How would you define the term “gypsy brewer”? Essentially, gypsy brewing is a form of contract brewing in where a brewer with no premises or equipment of their own rents fermenter space with an established location to be able to produce their product. But that definition is pretty dry and doesn’t really delve into the complexities the practice entails.
Gypsies have their problems, ranging from a lack of space for them to rent, unfamiliar equipment, and unpredictability. This however, is offset by some pretty great bonuses. The simple fact that they can get their product to market without the risk of financial ruin allows them to keep the creative juices flowing and really bring something different to the people.
This feature will showcase a few of our gypsy brewers here whom will also be peddling their wares at the upcoming “Tipsy with the Gypsy” event at the Mill on Constance on October 17th this year. Who better to describe the ins and outs better then the folks who live it?
This installment sees two lads I know very well. James Richards and Lex Hyde of Duck & Cover Brewing took the top gong at this years “Well Tapped” event during Brewsvegas with a wonderfully tart Berliner-weisse. James took some time to sift through my questions.
How long have you been brewing?
Alex and I have been brewing homebrew for about six years, starting off with a kit and Kilo system that produced some cringe-worthy beers before switching to all grain Brew In A Bag before building our giant automated V3 monster.
Where do you mainly brew out of?
We brew our homebrew stuff out of Lex’s place at Mt Gravatt and our commercial stuff has come out of Newstead Brewing Co. and Bacchus Brewing Co.
Definitely the Berliner Weisse we did for the Tomahawk Well Tapped Event that took out first place! We brewed this one up with a friend and Sour Beer Expert, Locky Calvex, who has been making some amazing sour homebrews. He kindly donated a sample of his secret Lacto and yeast culture which produced an amazingly sour beer! This time around we have decided to try and culture our own blend of bugs and yeast to try and get our own little “House Blend” going.
Just being able to get your special beers out to a wider audience to enjoy and appreciate. No one is making a living doing small scale Gypsy Brewing and we just do it for the love of good beer. It’s also a great way to immerse yourself in the wonderful community we have in Brisbane; it’s surely more of an inconvenience than a help to the breweries but wonderful people like Mark Howes and Ross Kenrick have been nothing but accommodating and willing to help us have our little moment in the spotlight.
It really depends on what you are wanting to get out of it. We just use it as an avenue to get our beer out to a wider audience legally, and to practice our skills we picked up in our as-yet-unused Multimedia Design Degree’s to make some funky decals and T-shirts(some of which we have to give away at this event!)
As long as you are doing it for fun, then Brisbane has got to be the best city in Australia for it right now. The more the merrier!