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MankerBeer Meets: Pre-CBC: Todd Haug/Surly Brewing

Photo: Surly Brewing

Photo: Surly Brewing

With only a few days left until Copenhagen Beer Celebration 2013 kicks off the events and random craziness that will take place at the Celebration and around in Copenhagen are slowly being announced. We hope to be able to give a summary of it all later tomorrow, but until then we continue with our pre-interviews. Today we give you Todd Haug, head brewer at Surly Brewing Company – creator of wicked beers such as Furious, Darkness and Abrasive. Less background and more talk, all in!


MankerBeer (MB): Most beer geeks with knowledge about top US breweries are likely to have heard of Surly Brewing – but many have not, how would you describe the brewery and your role there?
Todd Haug (TH): I’m in charge of recipe development, raw material procurement, process flow design,fabrication and metal.

MB: Before starting your brewing career you were playing guitar in the metal band Powermad touring the US and releasing EP’s – have your background as a musician had any impact on you as a brewer?
TH: Powermad is still together,new record coming out this year mixed by Daniel Bergstrand!I discovered the beauty of local beer while on tour at the age of 19.That drove me into home brewing which ultimately got me my first brewery job at the age of 21.

MB: Breweries using cans instead of bottles are sometimes questioned when it comes to the ability of aging darker beers. How well does a beer like Surly Darkness?
TH: We package our beer that is designed to be consumed as fresh as possible, in cans. What we feel is “ageable” beer, we bottle in 750ml.I don’t however think there is any problem with aging beer in cans.

MB: In a 2010 interview with Serious Eats you were asked about future expansion plans, with the answer that none were likely in the near future. In 2011 the “Surly Bill” was passed – a bill permitting Surly to sell beer on its premises but also to be able to expand. How important was the change of legislation for the growth of the brewery?
TH: Very important,without it we wouldn’t be building new facility!

New production brewery is in the planning design phase.A 100 Barrel brewhouse from ROLEC shows up in early 2014 with plans to be brewing in June.The new brewery will have a beer hall,restaurant and gardens.

MB: Are there any new future expansions or plans to add new markets for distribution?
TH: Yes but only after we satisfy Minnesota’s thirst!

MB: Several breweries with limited distribution but with a high (inter-/) national demand have seen their beers frequent on the internet, either on E-bay or on trade forums at Rate Beer and Beer Advocate. What is your take on not being able to control the freshness of the beer and how it is sold, stored and handled?
TH: It is a problem for all breweries regardless of size, once the product is sold its very hard to dictate how they should re-sell it or store it. We date code all of our cans to give the consumer the power to decide to buy or not based on the age of the beer. The power of the “sale” should get the message to re-sellers….don’t sell out of date beer!

MB:  Instead of the traditional pairing beer with food question I thought I’d let you pick your favorite Surly beer as well as one non-Surly favorite to each pair with a song of your choice. What song with what beer?
TH: ArchGoat-“Blessed Vulva” paired with Surly-“Darkness”
PigDestroyer-“Permanent Funeral” paired with Three Floyds-Permanent Funeral”

MB: Speaking of music and beer, what would you rather do – listen to Justin Bieber for a full hour or drink a case of Miller Lite?
TH:Miller Lite all the way!Fuck Bieber

MB: What should beer fans at Copenhagen Beer Celebration really not miss?


Thank you Todd! The complete beer list will be updated and changed tomorrow, but as not everyone has seen Surly’s crazy line-up we will present it an extra time below. Changes may occur, rock n’ roll, metal and beery craziness might flourish so think Pink and try them all.


Surly Brewing’s CBC Beer List:

  • Pentagram
  • Abrasive
  • Mild
  • Darkness
  • Furious
  • Coffee Bender
  • Bender
  • Cynic
  • Sÿx
  • Hell
  • Smoke
  • Seven
Magnus "Manker" Björnstjerna

Grundare och skribent på Från ett fokus på allt vad USA har att erbjuda och med en kärlek till gedigen amerikansk mat, bra bourbon och framförallt all landets fantastiska öl har Manker nu börjat förstå storheten i belgisk öl.

Magnus "Manker" Björnstjerna

Grundare och skribent på Från ett fokus på allt vad USA har att erbjuda och med en kärlek till gedigen amerikansk mat, bra bourbon och framförallt all landets fantastiska öl har Manker nu börjat förstå storheten i belgisk öl.

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2 Responses to “MankerBeer Meets: Pre-CBC: Todd Haug/Surly Brewing”


  1. […] den internationella ölscenen på ett sätt ingen riktigt gjort förut. Jag satt och drack öl med Todd Haug (Surly Brewing) och hans trevliga fru Linda på torsdagen och någon dag senare så ropar Linda glatt att jag […]

  2. […] slogs jag över hur allt bottnar i att göra det man är och det man gillar. På samma sätt som Todd Haug på Surly Brewing Company och Sam Cruz från Against the Grain har en grund inom metal och en hård […]

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