This week marks the first edition of “Meet the brewer”. It’s a new feature which helps you - the DeskBeers aficionado - get closer to the brewers of each batch of DeskBeers, every week. Helping us kick-start, last week’s brewer - Wild Card - offered us a slice of their mind, showcasing just why they’re so brilliant. Without further ado, here it is:
Describe what Wild Card’s about without using the words ‘beer’, ‘brewery’ or ‘pub’.
Working hard to do something we love.
What made you want to start brewing as Wild Card?
A hobby that got out of control. Taking over first the shed and then our lives. We grew up in Nottingham where good beer was widely available. We started out very good at drinking beer and thought we’d have a crack at home brewing. It was once we had built our own equipment that we felt inspired to make a living from brewing.
What’s your favourite non-beery drink?
Tea. Yorkshire Gold Blend, specifically. Gets us up and going for the early morning brew schedules. Without tea bags, all manufacture would stop.
What’s the weirdest ingredient you’d like to see in your beers?
That would be telling. We’ve got something very interesting coming out in the Spring.
Any fresh wild hops, regardless of the variety. There’s some great ones on Walthamstow marshes. One of the team, Toby, who is a keen forager introduced us to some great spots nearby.
What’s the best part of being a small brewery?
Being in control of our own destiny, making the beer the way we want to and having a finished product that we can be proud of. We are all involved with every part of the process, whether it’s driving the van, washing the casks, brewing the beer, perfecting the recipes, we all do a bit of everything.
What beers are next after the IPA and red ale?
Our blonde beer, the King of Hearts, is out in bottles this week. It is brewed with lager malts and then dry hopped in the fermenter with Citra. This gives loads of great hop aroma without making the beer astringent. The result is really a really zesty and refreshing brew.
Next is a London Porter, called the Ace of Spades. We’re launching this on cask at a free halloween party at the brewery on Friday 31st October. The bottles will be out soon after this. We’re really happy with the recipe, it’s complex, but well rounded with great chocolate and roasted coffee notes.
Tell us about the events at Wild Card.
We took such a big risk when we threw everything at getting Wild Card Brewery off the ground. And it was thanks to the support of locals and beer enthusiasts that we have managed to get this far. It’s been great because we now have a platform to offer other start ups the chance to make a name for themselves. So recently we’ve had a local start up called the Choi Boys doing a food residency at the brewery. They make incredible Korean food and it means we can focus on making and serving great beer. We’ve also worked with up and coming bands. We recently had the Tigercats do a gig here. On Thursday 4th December the Firestations will be launching their new album at the brewery.
We’re really lucky in the brewery because we share the industrial estate with some great neighbours. Chris Bracey’s God’s Own Junkyard, Mother’s Ruin Gin Palace, Aura Rosa Cake are all next to us. As well as some great traditional businesses like Shiv Motors mechanics. We’ve all collaborated to do some really ambitious events. We even had Javier Zalba from Buena Vista Social Club playing in the industrial estate car park.
We’ve got some other great things lined up at the brewery soon, including:
- A Halloween party and London Porter launch on Fri 31st October;
- A Classic & Retro Car Boot Sale on Sunday 16th November
- A winter beer festival Fri 21st November - Sun 23rd November
- Firestations’ album launch on Thursday 4th December
- Flamenco Thief Thursday 18th December
What brewery would you like to do a collaboration with?
Mikkeller. We’re big fans.
Who are some of your favourite London breweries?
It’s always great to see other brewery start-ups who are making something from nothing and starting out with little capital and lots of hard work. Strawman Brewery in Peckham, Anspach & Hobsday are good examples.
Over in East and North London we have great neighbours as breweries, such as Beavertown, ELB, Hackney Brewery, Five Points, Brodies, Crate, Pressure Drop, Redchurch, Redemption… just to name a few. One of the great things about the brewing industry is that it is so collaborative. Rather than competing against each other we are working together to build excitement about good beer and win over drinkers from the bland, multinational breweries.
What’s Wild Card’s next move for world domination?
We’re currently planning a national infrastructure project to lay pipelines across the country. By 2015 all UK dwellings will have three taps in their kitchens. Cold tap, hot tap and beer tap…