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The Life Cycle of Cycle Brewing

The onetime brewpub component of Peg's Cantina is shifting gears to focus on barrel-aged ales.
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Photo courtesy of Jose Perez

Photo courtesy of Jose Perez

With beloved St. Petersburg, Florida bungalow bar/restaurant Peg’s Cantina shuttered since December, what will take up its mantle? Cycle Brewing, which was once the brewery within Peg’s. It was here that Doug Dozark, the son of the eatery’s owners who had interned at Oskar Blues Brewery and Cigar City Brewing Co., designed now-hallowed brews like Rare DOS, a barrel-aged imperial stout, and the raspberry- and lime-flavored Berliner weisse Ich Bin Ein Rainbow Jelly Donut. These beers, as well as others, earned the brewery such acclaim that in 2013, Dozark felt it was time it had a name. “Peg’s had always been a place,” he says, “But not much of a brand. So we created Cycle.”

The name Cycle reflects Dozark’s affinity for, yes, cycling. This is a man who once took a ten-week bike tour through Kenya with nothing but his ride, a few supplies and “what turned out to be a pretty crappy map.” The name also suggests a shifting of gears, which is appropriate. Although the beers for which the brewery is now known lean bitter—its signature ale, Crank, is an American IPA brewed almost exclusively with Citra hops, and at least half of the taproom’s handles are pouring hoppy brews at any given time—Dozark says Cycle’s next stage will be more woody.

“We’ll always make them, but it’s not really going to be about IPA for us,” he says. “I think the barrel-aged stuff is really going to take over.”

He plans to ramp up the number barrels from 200 to 400 and expand the portfolio: Barrels that once held aquavit, tequila, wine-aged whiskey and even hot sauce are making their way into Cycle’s new 16,000 square-foot warehouse weekly.

The brewery’s locals have already seen the beginnings of this shift. For Tampa Bay Beer Week in early March, Dozark released a different bottle of specialty barrel-aged beer for every day of the workweek. All of them sold out within hours.

One bottle of Tuesday 2016, however, did make it to our offices. Barley, wheat, rye and other leftover grains made their way into this brew released on the second day of Tampa Bay Beer Week, which may be why brewers also refer to it as Garbage Stout. All those malts coalesce to give the beer a thick, oily appearance—this guy’s got legs—and a complex aroma of gingerbread, cherry and dark chocolate that swirl with the nougatlike, bourbon-soaked base. Pouring this creamy, 10.5%-ABV stout across the palate reveals plum, maple and vanilla that transition to blackberry and finish in a swirl of espresso and charred toast. Garbage Stout it may be, but garbage it is not.

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