Posted 2 years ago | Beer, Reviews

Surly Abrasive Ale


Surly Brewing is no stranger to hops. They’ve got their 16 Grit (a double IPA), their Xtra-Citra (hop-forward pale ale) and, of course, Furious. Now, fans of the brewery have another option to satiate any cravings for hops — Citra in particular — that may arise. Abrasive Ale is a 9.2% ABV double IPA that is packed with a pungent combination of new- and old-school characteristics.

As the press sheet that accompanied this sample of Abrasive Ale states, this beer is brewed with “Citra. So much Citra.” And as you would expect, it has that new-school, fruit-forward trait that drives all the kids wild these days. Lucious tropical fruits fill the air immediately upon pouring the double IPA. Old timers, like myself, can’t complain either as the beer packs in 100 IBU and a potent array of pine resin, grass and a touch of cattiness at the edges. The use of oats in the malt bill doesn’t really affect the flavor, but certainly gives Abrasive the fuller mouthfeel that it needs to support all those hops.

And while this big IPA is packed with hoppy goodness, it’s not mindless in its presentation. Yes, it has a solid amount of bitterness and single-minded focus on hop flavor, but that previously mentioned malt backbone does a wonderful job of keeping up in its own right. A light sweetness slides into play after the bite fades to a long lasting tingle. The beer isn’t necessarily balanced, but the brewery has done a great job of not letting this one get too far out there.

Surly Abrasive Ale is one of those beers that manages to combine much of what I love about the new IPAs on the market, as well as those big, biting hop bombs of yesteryear. It’s full-flavored with a great body and creates a thoroughly enjoyable drinking experience. Now, if only I can convince the company to start shipping to Virginia, or at the very least, my home.

This is a review of a promotional sample.


Abrasive Ale pours a hazy, golden straw in color with a dense cap of tawny foam. The head drops slowly to a thin ring and patchy surface covering.

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