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A door built for beer: Surly Brewing and the Ultimate Lift and Slide

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Craft beer is a hot trend right now (and frankly, we think it is here to stay). Not only do local brewers make delicious beers, their breweries are often very unique spaces. If you have ever drank a Surly beer, you’ve probably thought, “Now this is a beer for people who love beer!” Whether hoppy or bitter, Surly’s brews are always bold. So when they decided to open a beer hall and restaurant, it was only natural that the architecture meet that standard of boldness. The architect, Steven Dwyer of HGA, gave us some insight on what it was like to design this space.

Q: What attracted you to this project?

A: It was a no brainer in terms of being attracted to it. I was attracted to the incredible Surly story and the vision that the client brought to the project. I’ve also really had an affinity for industrial architecture all my life, plus I like to party.

Q: Have you worked on any other brewery projects in the past?

I have not worked on a brewery before, but much of my experience has been in cultural work, in essence creating spaces for the celebration of events and large gatherings where creating the right background for person to person or group to group engagement is critical.

Q: Were there any special design considerations in this project?

Creating the right background or backdrop for human engagement, be it with one another, the beer gardens or the brew house, which is the heart of the entire facility was a key driver in the design.

Q: How did you decide on using Marvin for Surly?

Using the Marvin Ultimate Lift and Slide Door allowed us to create a 10’ high by 40’ wide opening between the beer hall and beer deck, ultimately allowing us to connect from the brew house all the way to the stage in the amphitheater.

Q: That Lift & Slide is extremely large—did you design the room around the door, or did the need for such a large door come later in the design process?

The large opening where the Ultimate Lift and Slide is was a conceptual driver from the start. We compared several options and decided from operational and thermal performance abilities. And the door’s visibility through the system when the panels are closed, with narrow rails and stiles, fit the bill perfectly.

Q: Any favorite parts of the project?

Having a client with a strong vision and the willingness to see it through. The lift and slide system is a perfect case in point. One of the most delightful surprises I’ve had is see how absolutely fantastic it is to be in the beer hall with the doors open while it’s raining or storming.

Q: Do you have a favorite Surly brew?

Darkness is out of hand delicious but like so many Furious is my regular go to.

Thanks Steven! If you’re ever in the mood to drink some good beer, eat some good food and see a pretty fantastically large door, then you will definitely want to stop by Surly.

Photos: Paul Crosby, courtesy of HGA