Beer Review #100: Surly Hell

surlyLike most people who have tried their beers, I have really taken a liking to Surly’s product ( Furious, Abrasive, Bender, and Coffee Bender are all fabulous beers that I’ve tried from them. Lately, a buddy and I have taken to ordering some beers from places like and France44 works out really well if you are in the mood for some Surly beers and with my buddy’s latest order he took a shot on a Surly beer neither one of us had tried yet.

I will be the first to admit that I haven’t had much experience with dortmunder or helles style beers but after trying Hell, it seems to me that Surly is doing this style justice. The name was kind of misleading to me at first; I was thinking of some sort of chipotle or pepper beer but instead, Hell is referring to the German word for light.  This beer was definitely light in the pour with a golden hazy pour with a nice sized head. Very bready and yeasty in the aroma. Definitely get the pils malt with the first few drinks and the bread follows through with a hint a lemon citrus. Slight hops follow to round out this extremely drinkable offering from Surly. Maybe the perfect accompaniment to a summer BBQ? I think this would do nicely.  Description from the brewery:

Finally, a Surly beer my German mother will drink. She says this one tastes like a bier from back home. Not unlike a Zwickel Bier from Germany, Hell is our filtered and fermented with lager yeast, American hops takes a back seat to the Pils malt sweetness and fresh bread aroma. The color is well… hell (Deutsch for light). It’s fiendishly drinkable, and you don’t have to sell your soul to get another.

The style of this beer isn’t one that is often talked about currently. IPAs, barrel-aged, sours, are dominating headlines with most craft beer drinkers but if you want to try different styles and try them when they are done right, I think Surly can be proud of this beer. This could also quite possibly be a great transition beer for those looking to get into the craft beer world. Rumblings of Surly wanting to expand a bit continues through the midwest and here’s hoping that they make it south to the lovely state of Iowa.


Style: Helles/Dortmunder


Purchased at:

Pour: Golden straw color with a thick white head.

Aroma: Bread, yeast, light citrus.

Flavor: Lots of breadiness with lemon and bit of hops. rating: 90/100 rating: 88/100

Overall: B

My recommendation: A great beer for the style, extremely drinkable. Surly continues to do things and if you can get up north to Minnesota to get some, buy a bunch, or order from 

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