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?
The final installment sees our hosts, the Brisbane Beer Barons, own brewing arm ‘Baron von Brewing’. Will Brock is their resident brewer and took some time to fill out my little list of questions.
I started home brewing about 8 years ago and haven’t looked back since. As far as Baron von Brewing goes, our first beer will be unveiled at the Typsy with a Gypsy event.
Where do you mainly brew out of?
Baron von Brewing is in its early stages. We brewed our first beer at Newstead Brewing Co (thanks to Mark Howes) but it’s a little too early to say when/where we will brew in the future.
I’m particularly fond of my ‘Smoke on the Rye’, a smoked rye porter that I was able to brew out at Bacchus last year. The combination of smoked grain and rye spiciness rounded out really nicely.
Gypsy brewing is a great opportunity for brewers to test the waters and see if people will buy their beer. Obviously it’s much cheaper than building your own brewery.
The main struggle is probably the availability of equipment & space at other breweries. The craft beer scene in Brisbane has exploded over the past few years and most of our local brewers are flat out to keep up with demand for their own beers so it can be difficult finding a brewery that has the capacity for a gypsy brewer to make their own beer.
Get to know your local established brewers and others in the industry. There’s no one better to give you advice about the ups and downs of brewing on a large scale and getting your beer out to the public etc.