Today I’m talking all about Cycle Brewing, a small bicycle themed brewery in Downtown St. Pete. This is one of the most recommended breweries in the area and after visiting, I can see why! Andrew and I went a couple years ago for just one beer, and it even made an impression then. Now on our most recent trip to St. Petersburg, Florida, we wanted to fully experience what this brewery had to offer. It exceeded our expectations and the beer is better than ever! Read on to see why this brewery is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.
Cycle Brewing’s Location and Atmosphere
Cycle Brewing is in a small space in the middle of downtown, and I am surprised they are able to run such an impressive operation there! The atmosphere is simple but nice, because it’s open air and you can sit inside or outside. Both times I have been, there have been a decent amount of people, but not too crowded where we could not find a table. The bartenders are also really attentive and we had no problem getting additional beers as needed.
The brewery is called Cycle because of the owners love of, you guessed it, cycling. It’s an industrial style space with lots of fun, little bicycle touches. This style is taken to a new level by using pieces of cardboard boxes as coasters and have gears molded into the tables! There is a big open garage door and the whole place makes you feel like you are out in the garage with some cyclists. This is the kind of vibe Andrew loves. Overall, it’s very down to earth in a good way.
What Cycle Brewing is Known For
A lot of the beers offered are high ABV IPA’s, though Cycle Brewing has added more and more varieties through the years. They bottle their beer as well, including barrel-aged stouts that are pasteurized in the bottles. Unfortunately this caused some issues for them this past year. I saw some shirts there with “M Tu W Th F” on them and I wondering why they had shirts with days of the week. Apparently there is a Tampa Bay Beer Week and every year Cycle Brewing releases a new beer for each day of the week. Their 2017 Best Beer Week brews were extremely popular and 2018’s were much anticipated. Unfortunately, they had an issue with the pasteurization and did not get to release some of the days. They are back up and running now and if Beer Week 2019 was not sold out already, I be would tempted to go to just to try theirs!
Cycle Brewing IPA’s
There were about fifteen different beers on tap when we visited and all of them sounded so good. They are most known for IPA’s that use a variety of hops and that was what I was in the mood for. They do not offer flights though, so I had to opt for two half pours so I could try more. I started with the Sharrow and the Fixie.
The Sharrow was the type of full bodied IPA that I have loved here. It is an 8.2% imperial IPA with a full bodied taste of hops. This is definitely not for someone just getting into craft beer, but if you like strong, flavorful beers, then you will love this. It did have a lot of citrus notes as well, which balances out the bitterness.
The Fixie was less intense as it was a 4.7% session IPA. This still had some excellent hop flavors, but was on the lighter side. The Fixie had a very clean taste and was extremely drinkable on a hot summer day, like session IPA’s should be. This would be a good option for people who say they “don’t like IPA’s”, as it can expand the pallet of those not into hops yet.
Crank is one of Cycle Brewing’s most popular beers and what I had the first time I was here. I believe my dad and sister both got it and found it to an impressive IPA. This is a solid option if you like a hoppy, 7% IPA. It’s the type of beer that I would have in my fridge all the time if I could get it from the grocery store. I recommend trying this one if this is your first time here.
The only beer that I didn’t love was the Dual Bike. This 8.1% double IPA was extra bitter and a bit malty, which I wasn’t a fan of. It was still decent, but just didn’t live up to the others. We all preferred Sharrow to this one, so don’t make this your first order.
Cycle Brewing Porters and Stouts
While three of the IPA’s were excellent, the beer that blew me away here was the Cream and Sugar, Please. This was a hazelnut coffee milk porter that literally tasted like dessert! It was very sweet and creamy with strong coffee notes and just all around delicious. At 5%, it wasn’t nearly as heavy as other porters I have had. This one was a hit with the whole family and very unexpected from such a hop focused brewery.
Between the 5 of us, we tried a few others, but it’s hard to keep track when you are drinking such high percentage beers! Andrew wanted to try the Rare Dos, the 11% whiskey aged imperial stout, but started out with the cheaper options and then was too full to try it. We have heard that the Rare Dos is amazing though, so next time we will splurge and order it first!
These beers can be really filling, that’s why I wish they had flights. I do like that they charge $5-$7 a pint (Rare Dos was $10) based on percentage. Sometimes I find myself not ordering low ABV beers at breweries even when I am in the mood for one because they cost the same as high percent one!
This was our first brewery of the weekend and it was the perfect way to start. If you are in Downtown St. Pete, then you should definitely make a point of checking out this brewery. It may not have as much going on as Three Daughters, but is in the perfect spot Downtown. Even though they mainly have IPA’s, their porter was my favorite, so I think everyone would find something they like here. I always recommend people spend half a day walking through Downtown St. Pete when visiting that area, so why not make a stop here and try a pint!
Do you like IPA’s? I find them to be an acquired taste, but I can;t get enough of them now, especially ones with galaxy hops!