Podcast Episode 363: Jeremy Pryes of Idyll Forest and Pryes Brewing Explores the Wide Range of Flavors in Everything from Midwest IPA to Spontaneous Beers

This Minneapolis brewery keeps a separate, non-public production facility for its award-winning, spontaneously fermented beers while delivering crowd-pleasing classics such as Midwest (and West Coast–style) IPA from their sprawling production facility and beer hall.

Jamie Bogner Jun 7, 2024 - 7 min read

Podcast Episode 363: Jeremy Pryes of Idyll Forest and Pryes Brewing Explores the Wide Range of Flavors in Everything from Midwest IPA to Spontaneous Beers Primary Image

Photo: Jamie Bogner

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At last year’s Festival of Barrel-Aged Beers in Chicago, a relative newcomer grabbed both the silver and bronze medals in the Wild Beer Mixed Culture with Fruit category, immediately sending the crowd to flood the pouring table with requests for tastes. The brewery brand—Idyll Forest Artisan Ales—is the wild, mixed-culture passion project of Pryes Brewing cofounder Jeremy Pryes. The small production facility he’s built about 20 minutes from the main brewery is his culture and flavor laboratory.

Despite founding the brewery more than a decade ago, Pryes still spends time on the production brew deck and then makes time for his acid-forward labors of love, but the long days are worth it for Pryes. There are too many ideas to try, too many experiments to work out, and too much to learn to slow down now.

In this episode, Pryes discusses both their classic approach to “Midwest IPA” as well as the wild path he’s forging with Idyll Forest. Along the way, he touches on:

  • their slow and intentional growth from alternating proprietorship to large beer hall
  • the fundamental tenets of classic Midwest IPA
  • challenges in selecting Simcoe with a more classic flavor profile
  • how drinkers’ palates have evolved over the past decade
  • changing yeast strains, making drier beers with no caramel malt, and finding balance through lower bitterness
  • differentiating West Coast–style IPAs from Midwest IPAs through hop choices
  • building common lanes for Idyll Forest’s wild, spontaneous, and mixed-culture beers
  • the narrow IBU window between bacterial party time and lockdown
  • pre-acidifying or not, depending on flavor intentions
  • decisions and process around fruit additions
  • using carbonic maceration of grapes to improve flavor expression
  • articulating beer-blending goals through writing
  • avoiding vanilla in certain fruited mixed-culture beers

And more. Note: After we recorded this episode, Pryes went on to win a World Beer Cup bronze for Soirée, which had also won bronze at FOBAB.

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If you’re a brewer who’s also interested in distilling, subscribe now to the Craft Spirits & Distilling podcast, available on all of your favorite podcast platforms. Hosted by Sydney Jones, head distiller for FEW Spirits in Chicago, and Molly Troupe, master distiller for Freeland Spirits in Portland Oregon, this podcast explores the technical and creative processes behind great spirits, through conversations with some of the leading distillers working today. It’s everything you love about the Craft Beer & Brewing podcast, but focused on distilling. Click on the link in the show notes and give it a listen!

Jamie Bogner is the Cofounder and Editorial Director of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Email him at [email protected].