Dec 30, 2016

Pen Druid Cyclops

Please note, the review has been updated based on additional information from the brewery.

Back in late October, the wife and I escaped for a quick trip to Pen Druid Brewing in Sperryville, VA. It’s not a far drive from the Barley Blog HQ, but enough of a distance to feel out of the area, so to speak. As usual the trip was entertaining and tasty, filled with good conversation from the brothers Carney and unique, wild ales. One of the samples that we tasted and ultimately took home was Cyclops, a dark wild ale weight in at 8.5% ABV. It was also a beer that really didn’t want to make the trip without a fight — the first growler couldn’t stand up to the pressure the beer produced, cracking around the neck after having been sealed for all of maybe five minutes.

Cyclops was strained into another growler, frequently opened on the ride home to alleviate pressure build-up and eventually stored in the basement over night before reviewing the next day. Thankfully, those frequent openings during the drive let enough pressure out that there was no issue overnight (exploding growlers are the worst). Once poured, the dark wild ale presents a strong funkiness, wild yeast and a solid amount of roastiness. Hints of cocoa linger while a soft sourness rises in the background as the glass warms.

The yeast utilized in this, and many of the brewery’s products, is cultured from around the brewery meaning you never really know what you’re getting — especially when you’re right next door to Copper Fox Distillery. The wild, unpredictable yeast works wonderfully within Cyclops despite its apparently dislike for growlers. This beer is surprisingly easy drinking for the size and presents a unique wild funkiness.