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Best dishes countdown #61: Surly Darkness (2015)

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Surly is killing it with their annual Russian imperial stout Darkness, a beer that has a national cult following, an annual Brooklyn Center slumber party, and all kinds of street cred among beer aficionados.

In 2015, it came in both a barrel-aged version and in “regular,” an 11.5% ABV pitch black brew that, despite the drooling evil-eyed bat on the label, is as smooth and comforting as a cuddly puppy.

While it fits into the imperial stout style annually, Darkness is a new beer each time the calendar turns. This year’s breed is black with a big foamy head and an aroma that smells of bitter coffee with notes of chocolate, prune, and a fusel alcohol that stings the nostrils. That sensory impression is rugged but nuanced, rich and decadent, powerful and self-assured. It’s usually served in a tulip glass but would be right at home in a royal chalice.

100: Caramel-Bacon Puffcorn at Red Cow

99: Pappadams from the Curry Diva

98: The Kingfield at Five Watt

97: Raspberry Cream Scone at Sun Street Breads

96: Bacon and Bourbon from 6Smith

95: Biscuits and Gravy at Ward 6

94: Burgers from Peppers and Fries

93: The Everything Bagel from Rise Bagel Co.

92: Bent River Camembert from Alemar Cheese

91: Two large pizzas and a pitcher of beer, Original Red's Savoy

90: Boiled Peanut Hummus at 4 Bells

89: Chaksuka from Shish

88: Fried Green Tomato BLT from Butcher and the Boar

87: Charcuterie Board at Surly Beer Hall & Restaurant

86: Quiche from Le Town Talk

85: Aloo Tama from the Himalayan

84: Caramelized Cauliflower at Libertine

83: Banh Mi Joy Dog at Prairie Dogs

82: Salmon Poke at District Fresh Kitchen & Bar

81: Savory Waffle at Birchwood Cafe

80: Kofta from Mim's

79: Medianoche at La Ceiba

78: Spicy Golden Tofu from Peninsula

77: Chicken Fantastic from Safari

76: Ramen at Zen Box

75: Puttanesca at Foreign Legion

74: Salted caramel hazelnut tart at Eastside

73: Pastas at Monello

72: Housemade sausages at Ox Cart Ale House

71: Indeed's Rum King

70: Pernil from Tinto Cocina + Cantina

69: Beef tartare at the Commodore

68: Dry rub chicken at Breaking Bread

67: The footlong burrito at El Taco Riendo

66: Eggs Benedict at Grand Cafe

65: Vanilla buttercream donut from Bogart's

64: Chicken and waffles at Bradstreet Craftshouse

63: Umeboshi sour at Tattersall Distilling

62: Lobster deviled eggs at Lela