Good things take time.
It’s a well-known piece of wisdom that few of us take to heart. But spend a little time at 2 Halfs Brewing and you’ll see that Kirk and Dragana Bozinovski apply this wisdom to their brewery. You can taste it in the European-style beers they serve up, but chat with Kirk and Dragana and you’ll discover their patience started long before they opened the Alexandria taproom.
Kirk had wanted to open his own microbrewery since he started homebrewing in his 20s. But the timing wasn’t right then, so he put the idea on hold and waited. Over the next 30 years, Kirk and Dragana visited breweries across Europe, their children grew up, and the beer scene in Australia exploded. When the right time finally arrived, Kirk wanted to learn from the best, and since he loves the challenge and complexity of traditional European styles he studied through the VLB Brewmasters course in Berlin.
But while Germany and Belgium are known for making some of the best beers in the world, even if you get your hands on German and Belgian beers in Australia, they’ve had to travel 16,000km to get here. And, as Kirk says, along with many other brewers: “I recommend to anyone to drink beer straight from the source.”
So the couple set their eyes to opening a brewery that would give the people of Sydney the opportunity to drink Euro-influenced beers fresh from the brewery.
It wasn’t a smooth path – a series of hurdles from unexpected costs to struggles with council to a COVID lockdown all threatened to end the project. But good things take time, and now locals and visitors alike benefit from Kirk and Dragana’s patience at the brewery tucked away in the side streets of Alexandria.
The beer itself is liquid patience, as Kirk brews with the philosophy that some things are worth waiting for. He’s a big believer in lagering a beer for as long as possible, and the result is clean beers that taste as they should.
“Everyone’s got their own taste, but I think everyone should have respect for the old styles,” he says.
About half the tap list is given over to a rotating roster of European styles – you might find yourself starting with German lagers, from the palest Helles to the darkest Schwarzbier, and moving to the sweetness and spice of yeast-driven Belgian styles. The other half of the list is made up of a few New World hop-driven American styles and a tap dedicated to more familiar dark beer styles.
But while people come to 2 Halfs for the beer, they stay for the warm welcome. From the moment Kirk, Dragana, or their daughter pours your beer, you start to feel like part of the family. Kirk is always happy to chat about beer and brewing with anyone interested, and throw around ideas for his next brew. Dragana will check that you're comfortable, point out the parts of the brewery that Kirk built (since he’ll never admit that he put most of the place together himself), and when you’re ready, she’s the one who’ll make you a brewer’s board or house-baked pizza (GF and vegan options available).
It’s hard to leave 2 Halfs, but when you reluctantly finish your session you can head to the takeaway fridge on the way out. There you’ll find a selection of the beers currently on tap as well as a few previous brews, so grab a mixed six-pack or a 750ml swing-top bottle of your favourite.
Let me finish by telling you about Oldrich, a 75-year-old Czech expat who hails from near Pilsen in the Czech Republic. One of the first beers he tasted when he discovered 2 Halfs was a pilsner, and he was so impressed with the way Kirk was faithful to the style he became a loyal customer from that day. Now Oldrich rocks up to 2 Halfs on the regular, usually turning to whichever lager is currently pouring from Kirk’s Keller series.
When a discerning drinker from the birthplace of the style gives your beer the nod of approval… you know you’re doing something right.