Good Beer Hunting


Unrated — Penrose's Wild 5

Beer drinkers often root hardest for breweries with a vision — not always because we're eager for a compelling story or a clever pitch — but because people tend to want to know what the long-game is. We want to know you're going to be around in a few years. And as the noise in the craft beer world continues to grow, breweries with vision will stand out more and more. At least, that's what Eric Hobbs and Tom Korder of Penrose are betting on. 

A brewery like Penrose has to balance their desire to hit the market with velocity, with their desire to be patient, and let they best ideas develop at a pace that only the product itself can truly determine. When they hit Chicago's market about a year ago, it was Proto Gradus, a Belgian Single, and P2, a Belgian Pale Ale, that made their first impressions. But all along, we knew the vision was bigger. And anyone frequenting their taproom was lucky enough to taste that vision first-hand as they released small batches of sours, saisons, and fruited wilds on draft. 

This month, that patience is paying off. Penrose is releasing their wild beers in 375ml bottles starting December 20th (still taproom only pick-ups for now), and the melody they started with their Belgian session beers is about to come in with a full chorus. Deeply complex, well-balanced, with huge flavors, my first taste of Wild 5 feels like a fulfillment of what so many of us who know Eric and Tom have been hoping for.    

Wild 5 is an oak-aged wild beer with brettanomyces — a yeast strain that leaves the beer wonderfully dry, oaky like a Chardonnay, and bright with acids and tannins that evoke stone fruit, gooseberries, apricots, minerals, and an underlying herbaceousness. 


Tom Korder, Brewer and co-founder
We had our eyes on these beers since well before the beginning, but patience is key.  We wanted to highlight different flavors in each of the first 4 releases and really showcase what our wild program is about.  It's not about being the most sour or craziest style; it's about balance in flavors, exploring new techniques, and bringing the beauty of these styles to people to enjoy.



Eric Hobbs, co-founder
We feel the introduction of Wild 5, or any of our wild beers for that matter, is a much bigger milestone for our young brewery than any other we've reached to date. These beers are the very best expression of our desired balance between the science of brewing and the artistic expression of blending. Korder's unique understanding how to handle/manage conditions of the barrels and cellar, and ultimately curate a wild fermentation process that is both predictable and complex allows us to create beers that we hope inspire progressive thinking. Just wait until folks get a chance to try Wilds 6-8 - we think they'll be quite pleased. 

Words + photos by Michael Kiser