[Brewery] The Brovarnia Brewery

Michał Grossman & Michał Saks

Last week, I’ve posted an article about Polish beers.

Today I’ll write about the micro-brewery & pub Brovarnia. I like their beer (that is quite obvious otherwise I wouldn’t post anything about them), I also worked there few weeks last year, and time to time I help them for some French live cooking session. I’ll be frank with you, those are not the best beers I’ve ever tasted in my life (ah! Belgium beers!), but they are close to the top of the list and are good enough to take great pleasure and satisfaction while drinking them.

The brewery is owned by Hotel Gdańsk and is run by Michał Grossman and Michał Saks, two Poles who mastered the art of brewing beer to revive an old tradition of Gdańsk. Note that this year Michał Saks has won the gold medal at the mead world championship in the home-made category. Mead is a fermented alcohol made from honey.

I’ll explain how they make beer in Brovarnia without being too technical (you’ll find lots of websites with plenty of datas on the subject). They brew three kinds of beer: jasne, pzseniczne and ciemne (soon replaced by another kind of beer). My preference goes to the pzseniczne type, fresh and light, a nice banana flavor, perfect for a warm sunny day.

Brewing such a nice beverage needs several steps and takes more than 3 weeks between the start of the process and the final product. Hence a fairly advance control system, especially given the “small detail” of the last step.

Bottom left: all these bags will be used to make a pszyniczne beer.
Bottom right: Hop pellets, the smell is quite acid and herbaceous. Less than 1 kilo is necessary for one batch.

First, water needs to be heated up in a big copper tank, then they add ground wheat & barley (of different types and quantities depending on the beer being made), they heat up the mixture and stop, they re-heat again and stop another time, and so on… This last about 90 minutes and allows the starch to be converted into saccharides which will turn into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Then the whole lot is transferred to another copper tank for the filtering step and back to the first one for the boiling process. After 10 minutes at boiling point they add half the hops, and the second half 10 minutes before the end. The amount of hops and the timing of addition has influence on the aroma and bitterness of the beer.

Now, the mixture is moved to the fermentation chamber, fermentation that takes place at a temperature between 10 and 20°C. This step lasts, depending on the beer, between 3 and 8 days. The fermentation process is triggered by yeast which turns the saccharides into alcohol and carbon dioxide. It’s the use of a specific yeast that gives this banana flavour to the pszyniczne beer.

Up: chamber of fermentation
Bottom: chamber of maturation

After this first fermentation, this “half-beer” is transferred to the maturation room for the second and last fermentation. The purpose of this one, in Brovarnia, is to clarify and stabilize the physico-chemical state of the beer, to saturate it with carbon dioxide (they do not use bottle gaz for the service), to develop the flavours and get the right taste. This stage takes up to six weeks to be achieved, with a minimum of two. Once the sugar level is below 0.25g per litre, the beer is ready to be served.

Checking of the sugar level in the beer after the second fermentation.

The ready-to-be-drink-beer has then to be transferred to the final tank without the use of a pump which would remove the carbon dioxide naturally present in the beer. The transfer is possible by having a different pressure between the two tanks. Now comes the “small detail”. They can do this transfer only if they call the tax office 3 days before, with the day & time of the transfer and the type of beer. It can’t be done otherwise.

Imagine an evening with an Irish rugby team, the tank is emptied at a speed exceeding all expectations, it goes down so fast that they should refill it one day before the day planned. Well, this is impossible and therefore no beer that day.

Serving a beer in Brovarnia.

If you go to Gdańsk, it’s worth going there. It’s a small brewery and pub, you can eat, drink, party, and even listen to good music… It’s clean, with a simple yet nice design, the service is friendly & professional and it’s non smoking.

Brovarnia Gdańsk
ul. Szafarnia 9
80-755 Gdańsk – Polska

Tel : +48 58 320 19 70
Fax : +48 58 320 19 71

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