There are only three things that could possibly make Surly Brewing better than it already is, and since they're not likely to start charging $0 for their beer and/or offering a bikini-clad home delivery service anytime soon, it's good that they've made number three a reality with the creation of their taproom.
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Surly was pretty much THE driving force behind the taproom law 2yrs ago, and while like a bazillion (give or take a few) other breweries have opened them since, Surly's been so busy making plans for their new destination brewery that it took 'em a little longer to get to it. And with the "new" Surlys not due until early 2015, they decided to refurbish the current space.
Here's the actual taproom. Layout-wise, it's pretty much the same as when it was a lobby/sampling room/tour-start area, so while they've added tables, chairs, drinking rails, and art, the real big change is that you can go buy and drink beers there Weds-Sat. Since Surly has always been one of the toughest tickets in town, it's now way more accessible then ever before, likely to make locals way less... wait for it... grumpy.
The bar itself was part of the original build-out, as they were always hoping someday they'd have a taproom. Now that they do, they spruced it up with a magnetic metal menu board, more art, and, cha-ching, cash registers.
At any given time, they can accommodate up to 10 taps, with ever-present mainstays like Furious and CynicAle, but also beers you could previously only find at festivals and special bar tappings like Cacao Bender.
The taproom's also the only place you can get some of the one-off and specialty beers, and the only place you're likely to have someone like Linda Haug, Surly's director of resto operations, or her husband Todd, the head brewer, or Omar Ansari himself, as the person pouring said beer.
Doesn't that look pretty?
Also available at the taproom: cans and MN-made Joia Soda... and whatever that invisible beverage at the upper right is.
Oh, and that gift shop that has impossibly long lines during events like SurlyFest? Bam. At your disposal during taproom hours.
You can also get these sweet hats. Before they existed, there were actually four things that could make Surly better.