Surly Abrasive pours into the glass revealing a clear-ish deep golden hue. The white foam, while initially large, lacks the desired head retention for the style. The beer, contained in a 16 oz. can, emanates a slightly underwhelming visual appeal.


Upon the first whiff, there is a potent scent reminiscent of nail polish remover, quickly fading to unveil a bouquet featuring starfruit, chamomile, pineapple, green banana, and a faintly fusel and boozy note akin to white rum. Subsequent tastings present a more favorable olfactory experience with fresh red grapefruit, thick melon rinds, green banana, and hints of pineapple upside-down cake. The tropical fruit essence expected from Citra hops becomes more apparent and inviting.


Abrasive’s initial impact is a robust hit of white alcohol, followed by a compellingly bitter mid-palate. The beer treads the fine line between overwhelming and pure hop-addict bliss. Notably, the intense mango skin and grapefruit peel bitterness contributes to a powerful yet non-abrasive experience. The bitterness registers at a solid 9 out of 10 on the scale, maintaining an enjoyable balance throughout.


The base beer offers a rich and chewy texture, accompanied by a subtle sugar density, honey rolls, and a touch of silkiness to counterbalance the high IBU level. The mouthfeel unfolds as juicy, showcasing a dynamic interplay between sweetness and bitterness that persists through a lengthy finish. Despite the intensity, the beer manages to maintain a great balance.


Since its introduction in 2008, Surly Abrasive remains a stalwart presence, demonstrating a resilience that defies aging. The beer, a heavyweight Double IPA, skillfully achieves a delicate equilibrium between sugar, alcohol, maltiness, and bitterness. This enduring offering continues to stand as a classic exemplar of the DIPA style, showcasing complexity and balance that transcends the test of time.