooklyn Center in 2006 and has now moved into a larger, more ambitious space within the city limits.
The space is wide open, with community seating and a large bar containing three tap stations and space for 18 different beers, though they will open with 12. The seating is primarily community tables that allow strangers to engage in conversation, but there are four- and six-seat tables that give personal space as well. In addition to the beer lineup, Surly will serve sodas, coffee, and local tea, with plans for house-made sodas in the future.
There is also a pretty killer menu.
Chef Jorge Guzman has crafted a selection of delicate and easily accessible salads, smoked meats, and charcuterie to offer at the new space. "All the food is very approachable," he says. "It should be."
Upstairs, a second restaurant will open this spring with a menu focused on more formal dining and beer pairings, but for now the menu in the downstairs taproom is less focused on perfect food-beer pairings, and more on universal flavors that appeal to all: delectable brisket, for instance, and a buttery and delicious cornbread that can be ordered in individual servings or by the pan.
After all, the taproom experience is a social one and the atmosphere in the new space is community-minded, for patrons to come for the beer, order a plate, and then continue to imbibe as the night progresses.
The meats were especially well prepared, fatty when needed to complement a beer pairing. The salads are light and focused on well-defined flavors, as in the bitter greens with poached pear, burnt honey vin, and sheep's milk cheese.
The new taproom's two floors can accommodate around 500 patrons, with additional room in a still-to-come outdoor beer garden.
From the taproom, Surly fans will have full view of the brewhouse and a lot of expensive stainless steel gadgetry. There is a floor-to-ceiling window that showcases the brewhouse, dubbed "our $4 million piece of art" by Surly owner Omar Ansari while giving a tour. It fully brings the welcoming atmosphere into its new industrial space, which is perfectly suited to the view of the future beer garden, now a white and snowy profile of concrete and aging industrial towers off Malcolm Ave. SE.
It's hard for a project to match the hype of four-plus years, but Surly does so in the beautiful building sandwiched in industrial zoning between the U of M's East Bank and Highway 280. The space is modern in design: open, warm, and spacious, but also fitting to its industrial neighborhood, utilizing steel and wood (from Wood From the Hood Company, who reclaimed Minneapolis walnut and elm for the walls and bar) to decorate the luxurious space that is part restaurant, part community center, part amphitheater, part beer garden (when summer eventually comes), and all brewery.
The brewery will be open Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. to midnight. It is a short walk from the Prospect Park stop on the Green Line LRT.
At opening, the full menu of foods will be available along with the following twelve taps: Todd the Axeman Damien Doomtree Cynic Furious Overrated Bender Cacao Bender Coffee Bender Hell Eight Devil's Work
Surly Beer Hall 520 Malcolm Avenue SE, Minneapolis.
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