Leeds has a new and exciting brewery in the region; Wilde Child. I met up with Keir, founder and head brewer, over a beer to chat about what’s in store for this new venture.
Tell us a bit about Wilde Child?
‘I firstly wanted to name the brewery Loose Cannon, but after doing some research I discovered that there is already one Oxfordshire. After a few more ideas, I opted for Wilde Child as Wilde is my surname; Wilde by name, Wild by nature! I first started brewing about 6 years ago and I’ve been honing my recipes since then.’
Where was your first commercial job as a brewer?
‘Well I remember when I first met you & Leanne – it happened to be my leaving do from where I was working at the time (we have a mutual friend in Gareth). I was leaving my job to start at Elland Brewery as an assistant brewer. I think I may have been a bit naive in thinking it was going to be amazing, it was hard work and I wasn’t really sold the right job. I ended up doing a lot of deliveries and it wasn’t for me. After looking on SIBA I saw that Saltaire were looking for an assistant brewer to help with the recipes and try to improve them. I got an interview with Tony the following Tuesday and within an hour of finishing the interview they had offered me the job! After a few years there I wanted to take the plunge and go out on my own. Adrian Chapman (now of Wishbone) helped me out a lot and gave me lots of advice so that I would be ready when I finally made the move.’
What beers do you currently brew?
‘We have a Dopplebock called ‘Creature of Doom’ coming in at 8.2%, a super malty and sweet beer. A Bourbon Imperial Stout called ‘Instant Hobo’, a boozy 9% brew. I did play around with some vanilla in there but I thought it made it just a bit too sweet. This does not drink its abv, more like a 5.5%-6% so you have to be careful! Next we have a Triple IPA, ‘Hop Strosity’ a big 10.5% TIPA. Once again like the Instant Hobo this does not taste that strong and is more like a 6.5%-7% beer. I wasn’t aware of Un-Human Cannonball and I have been tweaking this recipe for about a year now so I didn’t want people to think that I was trying to copy Magic Rock. I have a new beer that is about to go out next week, a black IPA called ‘Hades Beckons’ coming in at 6.66%’.’
Any particular reason as to why the beers you brew are quite strong?
‘I like big flavours and big malty beers, this usually only tends to come with high percentage beers. I don’t try to copy or clone beers, an idea just pops in to my head and I play around with it and see what happens!.’
Have you any plans to do a collaboration with anyone?
Where can we buy your beers?
‘I’ve been busy dropping off samples everywhere and am super happy with the feedback. I even managed to get some samples to Roger Protz who was raving about my beers on Twitter! Kirkstall Bridge have been really supportive and had a cask of Instant Hobo and the Hop Strosity that went down well. They are taking a cask of Hades Beckons too. Arcadia in Headingley want to get hold of my beers, along with The Fox in Shipley, Fanny’s Ale House and Cap and Collar in Saltaire. You can buy my bottles in Fuggle & Golding in Ilkley, Arcade Beers in Huddersfield, Bier Huis in Ossett, Raynville Superstore in Armley and I have 24 of each going out to Beer Ritz in the next few days’
Keir was kind enough to bring along some bottles for me to try. Here are my thoughts on them.
Creature of Doom
I can’t say I’ve actually tried many Dopplebocks so I don’t have much to go on here. What gets you first on the nose is a big sweet smell. The initial taste straight away is of bubblegum and lots of balanced sweetness. I think the keyword here is balanced, it’s not too sweet and the malt helps everything come together. Further down the glass it was nice to see the lacing follow right to the end. The strength does come through in the taste I think but not in an overpowering way. I really enjoyed this beer and it was nice to have something a bit different.
There are so many UK brewers that are knocking out good DIPAs and TIPAs at the moment, it has become such a popular style. This is a big monster and you definitely know about it. Pouring with a light white fluffy head and a lovely hazy orange colour that makes it look really appealing. It has a fruity nose but actually tastes more bitter than the smell would lead you to believe. As Keir said previously, this doesn’t taste the 10.5% it is – more like a solid 7% IPA.
This is a Bourbon Imperial Stout, need I say more! Lovely dark and rich colours with a strong red head. Straight away I can see why Keir has left out the vanilla, that would have made it far too sweet. The bourbon is so subtle, but you know it’s there. As with the other beers the key feature for me is how smooth and well balanced it is. The smoothness for me makes it a really good drinker without having one massive flavour that punches you right in the face. I think this contributed to how drinkable it was and the fact that it didn’t feel like I was drinking a 9% stout. Personally, this was my favourite out of the three.
These beers were given to me as a kind gesture and did not influence my opinion of them.