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Surly Pizza Review: Does pizza from Minnesota’s most popular brewery live up to the hype?

Surly Pizza Upstairs: Quick Info

Buttercup Pizza. Pioneer Hitchhiker is also a staff favorite.

$9 to $15

Casual / Rowdy – just grab a beer, find some communal seating, and get surly.

(763) 999-4040

Monday-Thursday: 4 PM – 10 PM

Friday-Saturday: Noon – 11 PM

Sunday: Noon- 9 PM

Lot & Street (free)

This is it.

The pizza you’ve heard hyped for so long.

How could it not be, though? When Minnesota’s most popular brewery announced they were converting their upstairs area into a pizza party, I think we all collectively poured ourselves a Furious and cheers’ed to our good fortunes.

Nothing was more evident of this than during its first weekend in action, when Surly Pizza sold a mind-boggling 1,350 pizzas on its opening weekend.

The hype hasn’t died down over time either. In 2019, CityPages awarded Surly Pizza Upstairs their coveted best pizza in the twin cities award.

Maybe all this hype mixed with my natural crowd avoidance explains why one day, I realized Surly Pizza had been open for nearly a year and a half… and I still hadn’t been!

Shame, shame. If I was going to defend my honor as a Twin Cities blogger, I’d need to correct this ASAP. Never one to need much of an excuse to down a Todd The Axe Man, I invited a few friends and quickly got on it…

Surly Pizza Review

To get a full taste of how popular this Pizza had become, we planned our visit during what’s probably the busiest time possible: 7 PM on a Saturday night.

As expected, Surly on a Saturday was crowded. As in, “good luck finding a parking spot” crowded.

After a bit of a hike from the lot to the brewery, we continued our hike upward. Upstairs, that is, where all the magic happens.

Surly Pizza Upstairs

Passing through Surly’s massively crowded (and also massive) brewery hall, some irrational part of me expected the upstairs dining scene to be quiet.

Surly Brewing Taproom

Of course, I crested the final step to see an equally hustling and bustling pizza joint.

On the left, a line snaked past the beer bar. On the right, the pizza counter. And in the middle, hundreds of community seating style tables, all filled with patrons who from what I could tell, we’re having an absolute blast. Whether that was the beer or pizza talking, I was excited to find out.

Surly Pizza Menu

Surly Pizza Menu
Click for full size

Decisions, decisions.

In order to do a place like this justice, I knew we’d have to order both a red and a white sauce. The red choice was easy; it seemed everyone and their Uncle had, at one time or another, recommended I get the Kevin dressed up with pepperoni.

The white was proving a little tougher. I held a quick discussion with the cashier, who explained the two most popular white sauce options were the aptly named Walter White (potato, rosemary, garlic, parmesan, charred spring onions) and the Pioneer Hitchhiker… “If you’re feeling adventurous,” she clarified. That Pioneer Hitchhiker came with clams and garlic.

We eventually went rogue and decided on the Buttercup, a white sauce mix of 4 types of white cheese plus picked tomatoes and basil.

Oh, and we also got the Burrtta appetizer and the Riccota Cheesecake desssert. Because at this point, why the hell not.

Detailed Review

Burrata:

The burrata arrived first.

Surly Pizza Burrata

It was unlike any burrata I’d ever seen. Instead of the cheese ball I’d come to expect, it was instead a cheese ball smothered in a lake of some sort of tomato sauce/butter/pickled pepper concotion. Leave it to Surly to ramp up a usual staple.

The burrata was incredible. Dipping that roasted yet chewy bread into the buttery deliciousness was the stuff my dreams were made of.

The Kevin with Pepperoni

Surly Pizza Upstairs - The Kevin

This one I actually found a little overrated. Sure, it was a textbook NYC inspired thin slice and a great pizza on its own, but nothing about this screamed “best pizza in minneapolis” nor worthy of raving to all my friends about (like I’d heard people raving about it to me.)

The Buttercup

Surly Pizza Upstairs - Buttercup

OMFG out of this world awesome. Delicious cheese, perfectly sweet/sour pickled tomatoes. This… was pizza worthy of “best pizza in Minneapolis” discussion.

The Ricotta Cheesecake

Ate it too quick to get a pic!

No complaints here. Thick, creamy, sweet, and tasty. Turns out these guys can do more than just pizza. (We also saw about a million tables with the Canolis ordered, so that’s got me curious as well.)

Final Thoughts

Surly Pizza Upstairs does mostly live up to the hype.

In my opinion, the white sauce Buttercup absolutely stole the show, with the burrata very closely behind.

The trend I’m seeing here is that the unusual, more experimental dishes seem to be the Surly specialty.

If I were to come back (who am I kidding, when I come back) I will take that observation and run with it, which most likely means following the employee recommendation of the unusual yet intriguing Pioneer Hitchhiker. If I can pry myself away from that Buttercup pizza, that is…

And the one piece I haven’t yet mentioned, which of course goes without saying, is that any pizza served alongside Surly’s world-class beer is bound to taste that much better.

Cheers!

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