Beer Review: SURLY SMOKE

Beer Review: SURLY SMOKE

In terms of appearance, Surly Smoke pours a dark brown with a notable absence of a head. The visual presentation lacks the effervescence that often accompanies quality brews, giving it a rather subdued introduction.


The olfactory experience of Surly Smoke is dominated by the unmistakable scent of hickory-smoked ham. While the infusion of European traditions and American innovation is touted, the aroma doesn’t quite deliver on the promise of complexity. Instead, it leans heavily towards a singular, almost overpowering, smoky note.


Moving on to the taste, the beer unfolds with super-smoky malt characteristics reminiscent of hickory-smoked ham. Toasted notes make an appearance, adding a layer of depth, but the promised complexity seems to fall short. A slight sour twang in the finish attempts to break through, providing a fleeting moment of contrast. The alcohol content, standing at 8.2% by VOL., remains well-concealed behind the dominant smoke profile.


The mouthfeel of Surly Smoke is characterized by a full-bodied presence with only modest carbonation. While the weightiness adds to the beer’s overall richness, the lack of effervescence might be a drawback for those seeking a more dynamic sensory experience.


In summary, Surly Smoke presents itself as an intriguing, albeit somewhat polarizing, option. The smoky treat it promises is undoubtedly present, making it a noteworthy choice for enthusiasts of this particular flavor profile. However, the beer’s limited complexity and the absence of a well-defined head detract from what could have been a more nuanced and engaging drinking experience. Whether it’s a sipper or not, the lingering question remains whether the smoke is the only fire this brew brings to the table.