VAGABUND Brewery: Mature in peace

Quelle. VAGABUND Brauerei
Quel­le. VAGABUND Brauerei

This is the sto­ry of three Ame­ri­cans in their mid-thir­ties who came to Ger­ma­ny to learn how to brew. Hap­py about the qua­li­ty of the beer but not satis­fied with its diver­si­ty, they had an plan: to show Ber­lin the vast varie­ty of beer flavours.

“Of cour­se, we qui­te lik­ed the beer here”, says Tom Cro­zier, “but most­ly it is only Pils.” – no trace of varie­ty and expe­ri­men­ta­ti­on. The Eng­lish tea­cher and his two friends, David Speng­ler and Matt Walt­hall, did not hesi­ta­te for long and star­ted brewing their own beer in their kit­chen, using US ingre­dients. “Pret­ty cra­zy for Ame­ri­cans to start a bre­we­ry in Ger­ma­ny,” says Tom. They deci­ded to fol­low the trend of craft beer brewing which star­ted in the US a cou­p­le of years ago and is now ent­e­ring Ber­lin and Wedding.

Why Vagabund?

“Ever­yo­ne wants to know that“, Tom grins, “but the name is real­ly obvious. A vag­abond is someo­ne who lea­ves home to dis­co­ver some­thing new, to find new friends, who can find his home any­whe­re.” As the brewing mas­ters (Brau­meis­ter, or mas­ter bre­wer, is a pro­tec­ted tit­le in Ger­ma­ny) have sett­led down a bit, they now live a less roa­ming life than a lot of their guests. At Vaga­bund bre­we­ry, which has a cart­wheel and hops as its logo, a color­ful mix of peop­le gathers. Com­mu­ni­ty and con­vi­via­li­ty were also the rea­sons for Vagabund’s suc­cess­ful start.

Crowdfunded beginnings

“We lear­ned brewing main­ly from books and the Inter­net!“ Tom sounds proud as he says this. He knows that he would­n’t have been given a bank loan with this ‘brewing expe­ri­ence’, so the bre­we­ry nee­ded to be fun­ded in other ways. Enthu­si­asm and an idea far away from the main­stream were the necessa­ry ingre­dients for a suc­cess­ful crowd­fun­ding pro­ject. Wit­hin two mon­ths, they mana­ged to get 22,000 € for tech­ni­cal app­li­an­ces. The mem­bers of the ‘Com­mu­ni­ty Sup­por­ted Ber­we­ry’, who gave this initi­al sum to Vaga­bund, recei­ve beer or T‑shirts for their capi­tal. Plus, ever­yo­ne can help with or watch the brewing pro­cess – there’s a lot to learn about the beer uni­ver­se. The fami­li­al atmo­s­phe­re and the opti­on to try things are important for the bre­wers and their supporters.

Growing in the Kiez

Vagabund 3A big, yet cozy room with a long woo­den coun­ter whe­re you can have a good chat is the mee­ting point of the com­mu­ni­ty. “We live in Wed­ding and don’t want to chan­ge it,” exp­lains Tom. Ins­tead of upgrading the Kiez, Vaga­bund wants to grow in it. Alrea­dy, most of the guests come from Wed­ding and Gesund­brun­nen. If there’s light and Vagabund’s logo is han­ging abo­ve the door, your chan­ces of get­ting a nice fresh beer are very good at Ant­wer­pe­ner Str. 3. Tog­e­ther with their own crea­ti­ons, the three always offer excep­tio­nal beers from other bre­we­ries, such as Wed­ding Pale Ale or the Bel­gi­an ‘Trap­pis­ten­bier’.
For now, only one of the three self-made bre­wers will cater for the busi­ness full-time. “Vaga­bund can matu­re, just as a good beer. Of cour­se, we want to be able to live of it, but it is OK if that takes a cou­p­le of years,” Tom finds. May­be the bre­we­ry just grows in a way that works for the Kiez…

A tra­di­tio­nal trend

Brewing has a tra­di­ti­on in Wed­ding: Bet­ween 1891 and 1982, the University’s expe­ri­men­tal bre­we­ry­e­xis­ted at See­str. 13, brewing 45,000 hec­to­li­ter in the 1920’ies. Today, the bre­wers pre­fer qua­li­ty ins­tead of quan­ti­ty. Sin­ce 2001, ‘Eschen­bräu’ at Trift­stra­ße has been pro­ving how much tas­te can be found in unfil­te­red beer – the bre­we­ry which also pro­du­ces apple juice and whis­key is not a secret tip any­mo­re. More beer can be found just around the cor­ner, at ‘Hop­fen und Malz’ (Trift­str. 54).

VAGABUND Braue­rei

Ant­wer­pe­ner Str. 3, 13353 Berlin

open thurs­days to satur­days from 7 PM

Trans­la­ti­on: Danie­la Hombach

More on Wedding’s Eng­lish Lan­guage Face­book-Page “Der schö­ne Wedding”

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