SurlyFest vs. Summit Brewing 25th Anniversary Party: a beer drinker's dilemma


Locavore beer drinkers will be facing the mother of all dilemmas this fall: Surly Brewing Company's annual SurlyFest is falling on the exact same day as the Summit Brewing Company's 25th Anniversary Party.

What's a hop head to do?

As in previous years, SurlyFest goes down at the brewery in Brooklyn Center, where the parking lot will be transformed into a German-style beer garden from 2 until 6:17 p.m. on September 10. Tickets go on sale on August 1 at the brewery, and for $35 you get a half-liter beer stein, four beer tokens, and the freedom to stroll throughout the brewery. Live music and food vendors will be on-site as well.

Nearly simultaneously, wayyyy across town in St. Paul, the Summit folks will be throwing their bash from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. For $12, fans can come chill at the brewery (no tours however), listen to Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles, and imbibe buckets of their special Silver Anniversary Ale. Tickets went on sale online on Monday.

Beer conspiracy theorists have raised an eyebrow over the date choice and wondered, is this some kind of real-life beer war?

"It certainly was not conspiratorial," says Summit founder Mark Stutrud. "It was not designed as some kind of a face-off. No way in hell."

Stutrud says he's had his date picked for months. The party is also a benefit for the Minnesota Music Coalition, and the weekend of September 10 was the only one that didn't have a Caravan du Norde performance scheduled according to Stutrud.

So maybe this is Surly's doing? While brewery owner Omar Ansari couldn't be reached for comment, here's what they've posted on their Facebook page:

As you may know, Summit is having their 25th anniversary party on the same day. We realize this may be a conflict for some, but if you¹re thinking there's something behind it, your aluminum foil hat is too tight. The reality is we've had this date set since last year, it's always difficult finding a weekend in a busy fall that works for everyone. All in all, Sept. 10 will be a great day for Minnesota craft beer fans. Period. However and wherever you choose to celebrate, have fun, be safe and celebrate with Minnesota beer!

Controversy or no, at the very least it'll just be a very tough call for beer scenesters. Pick your poison.

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