It was announced earlier this year that Minnesota's Surly Brewing Company had plans to release a special beer in conjunction with the famous Minneapolis music venue First Avenue. "First Ave.", as it is known, was initially a bus station that was later turned into a music venue that largely rose to fame thanks to Prince.

The First Avenue 1+ beer went on sale exclusively at First Avenue properties and The Depot from March 22 through April 1, and went on sale in stores on Monday, April 2. With the beer having just been released this week and the fact that I am in the Twin Cities for the Frozen Four, I figured I had to sample the beer. You know, for research purposes.

At first glance, the box and can both share that iconic white on black text and skyline the music venue bears. On one side of the can is an inscription paying homage to Prince, the brewery and the venue, reading:

Dearly Beloved,

An old Minneapolis Bus Station. An Abrasive factory in the 'burbs. From these humble beginnings sprang the last great rock club in the country and one of America's leading craft breweries. A collaboration just makes sense

First Avenue and Surly Brewing Co. are proud to present 1+, an easy-drinking, classic-style golden ale that's perfect for the Entry, the Mainroom, or anywhere the music hits you.

1+. You're on the list.

1+ is a golden ale that is described as a "light-bodied, low-ABV beer" by the Surly website. Upon first taste, you get a sense of a light, refreshing beer that would drink well with a meal, at a concert, or around a bonfire on a summer night. While it is a lighter beer, don't let that make you think it lacks flavor. While 1+ is refreshing, it is also a well-blended and complex beer that still has a place among full-flavored craft beers.

Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

The First Avenue 1+ has a pretty low bitterness, with just enough hoppiness to let you know its there without being overpowering. This is a craft beer that all beer lovers can appreciate. It is complex and flavor-rich enough for craft beer fanatics to love. It is also well balanced and refreshing enough where even beer lovers that don't like some of the traditional craft beer characteristics will still enjoy 1+.

All things considered, Surly and First Avenue did a great job creating a beer that does what they sought out to do; be an enjoyable beer that would go well with a concert (or really any other activity where a refreshing beer would be tasty). This beer is easily one of my new favorites as an all-purpose summertime beer and will definitely be part of many camping, fishing, and bonfire excursions.

The beer offers 5.1% alcohol by volume, and features Sterling hops, English Ale yeast, and CMC 2-Row, Wyeremann Carafoam, Flaked Corn malts.

Surly First Avenue +1 is sold in stores where Surly is available in 16-ounce 4-packs.

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