Browar Stu Mostów (The Brewery Of A Hundred Bridges) - is the official name of a craft brewery, to be opened this September at ul. Jana Długosza 2. And so far, it will be the only one in Wrocław. Since the now dilapidated Browar Piastowski closed down, the city, which once had ca. 80 such facilities, and a 800-year-old tradition in brewing beer, has virtually become a brewer's desert.
Though beer brewed right in front of the customer's eyes is served at Wrocław Market Square - in a traditional, restaurant mini-brewery Spiż, particularly praised by the tourist visiting the Old Town, it is still not enough for a several-hundred-residents' metropolis.
To what degree will the managers of Browar Stu Mostów like to... fill up the gap? For the September opening, ready are to be 6 kinds of unique Wrocław beer, and at least 4 from foreign breweries. The capacity of each of two vessels to be placed in the brewery will be 2 thousand litres; and in their vicinity 6 fermentation-lagering tanks will be installed, as well as 2 pressure tanks, with each of them holding 4 thousand litres of the golden beverage. The facility will annually brew a maximum of 500 thousand litres of beer - if you will, an amount equal to the capacity of 1/4 of an Olympic pool, or 2273 average bathtubs, which also translates to a million of half-litre bottles (2740 daily).
It is planned that during the first half a year Browar Stu Mostów will sell its products to pubs in the area of Lower Silesia, and in Opolskie Voivodship. Later, it is to conquer further markets, including some good off-licence stores, as the owners intend to bottle its craft beer.
Quit corporation, take up brewing
The owners of the brewery at ul. Długosza 2 (the former Wodomierz cinema), Arletta and Grzegorz Ziemian didn't necessary get the love for brewing with their mothers' milk. They reveal they began their careers in large corporations - including bank investments: she in Warsaw, and he also for eight years in the US. The time spent in corporations is a valuable gain for them, but they wouldn't want to come back to it, especially that they, too confirm the mechanism, which is somewhat the corporation's showcase: "We gave 120 percent, and received 80" comments Grzegorz Ziemian.
He reveals that it is in the US that he caught the brewing bug - at first delighting in American craft beers, and with time, in the whole "philosophy" of brewing them, as well as in how much the producers of niche beers "love" their jobs. Both Arletta (a gourmet of Belgian beers) and Grzegorz loved it so much, that they have decided to devote to brewing the following years of their lives.
Aware of the fact that with no theoretical background and major knowledge one cannot become a good, and with time, acknowledged brewer, they have completed post-graduate studies in Barcelona, and then went to Asia, spending quite a lot of time in India and China. Grzegorz says that it is during these trips they were maturing (it was 2012) to start their own brewing business, and when the decision was made, the only question left was: "where?"
"We could return to the US, or head west of south of Europe, or go to Asia" says Grzegorz Ziemian. "But Wrocław has enchanted us, and what's more, it is a city of a 800-year-old brewing tradition, a city of meetings, where we feel right at home [they both come from Opolszczyzna region - ed.]" he adds.
This decision was prompted by the fact, that after closing Browar Piasowski, there is no brewery in Wrocław - and it's not about a commercial giant, but a genuine, craft brewery, where "author's" beer is both produced on the spot, and sold.
"Craft production is more expensive than commercial one, it's a completely different cycle" - explains Grzegorz Ziemian. "Large brewing concerns limit the production time to 14 days whereas craft breweries prepare beer for one month up to as much as several months, depending on the kind. Craft beer requires work, time and attention; it is like babysitting, but the taste is one of a kind. To us, the quality is what matters, and quality breeds taste" stresses the owner of Browar Stu Mostów.
Author's recipes - the best beer
The cost of such an enterprise, also participated in by individual investors from the US, is assessed at 5 million PLN. The brewing house is a freshly renovated building of red brick. The owners have reinstalled its aesthetic shutters, and arranged the space in such a way, to hold both the brewing space on the ground floor, as well as the catering space on the entresol. Owing to such a solution, guests will be able to sample beer brewed at ul. Długosza, and at the same time to watch the brewing process. The beerhall will fit ca. 60 guests, and extra tables will be prepared in a beer garden outside. With 10 beer taps installed at the bar, the customers will be able to select from a minimum 10 types of beer.
Owing to the equipment and applied technology (supplied by the BrauKon company), Browar Stu Mostów will brew up to 500 thousand litres of beer annually, mostly top fermentation, i.e. the ale type. This is the oldest brewing method in the world. In the past, when cooling methods were not known, low fermentation was not used (i.e. one used today by commercial concerns, and serving to obtain lager beers). "It is from top fermentation that we get beer of richer aroma, and flavour" points out Grzegorz Ziemian. "Good examples are: the IPA type, stout type or wheat beer" he says.
In search of new flavours and... staff
Though official opening of the brewery will take place in September, the beer will be prepared earlier. Currently, the first worts are being developed by a brewer, Grzegorz Ickiewicz. He is an experienced brewing master, who used to work for breweries in Lwówek or Konstancin. Browar Stu Mostów is also looking for other beer passionates, who would like to work in a creative team, and an attractive place. The recruitment process is about to commence. The owners want to employ ca. 10 people, including the catering staff.
"We will be making the best beer, both in terms of quality, and taste, therefore we are anxious for people who are not afraid of experimenting, who are creative, and into searching for new experiences. And finally, who would like to develop their own recipes" says Arletta Ziemian.
Photos: Tomasz Walków