Surly and Dangerous Man caused a bit of a stir last week when they announced a mysterious “blutp̈akt” on social media. Speculation immediately began to swirl and ranged from both breweries being acquired by AB-InBev to Surly canning beer for Dangerous Man. In the end however, the most obvious guess was the correct one: a collaboration beer.
Jerrod Johnson, one of the lead brewers at Surly, and Dangerous Man brewer John Leingang had been talking about collaborating for a while but their ideas were getting too big or too complex, so they recently decided to throw everything out and start anew. Leingang was at home doing some research into new recipes one night and came across a German porter that intrigued him.
Porter isn’t a style often associated with German beer. The Deutsch version carries less roast characteristics and a rounder profile than its British cousin. Its off-the-beaten-path-nature made it perfectly suited for this collaboration, Leingang and Johnson agreed. After all, both Surly and Dangerous Man pride themselves on doing things their own way, and in that vein they decided they didn’t want just one beer, but two distinct takes on the same recipe.
“Since we can’t mess with [brettanomyces yeast] at our place, I figured you guys can,” Leingang said of Surly’s original Brooklyn Center brewery where they make all of their sour beers.
The two liked the idea of the only difference between the beers being the yeast strain, and thus, the blood pact that is Blutp̈akt German Porter was born.
The grain bill and hops are the same for both beers and they were each aged on Black Swan Cooperage’s white ash honeycombs for a month in their respective fermenters. The Dangerous Man version was fermented with a German ale yeast and the Surly version includes the same strain in addition to Brettanomyces. Brewers from both Surly and Dangerous Man pitched in on the brew days at each other’s locations.
The Growler had a chance to try the beers this week along with representatives from both breweries. The Dangerous Man version sports light roast, wood, and toasted marshmallow qualities in the flavor and aroma and a clean, well-rounded finish. Surly’s has big tangy and funky notes on the nose that accentuate the woody and roasted qualities of the beer.
Okay, by now you’re probably tired of hearing about the beers and are wondering when and where you can drink some. Both will be tapped at noon on Saturday, May 21 for Art-A-Whirl in Northeast Minneapolis: Dangerous Man’s at their taproom and Surly’s a few blocks away at the 331 Club. (Surly will also have their version available in the Surly Beer Hall in the coming weeks and Dangerous Man will make a limited amount of theirs available in crowlers.)
As the Surly and Dangerous Man crews sat around a table on Wednesday afternoon trying the beers and joking about phallic-shaped cakes (don’t ask), it was clear that this collaboration was more about friends getting together to do something they love than a marketing ploy (though based on your reactions to their teasers last week it was also successful in that regard).
“It wasn’t about one of us using the other to better ourselves,” said Dangerous Man co-owner and creative director Sarah Bonvallet . “It was really just fun. We said, ‘Let’s get together and figure something out.’ I’ve really enjoyed watching it come together.”