Krzsyztof and Marcin have just arrived from Nashville, where they attended the World Beer Cup. Both of their breweries are located in western Poland, not far from Posnan. Browar Grodzisk is based in Grodzisk Wielkopolski and Browar Fortuna is in Miłosław.
The Grodziskie style is Poland’s own, originating in the town of Grodzisk. It is a unique beer, the only one in the world brewed with 100 % wheat malt, smoked with oak wood. The brewing process is difficult and long and it has to take its time. Grodziskie is light and refreshing, with a unique flavor among beers on the lighter side.
Marcin tells about early 20th Century advertisements for this beer that refer to it as “Polish Champagne.” There are samples of old Grodziskie ads here on Browar Grodzisk website. (This reminds me of Miller High Life, The Champagne of Bottled Beers, their old slogan. -cd)
Krzsyztof is quite serious about making Grodziskie as well as possible. He did extensive research in order to replicate the old equipment and he collected information from many people. The brewery fell into disuse after communism. Beginning in the 1990s, investors came in and closed breweries that were not cost-effective. Since lagers were in demand, beer consumers demanded that. Only later they were able to bring Grodziskie back when they re-founded the brewery.
Marcin talks about their home brew competition. The only rule is that beers in competition can’t use wild yeast, which would interfere with their brewing operation. The brewery will produce the winning recipe at the next year’s festival.
Krzsyztof describes how hard it was to find the right malt for Grodziskie. They found a malter just over the border in Czech Republic.
The home brewing community developed in Poland during communism when there was not enough good beer available commercially. When they brought Grodziskie beer back into production, the home brewers society was an important source of recipes, yeast and information.
Next they taste Komes, an idea that came from Krzysztof wondering what would happen if he took their award-winning Baltic Porter, and froze it. He kept it for 2 weeks in the deep freezer. Below the ice there was a condensed liquid, made of alcohol and all the flavor elements. They tasted it and decided it was extraordinary. Then they put it in whiskey barrels. After 4 or 5 years of the project, they have several hundred bottles. There isn’t much of it, but now they do batches of about 1000 bottles.