Photo by Caitlin Abrams
I just had one of the best meals of my year and it was on the second floor of a brewery. Think about that for a minute. On paper, the Brewer's Table restaurant inside Surly Brewing doesn’t make a lot of sense. In fact, I heard the security guard at the front door trying to talk a young couple out of going there. “The servings are small,” he warned.
Is your typical Surly beer fan familiar with rabbit rillettes or puffed quinoa or salmorejo? (Salmorejo is a tomato/bread puree, by the way.) Is your typical fine dining fan willing to forego wine and cocktails in favor of beer pairings? I sure hope so, because the beer is fantastic, and the food coming from Chef Jorge Guzman is incredible.
My wife and I shared five courses—we selected a lamb taco snack ($5), vegetables with an abalone mushroom that looked like a giant hunk of foie gras ($16), the gorgeous and irresistibly Instagrammable tea egg ($14), an octopus dish shaped like Stonehenge ($17), and the rich, fatty, decadent pork jowl ($23). There is a chef/brewer pairing option, five courses with beer for $75. But the whole table has to do it, and frankly, sharing the five things we picked left us stuffed (and still only cost us $75 in food).
The technique here is top-notch, the flavors are bold and inventive. Our food came out very quickly, too, which makes me think you could make this a one-hour experience. (We were there about 90 minutes).
My wife likes beer, I love it, and she dug the idea of pairing food with beer. Surly has a large selection in the dining room, and you can order a 4-ounce taste for $3, which allows you to try a bunch of beers without getting full. Our server did a great job of suggesting pairings, we gravitated towards the Fiery Hell (a lager with dried puya chiles added) and the Mole Smoke (like a combo of the Fiery Hell and a cocoa enhanced porter).
As a couple, we had five beers ($15), plus five courses, and landed around $90. That’s terrific for what we ate and drank that night. The food downstairs in the Beer Hall is top-notch, and with the addition of the Brewer’s Table, Surly is on track to being one of my top picks in town. Who would have guessed that?
Brewer’s Table, 520 Malcolm Ave. SE, Mpls., 763-999-6526