Wild Card Brewery, Jack of Clubs
William Harris and Andrew Kirkby met as teenagers whilst working at Boots chemists in Nottingham. Soon after they began honing their brewing skills and friendship in their parents’ homes.
“When we were home brewing it got to the point that we were having issues with how much we were producing. We were brewing two batches of five gallons per week, and had boxes and boxes of unmarked recycled bottles, so we started labelling them with playing cards.”
After heading for the bright lights of London they graduated from homebrewing to gypsy brewing, but cash was still a big issue.
"We started the company with the funds from selling a second hand Fiat Punto and a maxed out credit card. We used that money to rent space at other people's breweries and made our first batch of beer to sell commercially. We sold out of that and just kept repeating the process.”
Jaega Wise, an old friend of William and Andrew’s from Nottingham, was convinced to quit her job as a City trader and use her Chemical Engineering degree to bring a bit of scientific rigour to the brewing process. She has since become the poster girl for female brewers, not just in London, but all over the world. In her spare time Jaega can often be found in the recording studio. Very rock ‘n roll.
in 2012 the trio had done well enough to take over an unused industrial unit in East London that Waltham Forest council “couldn’t give away”. The new 6-barrel brew kit has been at full capacity ever since.
The core beers and branding have stayed true to William and Andrew’s earlier homebrewing exploits. Queen of Diamonds is a punchy little IPA, whilst the King of Hearts is a beautifully delicate blonde that wouldn’t be out of place in Belgium. The Ace of Spades is a very accomplished London Porter that does their home city’s famous style proud.
This week’s beer was the first the chaps brewed commercially. A ruby ale with initial malty sweetness from British Crystal malts give way to a balanced and lengthy hoppy bitterness created using a blend of flavourful and fragrant American hops. It’s an absolute beauty.