Posted 8 months ago | Beer, Reviews

Surly Frisson


Surly’s small batch program has been creating some interesting and limited releases as of late — or at least the samples they have graciously shared with me have been so. Frisson, a 9% ABV lager that was inspired by champagne, is another solid release from the brewery. It’s more the addition of blackcurrant and grapefruit, however, that entices me more so than any influence from another bubbly adult beverage.

Before we get into the aroma and flavors of this lager, let’s take a look at it’s moniker. Frisson is defined as “a sudden strong feeling of excitement or fear; a thrill.” While the beer is flavorful and dangerously easy drinking, I’m not so sure that I’m excited or afraid of what I encounter with each sip — Darkness, however, is another experience altogether. I’m afraid that Frisson’s mouthfeel isn’t quite as active or as champagne-like as expected. It’s not soft, mind you, but it’s not effervescent in my mind and I believe this is actually to the beer’s benefit.

Had Frisson been more sharp on the palate, I don’t believe that its blend of honey notes, bread, grain, blackcurrant and lightly bitter grapefruit would have gone over as well as it did for me, personally. The finish to this beer is certainly champagne-like with a good bit of dryness and lingering echo of everything that made its way over the tongue. The balance that Frisson presents is dangerous, making this 9% ABV brew dangerously smooth.

While I’ve encountered more active beers in terms of carbonation in my beery adventures, I still found Frisson to be quite enjoyable, though not really as strongly inspired by champagne as I would imagine. I found the blend of grapefruit and blackcurrant with the yeast and grain bill to make for an enticing and enjoyable drinking experience that left more of an impression than any lack of effervescence ever would.

This is a review of a promotional sample.


Somewhat muted amber in color with a tinge from the blackcurrant. A resilient cap of pillow white foam crowns the beer.

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