building a nanobrewery
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As far as we're aware, Gravity is currently the only Hungarian brewery with a production volume under 500L – if you run something smaller, please get in touch, we'd love to chat! – but “nanobreweries” in the 100-250L range are commonplace in more mature brewing markets. The UK, US, and Czech Republic are strewn with tiny brewhouses, from pilot rigs for large breweries to amazing home setups in cavernous garages.

One challenge of this segment of the market is that the small volumes produced haven't traditionally attracted the wealth of equipment options that large production breweries rely upon. Recent years have seen increased attention to the nano scale, but we still just don't have purpose-built hardware for every eventuality.

As a result, our pilot brewery incorporates equipment from several countries, as well as an increasing number of unique solutions we've designed and built ourselves. It's also permanently under refinement and reconstruction – every day we learn new things about our setup and the science of brewing, and when we find a better way of doing something, we implement it.

Gravity's pilot brewery at Rakoczi 29 measures 18 square meters, which is just as tiny as it sounds. We've had to conserve every square centimeter we can, and come up with some creative solutions to the problem of being squeezed into a couple kitchen closets.

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Every brew day begins in our malt storeroom, a creatively converted stairwell where we prepare the malt and other grains for the day. From there, we bring our ingredients next door to the 'hot side', where the actual brewing happens. Most of each 6-8 hour brew day is spent here, converting grains, hops, and water into 'wort', the sugary liquid which will become our beer.

Once the wort is complete, we transfer it into our 'cold side', which is the glassed-in row of fermentation tanks you can see from inside Neked Csak Dezso. They're one of our partner bars, along with Kandallo and Hollo es Roka, and receive a keg or two from each batch we make. The cold side houses everything that happens post-boil, from oxygenation and yeast pitching to dry hopping and kegging. It’s all on display, so if you see us in there and have a question about our brew process, feel free to say hello and ask us!

Finally, we have a small merchandise section within the bottle shop at Neked Csak Dezso, with all the usual swag – t-shirts, baseball caps – as well as some very cool custom bits and pieces. Check it out next time you visit!

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for next time, when we'll be running you through the start of our brew day: malt and milling!

Greg KieckheferComment
welcome to gravity!
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Happy New Year from Gravity Brewing, and welcome to our new blog! Since launching 6 months ago, we've been thrilled by the support and interest the community has shown us, and we've been dying to offer you some new insight into the brewery. So from now on, we'll be bringing you biweekly updates straight from the brewery, looking at our equipment, ingredients, new beers, and some exciting new developments for 2019!

From the beginning, then: Gravity Brewing is two guys, Tomi and Greg, who have been homebrewing together since 2015. Tomi was enrolled in a Master Brewer course at the time; Greg just wanted to experiment with styles he couldn't find in Hungary.

In the years since, the Hungarian brewing scene exploded, and our experience gradually grew through dozens of 20L batches, many successes and failures, and of course plenty of parties to drink it all. Inevitably, we decided to build a professional brewery and introduce our beers to the public.

The Hungarian craft beer landscape is dominated by investor-led breweries producing 500-1000L per batch; name a physical brewery and it almost certainly falls into this category (along with a few much larger ones). Many of them produce solid beers, but we find the endless hype-fueled release cycles of these top-heavy breweries exhausting, and we wanted to build a different sort of business.

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We were inspired by some of Hungary's phenomenally talented contract brewers, from places like Brew Your Mind and Balkezes, who apply years of careful small-batch brewing experience to everything they bring to production – outstanding beers like Peach Please and GreyJoy don't simply happen by mad chance, they are the result of intensive experimentation and obsessive attention to detail, as well as financial and creative independence.

So Gravity was born from this notion: start small, with no bosses. We set about building the first professional nanobrewery in Budapest, assembled from the best small-batch equipment the world has to offer. As you'll see in future posts, our pilot brewery is an ultra-custom mashup of processes and technologies, not just from different countries but from the often disparate worlds of home- and production-brewing.

Every beer we make starts at that nano-scale: 120L per batch, 4 kegs divided up amongst our partner bars. As a result, our investment in each batch is expendable, we never have to push our product, and we can (and do!) dump batches that don't meet our expectations. At the same time, we can produce enough beer in each batch to elicit the invaluable community feedback that we depend upon for improvement.

That's the core of our pilot brewery, and it's how we aim to continue. We're in this to make excellent beers that real people can afford to drink, not just taste. Let us know what you love and hate, and we'll continue striving to make the next batch our best yet.