Here's a funny little ale that was originally a collaboration between Surly and Three Floyds, intended as a special beer at a Big Cat Sanctuary benefit at Northdown Taproom in Chicago, back in July, called Lions, Tigers, and Beers. I was in Chicago the week after and had a few glasses at Northdown, and took a photo, but no notes. (I also have completely procrastinated doing parts 2 and 3 of the beer-centric Chicago trip. Soon, soon!} Surly did their own version which debuted at the taproom, and I enjoyed a couple pours at my inaugural visit to the taproom in July. Soon, kegs started appearing at local bars, and I got one of my own for the Nile to include in our 5th version of the Hop Heads Only event, on August 24. Which brings us to today, when I finally sit down to write notes.
First a note on the name. Initially, I thought it was horrible, but no worse than other Three Floyds names. It is a bit odd for something you're about to push down your gullet, named it after something you'd rather you didn't but there are two meanings. One is that the hops utilized, Simcoe and Chinook, have, according to the brewer, and his wife, "that 'cat peed on the Christmas tree' aroma'."Linda has said before that she told her customers at their sadly-gone restaurant, Cafe 28, that Furious has a "your cat ate a grapefruit and peed on your Christmas tree" smell. I don't always get that, but if you have 5 cats, I'm sure you do. They also own hybrid cats, crossed between African servals and such and domesticated felines, but these beasts retain some wildness, hence the "urine trouble", therefore the benefits for wild cat sanctuarys. Some cannot handle the "urine trouble" and give the cats up or abandon them, and they have to find shelter in sanctuaries. It's not as simple as adopting a stray, or an unwanted kitten. I have only two cats, so I have just an inkling of what they go through. Linda once told me that they are part of the problem (not really], so they try to be part of the solution.
Here's the description I used in the menu for Hop Heads Only, which includes the official Surly description: "Originally brewed in collaboration with Three Floyds Brewing of Indiana, for a Big Cat Sanctuary Benefit (one connection for the unusual name). Says Surly: "Imperial Brett IPA fermented with the unique strain of yeast Brettanomyces Lambicus. This yeast creates earthy barnyard notes along with pineapple-cherry pie aromas and flavors. Of course with the "IPA" style it’s hopped heavily. Simcoe and Chinook are the culprits for the "Cat peed on the Christmas tree" aroma." (there's the other one.)"
And here are the notes I took earlier this afternoon:
Surly Urine Trouble Imperial Brett IPA, 9% ABV. Imperial IPA with Brettanomyces.
Clear, brilliant golden hue, slim, white head, leaving lace.
Aromatics: Fresh, wild and lovely Belgian funk keeps perfect time with citrus notes, tropical fruit, trickles of pine, and, sure enough, faintly though, a association with the litter box for those intimate with them. I think it's wonderful.
Taste: Bitterness greets the palate once the liquid goes past the lips, stays astringent and aspirin-y, while the weird Brett notes creep in underneath, spilling strangeness on the tongue. Sour and bitter, not in that order, remain the key notes through the life of the ale. Light-bodied, with a long, bitter finish, and astonishingly consumable, despite the high ABV. Wait…here it comes…nope, not yet. Soon, though...soon.
Here's another unique one from Surly(/Three Floyds} that doesn't quite seem like anything else you or I have had before. Unless you know something I don't?
I could drink this and drink this if it wouldn't get me going goofy…you don't want that, believe me.