Yes, Aljoša Polenčič, Andrej Sluga and Uroš Komel were thinking of the Quentin Tarantino movie when they founded Reservoir Dogs five years ago, but they also wanted to make great beer. They are among the great Slovenian craft breakout. These include brewers such as HumanFish, Tektonik, Loo-blah-nah, Bevog (based in Austria), Pelicon, Lobik, and Barut Brewing and Blending.
Reservoir Dogs’ 30 brews includes a series called The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Warrior (Pale Ale), Grim Reaper (IPA), Starvation (Black Imperial IPA) and Conqueror (Session Ale). The latter three were part of the the brewer’s 11 beers on tap at Le Barboteur in Brussels last weekend. There, Beer Idiot Ahmed interviewed Aljoša Polenčič and Andrej Sluga.
Beer Idiots: What is the philosophy behind your brewery?
Andrej Sluga; Well actually there is not a lot of philosophy, there is a lot of work behind it. Aljoša is our master brewer and can explain the rest.
Aljoša Polenčič: We said we wanted to do a really good beer. Then we did a beer and said we have to give it to the others. Then we built a brewery and now we are doing this beer and others. We started five years ago. Before that, we did beer in the garage like everyone else. The usual stuff. Now we have had a new brewery, a bigger one, for the past two years.
Andrej: We started at about 50,000 litres production and we went over 200,000 litres last year. We expect to go to 300,000 litres this year.
Beer Idiots: What is the Slovenian style?
Andrej: There is no particular Slovenian style. We have a large portfolio of labels. We keep about 30 labels in stock all the time, from lager up to our barrel-aged beers and everything in between, including gose and sours and fruit beers. There is a lot of West Coast styles but we do a lot of others.
Aljoša: We are in a wine growing region so we try stuff with grape must and some wild yeast that we took from wine cellars. Those are some interesting experiments.
Beer Idiots: How would you describe the Slovenian beer scene?
Andrej: It is evolving fast. There are new breweries, mostly small. There are around 80 breweries for a country with only two million in population. So it is vibrant. It is happening right now. It is growing. And it is nice and we enjoy that.
Beer Idiots: What are your backgrounds?
Andrej: That’s a part of our philosophy. We three founders have our own careers. Aljoša is a doctor. He is a specalist in neurology. He works at a hospital. I am an interpreter. And Uroš Komel is a mathematician. He is teaching mathematics at high school. So a doctor, an interpreter and a mathematician. We spend all of our free time in the brewery. It is probably the biggest hobby brewery in the world.
Beer Idiots: What are your markets? Do you export a lot?
Andrej: We export a lot. Our biggest market is Italy. Next is the UK, Spain, France, Switzerland, Slovakia, and Croatia, Finland next week, and also China. We sent our first container to China and they unloaded it in Shanghai last week.
Beer Idiots: How will Brexit affect the brewery?
Andrej: We don’t know actually. We will survive somehow.