I can still remember my first Fuerst Wiacek beer. I had just arrived to Berlin for a long weekend and decided to go the Mikkeller Bar and try some new beers. I ordered an IPA and to my surprise, the keg was empty. The bartender said to me, “don’t worry, I’m putting a great new IPA on tap as we speak. You’re gonna love it!”.
I asked him to tell me more about the beer and the brewery before tapping the beer. He explained that there was a new gypsy brewery in Berlin who went by the name of Fuerst Wiacek and that they were putting out a tremendous IPA, with a lot of character, hazy and crushable. I was sold, “pour me a big one”, I said.
My introduction to Fuerst Wiacek went by the name of “A quick one while she’s away”. This name spoke to me, a sneaky quenchable beer at the bar and then off we go. It was just what I needed after a long drive but instead of one, I had two quick ones.
I was instantly hooked and when the opportunity came, I decided to get my hands on every beer that Georg and Lukasz brewed. Up until today, I have tried around 62 of their beers. And to be honest I still rate my first beer from them as my number one but they have released some amazing hop bombs that come close to that beer, such as; So Many Ways to Waste The Day, Sky Dancer, Feral, Fire in the Disco and Schism. These boys know their IPA’s and I love the fact that they have also brewed a Gose, an Imperial Stout, milkshake and sour IPA’s. They definitely have a magic touch and I don’t see them stopping, they are on a roll.
Recently, the boys have canned some of their beers, Airhead, Smooth Mover, Cloud Theory and Space Jelly, which I see as a way to expand their reach and sales. Most of their online orders have sold out showcasing the success FW has across Europe. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of their beers released in cans alongside with their characteristic artwork.
The boys at Fuerst Wiacek are dedicated to their passion and they like to share this passion with their crowd. Opportunity that they have, they show up at the various tap takeovers and events that showcase their beers. They are more than happy to have a chat with you about their beers and what they are currently brewing. It is also cool to hear from them the stories behind the collaborations that they’ve made since they have teamed up with amazing breweries such as, Other Half, Evil Twin, Soma, Finback, Northern Monk, Zagavor, Wylam, Verdant, Warpigs, Deya, etc.
I have had the chance to catch up in various opportunities with Georg and Lukasz regarding their beers and the art that goes behind what they do, so I decided to set up an interview with them so you can get to know them better.
1. What got you guys into craft beer and brewing?
We got into brewing a couple years ago when we were into whisky. Back then we wanted to make whisky and learned how to brew and ferment just to play with
distillation. We had never heard about craft beer, but we loved what we brewed and became part of the Berlin home brewing scene which got us into craft beer.
2. Before brewing what was your favourite beer style and why?
There was none really. We just new industrial beer back then.
3. Knowing that IPA is a difficult style for the German market, why did you decide to make this style your trademark?
When home brewing we quickly got into hazy IPAs. They were not available in Europe back then but we loved to drink them. So we brewed tons of hazy IPAs at home trying many different yeasts strains, grain bills, water profiles, fermentation temperatures, hops and hopping techniques. We adapted our brewing methods to those of bigger breweries. And felt very confident with brewing this style on a bigger scale as our first commercially available beer. We did not think about having a trademark. We just brewed what we loved to drink and knew how to make it.
4. How do you feel the craft beer community in Germany and in Berlin have received your beers?
Our first beer was A Quick One and we were super happy it was received so well. It pushed us to brew more beer and now since this year finally being able to quit our jobs and brew for a living.
5. Do you feel that your beers have increased attention towards craft beer in Germany?
Back then we experienced that craft beer made in Germany was not perceived to be on the same level compared to what you would get from the UK, Denmark, … We got internationally accepted super fast and you see some breweries are trying to follow that path pushing the quality in Germany, too now.
6. What does it take to make such a good IPA?
Good ingredients and looking at all the details in the brewing process.
7. What is the beer you are most proud of and why?
Glitz! I did an internship at Pohjala when I was a home brewer a couple years ago. It was great to finally have Chris in Berlin and team up to brew a stout. Glitz was the very first stout I ever brewed and we love how it turned out! Of course this would not have been as good without Pohjala.
8. You have done quite a few amazing collaborations with breweries from around the world, which would be your top 3 and if you could tell us about your upcoming collaborations or with whom you are looking forward to collaborate?
Some of my favourite collabs were brewing with Pohjala, with Track in Manchester and Finback in the US. I actually look forward to brew even more beers with friends we know from past collaborations. We learned each other’s process well and often exchange ideas, techniques, improving each other’s beers without even working on a specific collaboration. And it’s great to find time to get together every now and then and brew together.
9. You brewed an imperial stout with Pohjala some months ago, will see another stout from you guys in the near future?
10. You guys have become a recognised brewery in Berlin and knowing the Berliner Weisse has had a revival in the craft beer world, could we expect you guys to brew one?
We don’t have the ability to brew classic Berliner Weisse, but you will probably see some modern takes on that style in the future.
11. Untappd is one of the most used platforms to rate and gain knowledge of beers, what is your opinion on this platform, and has it helped boost your beers?
We only have a brief look at our ratings to get an indication how our beers do on
untappd or looking for potential quality issues. But we rather spend time at the brewery doing QA, trusting our taste buds and optimizing our brewing process. This has a bigger impact on the quality of our beers and how people perceive them.
12. Since your area of expertise are hazy IPA’s do you think you’ll stick to this style or do you see FW moving in a different direction?
We started playing with other beer styles but in the end we are known for IPAs, people expect them from FW. They are the most requested ones.
13. What can we expect from FW in 2020?
Hopefully an own brewery.
I am excited for the future of FW and happy every time they release a new beer. It’s great to see how motivated and dedicated they are towards what they do best. They are the true wizards of haze! So, all I can say is that if you see their beers at your local bar and you have not tried them yet, you know what you have to do. Also, if you can grab some of their latest cans, go for it, you won’t be disappointed.