No Matter what corner of the world you reside in, if you know and appreciate craft beers, there is a substantial chance that Cycle Brewing has crossed your radar. In less than a decades’s time, Cycle has become a brewery that some would argue is among the best on the planet. In fact, in 2017 RateBeer ranked Cycle as #5 on their list of top 10 brewers in the world.
Cycle brewing was born in Gulfport in Doug Dozark’s mother’s restaurant: Peg’s Cantina. They utilized the backyard to brew their beer and did not have a store front. Operations remained there for a few years, until they planted roots here in St Pete.
Their facility is nestled comfortably on the 500 block of Central Ave. The building is equipped with a garage door in the front (that is open more times than not), which yields plenty of natural lighting and makes for an inviting entry. One element to note on the exterior of the establishment is the window to the left of entrance with the Crowlers (and the lone Miller Lite can & Guy Fieri, ha!) stacked inside- I appreciate playful details such as this.
Seating is offered both indoors, and outside. If you do opt to hang inside, take note of all of the local art that surrounds you. Every piece you see on the walls of Cycle was crafted by a local artist, and better yet, available for purchase.
Where did the name for the brewery materialize from? The founder of Cycle Brewing, Doug Dozard’s appreciation for Bicycles and Cycling. He used to partake in cross-country cycling trips and was an avid cyclist. Doug is also a collector of bicycles, from Antique, to state of the art models.
There are a number of aspects that make Cycle Brewing unique. They consider themselves the black sheep of breweries. Cycle is slowly putting a stop to their distribution; therefore, in the coming month’s, it will be tough to find their flagship beers (Crank, Fixie, Cream and Sugar, Please, etc.) on shelves at your local bottle shop. Why, you ask? To focus on their Barrel Aging program which is excellent. Rejoice! This is a marvelous thing, folks. On tap at Cycle, you will always find a plethora of beers to appease most everyone’s preference. However, they are known for their Barrel Aged Imperial Stouts, which are some of the most incredible Barrel Aged Imperial Stouts in the world. Thus, our city is the utmost fortuitous to have a brewer with such talent and stature within our city limits.
The hot climate here in St Petersburg provides optimum conditions for Barrel aging. Barrels that are stored in cooler temperatures do not produce the same robust flavors and aromas as barrels stored in a 100+ degree warehouse. Because of this, finding a Barrel Aged Stout in the northern part of the country with a similar palate of barrel and flavor expression can be difficult at times.
Cycle does not distribute their Barrel Aged beers to the public, however, they are available for purchase at the taproom, and, as of recent, online. Set a reminder to keep an eye out online or on your social media outlet of choice for Cycle Brewing’s annual Barrel Aged Day (BA Day) which happens around the start of spring each year. You will find a day full of fun and great Barrel Aged beers right here in the St. Pete area.
As far as Cycle Brewing’s regular list goes, Crank (IPA), Fixie (Session IPA) and Cream and Sugar, Please (Coffee Porter) are their popular flagship beers. Each one of these three brews has its own identity and is likely to be found at the taproom year-round.
Cycle Brewing Beer Reviews
Crank – Cycle Brewing (IPA - American)
IPA with Citra Hops.
Pour & Head: Full and fluffy head for an IPA, which leaves a good medium lace on the glass.
Color: Apricot with a faint gold hinge.
Aroma: Bitter grain on the nose.
Flavor: Grain, Pine, Citrus and perhaps a bit of Cracker.
Mouthfeel: Slightly bubbly and resiny.
Finish: Grain and Pine up front and hop-heavy on the back.
Overall: A solid medium-hopped IPA, suitable for any occasion.
Food Pairings: Grilled Proteins with Lemon and fresh Herbs.
Fixie – Cycle Brewing (Session IPA)
A medium to full-bodied session IPA with Simcoe hops.
Pour & Head: Golden, medium head that falls slow and sticks to the glass.
Aroma: Bright floral nose with a tinge of citrus
Flavor: Grapefruit, Mango and slight floral taste.
Mouthfeel: Crisp and clean
Finish: Hops are present throughout, but fade a bit on the back end, making way for a fruitier finish.
Overall: A medium-bodied session IPA with fruit and floral notes. A great pale ale for those of us who are not hop-heads.
Food Pairings: Think acidic. Caprese dressed with a touch of Balsamic Vinegar, or a Salad finished with a Vinaigrette and Lemon zest.
Hazelnut Cream and Sugar, Please – Cycle Brewing (Porter - Other)
Coffee Porter with Hazelnut
Pour & Head: Medium/Dark Brown with a Medium Head for a Porter. The tiniest bit of lace lingers at the top of the rim.
Color: Dark-Brown to Black
Aroma: Sweet and creamy nose with a hint of roasted Coffee
Flavor: Taste resembles a Cold Brew Coffee with hints of roasted Malt, too.
Mouthfeel: Not as creamy as most Porters/Stouts. Medium body with some carbonation that lasts throughout.
Finish: Slightly bubbly with hints of bitter coffee.
Overall: A luscious and slightly creamy Porter. The perfect post-dinner beer to replace evening coffee, or decadent dessert, but, extraordinary for any occasion.
Food Pairings: Foods with equal richness. Chocolate Desserts, robust Stews, Smoked Meats and Barbecue, and most anything that has been braised.
Downtown Saint Pete's Craft Brewery and Tasting Room.