Surly Brewing’s philosophy is that the beer is what matters most, above everything else. It’s a philosophy better poured than spoken or written.
That philosophy certainly rings true when you take a sip of SurlyFest, their “not a German style Oktoberfest bier”.
In fact, the beer SurlyFest has spawned an outdoor Oktoberfest celebration of the same name. 2017 SurlyFest, the 10th iteration, drops September 23rd.
So what makes SurlyFest a “not a German style Oktoberfest?” We recently found out when we dropped by for the SurlyFest brew day with head brewers Ben Smith and Jerrod Johnson.
First of all, the malt bill is 100% Weyermann®. Jerrod recommends that “Weyermann® malt should always be your starting point for recipes calling for classic German malt character.” SurlyFest is comprised of Weyermann® Vienna Malt, Weyermann® Rye Malt, Weyermann® CARARYE®, Weyermann® Melanoidin Malt, and Flaked Rye. American Sterling hops provide balanced bitterness and dry-hopping with Sterling hops adds bright, floral hop aromas. A German lager yeast is used on a 14.5º Plato wort.
Pictured on the left are some of the 1000kg totes, aka “super sacks”, of Weyermann® Vienna Malt used on this brew day.
25kg bagged malt of Weyermann® Rye Malt, Weyermann® CARARYE®, and Weyermann® Melanoidin Malt are added in between the super sacks of Vienna. This ensures a better mixing of the malt before entering the mash tun.
Ben Smith said it best that “while Surlyfest isn’t an authentic Oktoberfest style beer, we still wanted to use the most authentic German malts in the brewing process to produce the best beer possible. There is no better or more authentic German malt than Weyermann. In fact, we use some Weyermann specialty malt in almost every beer we make.”
Expect to see SurlyFest drop in liquor stores on the last week of August.