I do not know what sacrifices the organizers of SurlyFest 2015 offered the weather gods (kegs of beer, some of Chef Guzman’s pork plates or unsuspecting college freshmen thinking it was a U of M homecoming ritual) but it worked. On a picture perfect Saturday afternoon the brewery celebrated their 8th annual Surlyfest which was the 1st in their new location. Even with a Gopher football game going on nearby, getting there and parking was smooth. Well organized parking is usually a sign of good things to come. Guest were greeted with a souvenir mug, food/beer tickets and a couple of info leaflets. The mugs were put to good use during the afternoon, and certainly look better in pictures then plastic cups.
*******Disclaimer: Yours truly is Austrian born and raised. Take opinions with a grain of salt (or two)******
A variety of Surly Brews were available including some limited batches such as SurlyFest, #Merica!, Doomtree and Cultivate. The food choices had a German flair but Chef Guzman applied his own twist. The Pork Plate was delicious, the Curry Wurst a reminder of late night visits to a Wuerstelstand (Sausage Cart) back home. The Gulasch was tasty but went way off the Gulasch reservation as far as traditionalists are concerned. Noodles? Carrots? GASP!!!
The Bratwurst Brothers kicked off the musical entertainment with a decent impression of a German Bierzelt band. Their mix of Germanic staples, their own material and some lesser known German/Austrian songs was well received. Their rendition of the Bavarian drinking chant Oans, Zwoa, Gsuffa would have caused a Bierzelt brawl in Munich. One does simply not use Hochdeutsch in a Bavarian Drinking Song.
DJ Shannon Blowtorch spun between sets with a great mix of classics and newer songs.
3 Minute Hero took over next and the 8 piece ska band got many in the crowd off the benches and move their beer closer to the stage. Ska is always good to keep a party going and the band did a great job at that.
I missed Mark Mallman due to schedule constraints (sorry)
The mood at SurlyFest was relaxed. Lines for beer were reasonable and short for food. Aki’s Breadhaus was on hand with Brezn (Bavarian for Pretzels) and the sleeper hit of the festival: a Brezn necklace. Overall I found SurlyFest to be very enjoyable, well organized and I appreciated the chill attitude of the guests.
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