Considering that opening your own brewery can put you in a massive financial hole, the whole idea of "gypsy" brewing has definite appeal. You make friends with established brewers, use their equipment to create a special one-off brew, and then move on when the project is complete. It's a win-win situation that has resulted in some pretty amazing brews that wouldn't exist any other way.
Established breweries rely on solid-hitting signature beers to pay the bills, and tend to grow their brand with carefully tested special releases. With no real obligations to pay rent or please an established consumer base, gypsy brewers like Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø of Evil Twin Brewing and Brian Strumke of Stillwater Artisanal Ales are free to brew...basically whatever they like.
In Boston, Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project is bringing back the kind of old-school British styles of beer that brewer Dann Paquette fell in love with in his 20's. Denmark-based Mikkeller has collaborated breweries all over the world to create beers that defy all the styles. If Brian Strumke finds a new spice at the market on one day, it may very well end up in one of his Stillwater ales the next day.
Like the brewers themselves, their beers can be hard to pin down. Stores with a well-curated selection of craft brews are likely to carry a few bottles. My suggestion is that if you see it, buy it. You won't likely see this particular bottle again.
Gypsy Brewers to Look For:
Any favorite beers from these breweries to recommend?
Related: Extreme Beers: Are Brewers Going Too Far with High Alcohol Beers?
(Image: Flickr member adambarhan licensed under Creative Commons)