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Review: ‘Taylor’ and ‘Travis’ IPAs from Surly Brewing Co.

Surly scores another touchdown with a new pair of IPAs.
Image by Ethan Lambert
The “Taylor” and “Travis” IPAs from Surly Brewing Company.

With the Super Bowl fast approaching on Sunday, Surly has jumped on the Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce relationship bandwagon. The brewery is featuring beers named after the pop star and the Chiefs’ tight-end in their taproom.

The beers are described on Surly’s website as using the same hop, but different yeasts: “our two newest IPAs both utilize Hopsteiner’s experimental #16660 hop. One uses our house yeast, the other uses Omega’s Cosmic Punch thiolized yeast.”

The two beers prove to be an enticing pair, as they are similar yet have distinct differences. If you order both beers, the “Travis” is the hazy one whereas the “Taylor” is translucent. Both IPAs have a 7% ABV.

A variety of beers available on tap at Surly Brewing Company.

The “Travis” is a very approachable IPA, as its bitterness is not overwhelming and its overall flavor is subdued relative to some stronger-tasting IPAs, adding up to a smooth drinking experience. Its flavor is comparable to what you might expect from a hazy IPA — citrusy and slightly tart.

The “Taylor” IPA, however, is even better. It is particularly light and sweet, giving it a wine-like feel, which sets it apart from a traditional IPA. IPA newcomers can feel comfortable trying this one. For an IPA, there is nothing about the “Taylor” that might feel too overwhelming or strong.

While the “Travis” IPA is smooth, the “Taylor” is much smoother. The slight bitterness of the “Taylor” is counteracted by a bright orangey sweetness that proves to be a delectable combination of flavors.

It appears Surly sought to create two different but accessible beers from the same hop variety — a pairing that, as their website states, “ideally floods the Beer Hall with Swifties and/or fans of elite tight-end play in the dead of winter.” 

When considering that goal, while the “Travis” is a solid beer, the “Taylor” is overall more memorable and enjoyable.

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