Pied De Cuve | Sundial Brewing
Somehow breweries keep opening without me knowing ahead of time. The last one I remember being really excited about (after I found out about it) was Odious Cellars. But for a brewery like Sundial, I had to rely on beer Instagram to do the legwork for me. Beermiscuous was one of only a handful of places that got some Sundial in which they naturally posted about. This led to me looking them up and trying to find as much as I could about the brewery and this beer, Pied De Cuve.
From my exhaustive research (typing into Google and looking at their Instagram page), Sundial appears to be a mixed fermentation place – brewing and blending, if you will – that brews out of Flesk Brewing in Barrington, IL. Upon reaching out to them, Sundial replied that they “are a collective of friends with backgrounds in the restaurant and brewing industries. Our focus is oak aged beers inspired by farmhouse traditions.” No website or any other information about Sundial exists as of this writing. Releases pop up on Instragram sporadically. But hey, I’m all in for another farmhouse brewery!
Pied De Cuve starts with Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot grapes from Central Valley, California. Those grapes are then destemmed, crushed and left to undergo native fermentation. The wort gets added to the fermenting wine, the skins are removed and the combo rested in neutral oak for 5 months. No yeast was added as it was all naturally carbed in the bottle.
Pied De Cuve pours a lovely pink and purple with a nice purple head. That half finger of purple head quickly vanishes. The wine grapes make the beer opaque so no light or fingers appear on the other side. If you listened to our Grape Expectations episode, it reminds me visually of Keeping Together’s Creatures of Infinite Contradiction but a shade lighter. High hopes right out of the gate.
Pied De Cuve checks all the boxes for this style of beer. Big ol’ wine tannins hit first and foremost followed by some grape notes. Impressively, a nice undercurrent of funk joins everything. Some dirt and grass notes come through as well. Along with the funk, a musty locker-room-esque aroma really speaks to some skill here. Usually these beers are wine/grape nose flavors with not much else going on. The fact that you can smell some degree of funk and must immediately sets it apart. I recalled Cantillon (if I remember correctly, Drie Fonteinen has a little more funk than Pied De Cuve). Two for two!
Absolutely zero idea how this happened, but Pied De Cuve somehow starts off with jammy grape notes. In a beer like this, that’s crazy. And these are sweet grapes we’re talking about here, not the more sour ones. That funk on the aroma didn’t appear initially disappointment set in, but a subtle amount peeked through as the beer opened up. While not the driest beer I’ve had, it certainly had me thinking about a glass of water. The neutral oak made its presence felt as well adding a woody characteristic as well as round off the mouthfeel a bit.
And those sweet grapes notes really help with keeping Pied De Cuve from going over a tart cliff. But it never even approaches it. Nor does it approach any sour, Tums-inducing reflux. Just sweet. The slightly low carbonation causes Pied De Cuve to coat the tongue a fair amount which drags it down a bit, but that dry finish stops anything too adverse from happening. This leads to my only complaint – I’d like a bit more effervescence to keep things moving. But that’s really it.
If you’re looking to get to those lofty Cantillon/3F goals, a bit more funky, musty, cheesy notes on the tongue would be needed, but that’s a high bar to attain. As such, it really reminds me of that Keeping Together Creatures mixed with a Supermoon beer to get that funk (which Rob does so well in his beer). A Keeping Together/Supermoon hybrid? I’ll take a case.
Biggest win of Pied De Cuve comes in that subtle funk on both the nose and palate. The sweet, jammy grape note places, while the oakiness shows. The lack to sour/tart notes also make this a great food pairing beer, especially with dessert (for the sweetness) or steak (for the dryness). Just want a little more effervescence!
But that’s such a small complaint for Pied De Cuve. It’s an excellent beer/wine hybrid that features advanced funky/musty notes while never getting too sour or tart. As a somewhat debut beer for Sundial (looks like this is their third release, but first distributed), this is impressive. Most impressive.