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Writing history: new beer styles and a female brewer

An entire compound full of food, good music, happy people and good beers. Situated in an historic complex that has been renovated and transformed into a state-of-the-art venue that looks good on any Instagram feed. How does that sound to you? Like a dream? Well, that happens to be no coincidence because the scenario described is pretty much the concept behind d.ream (Doğuş Restaurant Entertainment and Management) – a Turkish  F&B company with around 180 outlets all over the world.

Getting the dream job

The Populist is a restaurant with its own microbrewery called “Torch Brewery”and is one of the elements of the existing d.ream venues in İstanbul. More than that, it’s one of the first and still very few craft breweries in Turkey. They are currently setting up an additional venue in Izmir in cooperation with Krones – and almost casually, they are setting another major milestone by employing the first female Turkish brewer in their new facility. Sibel Açıkgöz originally studied Fermentation Technology and dreamed of producing wine – until she coincidently started a job in a brewery and fell in love with beer. That was when she wanted to start doing more than laboratory work and learned how to brew. “It wasn’t always easy, working my way to where I am now – especially being a young woman in an environment that is very strongly dominated by men. What helped a lot was my passion and my knowledge from the laboratories – so I could always show that I know what I’m talking about. Now my hard work is paying off, I am so happy and grateful to have this opportunity and to be head brewer at our facility in Izmir. I can’t even tell you how much I like carrying around kegs and doing physical work – because it shows that I am finally treated equally and lets me show my capabilities.”

Inbetween tradition and experiments

Recently, Sibel visited the Krones plants in Freising and Neutraubling together with The Populist’s brewmaster Philip Green – among other things for the chance to gain some experience brewing with Krones equipment in the Steinecker Brew Center. Quite soon, she will be brewing with Krones technology a whole lot more – since The Populist has bought a 17.5-hectoliter MicroCube for their new brewery. While this will be a completely new brewing experience for Sibel, Phil knows what he can expect: “I used to work in the US craft brewing market and I still have my network there. When I talked to our brewing consultant in the US he quite clearly advised us to turn to Krones for a maximum of quality and performance.” The US is also the origin of Phil’s passion for creative and innovative brews – he basically imported his experimentalism to Turkey. Now he and Sibel are introducing new styles to the rather conservative Turkish beer market. “There are big breweries in Turkey, but so far we don’t have many craft breweries here”, Phil explains. “That’s why we’re brewing a mix of standard styles, like lagers or wheat beers, and more creative beers – to raise the levels curiosity among the consumers and to support the trend towards trying new and different tastes. I like the mixture and how we can educate the beer-drinkers and show them new things like a Nitro Coffee Stout or a Ginger Rye Pale Ale.” Throughout the year, The Populist serves 30 different beers, brewing 12 different types at a time – by the way: At The Populist, they only serve what they brew themselves and so far the beers are exclusively available on site and fresh from the keg. And the countdown is running: renovation and installation works are already going into their final phase, Phil and Sibel are looking forward to the opening of the brewery in the beginning of 2019 – guests will need to wait a little longer until they can visit the opening of the Izmir restaurant around May or June next year.

Photos on the right: d.ream

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