Pryes Brewing Side Hustle: Beer-Wine and Sour Hybrid
Jeremy Pryes didn’t even realize he was on this path.
Before he set out to create Pryes Brewery (as the largest soley self-service brewery in the state), he was a line cook, bar bouncer, graphic designer, computer guy for Apple, and then a brewer. It’s not even the end of the journey, because now he’s into insect magic.
Pryes has carved out a bit of a hustle and bustle in his popular and successful brewery. Mixed culture, insects (as in yeast strains), Bordeaux barrels, etc. invaded his mind. When I say sculpted, I mean literally, because he built a bit of a mad scientist’s lair in the brewery’s distribution warehouse so he could spend time making wild sours and beer-wine hybrids under a new label: Idyll Forest.
“To play with all these different ingredients is really cool, because ultimately it’s going to be a spontaneous beer made with the outside air,” Pryes told me last week, “which is crazy that you can make alcohol with the outside air,” Pryes told me last week. ‘outside air’.
Mixed cultures or sour beers are simply more interesting to Pryes than the fruity beers being made in the beer world today. “Sours give you flavor. Anyone can take a lager and add mango to it, and it tastes like a lager with mango. Kinda boring to me. But if you take a mango that’s overripe and juicy, that’s the flavor you should go for, that’s what the culture gives you.You let the bugs do the work of getting it to that almost rotten place, and you get a complexity and a depth of flavor that is almost the true essence of mango.
Sour beers are nothing new, in fact they are quite old. Other local breweries, including Boom Island and Fair State, have successfully played with mixed culture for years. But Pryes also plays with what beer can become with grapes and bugs in the mix. Locals like Wooden Hill Brewing have taken to it, and Indeed’s Wooden Soul: Pinot Heartbreak or Inbound Brewing’s ever-evolving Halucidation may be familiar to wine lovers, but the hybrids haven’t really caught on yet. the envy of the general public. In his French oak barrels, Pryes thinks he has some interesting stuff to cook. He calls it a wine-hybrid wild beer, and the first to be released on public lands this Saturday in the Pryes Tavern.
The Soirée Sparkling Cabernet Sauvignon, vintage 2022, was made from cab grapes imported from California. Pryes combined the grape must with an already aged golden wild beer, and rested this mixture a little longer in the oak barrels of Bordeaux. This hybrid actually goes through a third fermentation with bottle conditioning as a finish, which gives it that nice bubble. It has a chunky 12.2% ABV, close to the average alcohol by volume for regular wine.
I got a taste last week, and for a girl who loves her pet-nats, it definitely feels pet-nat adjacent. Sparkling and seductive, a great ruby red color leads to a bit of berry smelling. But when you dive in, you get a tangy, sour funk with an underlying tone of cabin richness. Each time I went back for a new sip, I discovered different complexities and flavors. It feels light and shiny, but at the same time tannic. It made me want to eat a fatty sirloin with it.
There is more. Parasol Sauvignon Blanc made with lager beer offers a sparkling whiff of stone fruit. Expect that to come this summer in two versions: the original and the original that’s based on Satsuma oranges. And a pinot noir hybrid is coming too. I also took a sip of Raspberry Fields which was secretly available at the bar if you knew to ask for it. The raspberry wild sour beer fully triggered the memory of picking and eating barnyard raspberries at my mother’s house. Also available now, his Foret de Cerise is a juicy wild sour beer made with black Balaton cherries from Michigan, and Celebration Time is just a fruit party. But it was the blueberry-loving wild sour Le Bois de Reves that won a bronze medal at the US Open Beer Championship in 2021.
“I was invited to do a collaboration in Peru, I just got back from a collaboration in Detroit, my things have been selected to go to Hof ten Dormaal in Belgium and I can hang out with Rudy in Rodenbach.” Pryes said it all in one breath. He will be heading to the Leuven Innovation Beer Festival in Belgium at the end of May, but is also planning a whirlwind trip to the region to meet other brewers. It is clearly a project that he is passionate about and the co-owners of the brewery give him the time and a budget to carry it out.
“You’ll never advance if you play it safe.” I can tell you I’ve tasted a lot of barrels in this mad scientist’s den, from rosé to apple cider experiments, all in the process. He builds outdoor contraptions to catch the air and seeks a clean space in Idyll Forest so he can continue to innovate as Pryes Brewing expands. Knowing what Pryes has built since leaving life as an Apple computer scientist and seeing how invested he is in this passion project, Idyll Forest is definitely a label I’ll be keeping an eye on.
Evening will be available in bottles at Pryes Brewing from Saturday April 30 at 11 a.m. Quantities are limited.