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Gypsy brewing since: January 2019
Brewer: Radu Draşovean
We first came across Radu several years ago, when he was a very active member on the Romanian Homebrewing Group. Not only was he awe inspiring with the stuff he came up with (from beer to homemade brewing equipment), but also very generous with advice, so when he was drafted as the first entry in the Bereta Brewing Community program, we knew that the result would be on par. Since then, one of the most awarded and best known homebrewers in the country has decided to pursue gypsy brewing, under Bereta‘s wing.
Normally we compile an article from the answers brewers give, but in this case, we liked our little interview with Radu so much, that we’ll post it as is:
- Is it true that you’re you a surgeon?
I am, actually. And to be honest, I love medicine and surgery more then brewing. This may be most important reason that stopped me from going on a as a full time commercial brewer.
- When did you start homebrewing?
I started homebrewing in November 2015, which was also the time when I first came in contact with craft beer. I bought 2 fermenting buckets and started with beer kits. I discovered how complex beer actually is and realized that the possibilities are endless. You combine 3 simple ingredients and you can make an infinite number of unique beers. I made 10 beer batches using kits and then moved on to all grain brewing after buying a Grainfather. I kept experimenting trying to improve my results and now I am very close to brewing my 100th batch.
- Is it true that your garage looks like a taphouse? How many taps do you have?
I am lucky because my wife was very supportive, so this hobby escalated quickly, from a fermentation bucket stashed in the corner of the room to a full sized hombrewing shed 🙂 I took over the garage and slowly turned it into a little brewery. I have a keezer with 6 taps, 3 fermentation fridges, that are almost all the time full and 2 fridges for storing beer, hops and yeast. There’s a lot more work with ice scraping the car during the winter, but it’s totally worth it 🙂
- What made you decide to pursue gypsy brewing?
Between a full time job and a young family with 2 kids it was already difficult to find some time for homebrewing, so I never actually considered brewing commercially. Then Bereta Brewing Community happened. I was given the chance to brew commercially and the guys from Bereta really let me go all in on this collab (big thanks Adi and Silviu!). You probably know the result, the double NEIPA was very well received and the feedback I got was amazing. That made me want more. So, after winning the poll from Bereta Brewing Community, I got the chance to brew again. At this point I decided to make my own brand and go the gypsy route, even though realistically speaking, knowing how much time I have to invest in this, I won’t be super active.
- How many diplomas have you won at homebrewing competitions so far?
I have 13 awards from national homebrewing competitions in Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia (6 times 1st place, 3 time 2nd place, 3 times 3rd place, one honorable mention). I also have a best of show and a 1st place award from last’s year homebrewing competition that took place during the Craft Beer Festival in Cluj.
- Do you have any exciting plans for the future, or any styles that you haven’t brewed so far and want to try?
I will definitely continue experimenting at homebrew level. I rarely brew the same recipe twice, I keep on trying to improve the final product. Sometimes the result is better, sometime it’s a bit worse. I also had a few batches that were poured down the drain. You can’t win them all 🙂
I haven’t brewed any sour beers but I don’t really plan to in the near future. I am not a big sours fan and although I have tasted some great sour beers, brewing those type of beers takes a long time and I am not sure if the result would be satisfying for me.
Regarding gypsy brewing, you will definitely see more Hopdrops beers, I am not really sure about the time frame or the styles that I will be approaching in the near future, but rest assured everything will be brewed with surgical precision 😀
- Northern Raven – Imperial Stout with Kveik – 10.5% ABV
Brewed as part of the Bereta Brewing Community program:
- BBC Double IPA – 8.2% ABV
- Berea Clujenilor – DDH DIPA (collaboration with Blackout Brewing and Player One, brewed at Hop Hooligans) – 8.5% ABV
- Dopamine – DDH DIPA (with Blackout Brewing, brewed at Bere a la Cluj) – 8% ABV
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