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Surly Brewing's Todd Haug stepping down as head of operations

Todd Haug and his magnificent beard are leaving Surly for "other opportunities and challenges" in the beer industry.

Todd Haug and his magnificent beard are leaving Surly for "other opportunities and challenges" in the beer industry.

Todd Haug, the metal head and mad scientist behind Surly Brewing's smashing success, is stepping down from his position with the popular Twin Cities beer company. 

Haug's departure was announced Wednesday morning, as owner Omar Ansari thanked Haug for being "an incredibly influential part of Surly since the beginning." Haug was around for Surly's founding in 2005, and has been experimenting with home brewing for going on three decades

"It never gets old to hear people tell you how much they enjoy your beer," Haug said in a statement. "Omar and I set out with the modest goal to build a brewery so we could create a different kind of craft beer -- the kind we wanted to drink -- and I think we achieved that.”

So large was Haug's presence and reputation as the brains behind the brew that Surly eventually named one for him: Todd the Axeman, a badass-looking IPA whose name honors Haug's skill with (and love for) the guitar. 

Haug says his leaving is "an opportunity" for other Surly brewers "to take the torch and continue the legacy we've been building for 10 years."

From the sounds of it, he'll be taking his torch somewhere else. The statement says Haug is leaving to "pursue other opportunities and challenges in the industry." Neither he nor Surly spell out just what that means, or where; the statement released Wednesday says it will be Surly's only comment on Haug's departure at this time.

"It’s been a hell of a ride with Todd in the front seat, keeping the music loud and the speed fast," the statement signs off. "He's the wizard, the bitter brewer and the creative genius.