If you live in the Twin Cities and haven’t been to the newly built Surly Beer Hall, you owe it to yourself to be a true Minnesotan and go there. Even if you don’t like beer, you need to go here. The place is massive. The place is modern. The place is warm. The place is fun. I’m not a brewery tour guy, usually. I’ve done a handful and they’re enjoyable, but I simply don’t care about the process enough to care. But Surly has what a lot of other brew pubs and breweries don’t – amazing food. The menu has some low-brow standard bar food fare, and then they have some pretty top-notch items. They serve soda there if you’re not a beer drinker, so there’s really no reason you shouldn’t go here.
They have a regular rotating selection of Surly beers (obviously). They have the standards that everyone is familiar with, but they also have a very through representation of many of their seasonal items. You can put your name on the waiting list to get seated at a table (there WILL be a wait) (and no reservations), OR you can walk through the dining room, look at everyone else’s food, and look for the sign that says Beer Here. It’s a beer-only line and they have beer menus that describe the beers available, with alcohol contents, prices, IBUs, and such.
We got seated pretty quickly this time around. D.Rough and I have been here a few times, but the first time is really the only time I’ve taken photos. I tried a couple of different beers – a flight is sometimes the best route when you can’t decide. And by "flight", I mean order four beers. Then we also ordered some Hog Frites. It’s French fries covered in giardiniera, pepperjack fondue, and smoked pork.
The food came out very quickly and we dug in. This quick appetizer was more than enough for both of us to appease our appetites and not require us to order anything additional. The flavor of the pork was amazing and the giardiniera was the perfect accompaniment to the cheese. There isn’t anything on the menu I wouldn’t recommend here. Everyone really seems to be into the burgers here (not sure if it’s just because it’s the cheap option or if it’s because they are that amazing. I suppose I should try one, just to be sure. But there are soooo many other delicious things listed on the menu that I feel bad only going for the burger.
While you’re waiting, or after dinner, you should walk around the place. There’s a merchandise shop with tons of really fun shirts, hats, mugs, and other things. There’s a nice upstairs bar area, as well as some fun meeting rooms (I’ve heard they book fast, so jump on it now if you want to book a room). They have a huge balcony, both inside and outside, overlooking what’s going to be an amazing summer courtyard. And of course, look through the glass at all the shiny metal awesomeness that actually makes the beer you’re drinking. You’ll notice tiny details like the railings being sloped just enough that you can’t set your beer on them – brilliant and very safe.
Seriously, just hop on the light rail and go to the Beer Hall. It’s worth the trip. It’s very Minnesota-modern (very new, but still lots of woodwork). Try everything on the food and beer menus, and be sure to tip your servers and bartenders.
Top 5 things about the New Surly Beer Hall
1. Old standards and new favorite seasonal beers all in one spot
2. Hog Frites
3. TONS of space
4. Outside garden area is going to be amazing
5. Just off the light rail stop, bike path, and by the TCF Stadium, and has a HUGE parking lot
Bottom 5 things
1. There will likely be a considerable wait when you try to eat here – worth it, though
2. There will be people who don’t know about the wait list who will snag any open table they see right in front of you
3. You can’t eat here anonymously – all of your friends will be here every time you go
4. If you accidentally press on the pint glass sprayer behind the bar, it WILL spray 15 feet in all directions
5. You will like this place so much, you shouldn’t drive home