Batten down the hatches, the forecast states that Wild Weather Ales are about to take the UK craft beer scene by storm.
Wild Weather are brewing up a storm. Based in Silchester, just outside of Reading, their philosophy is “don’t cut corners” and it’s clear from the outset that this brewery is the whole package. Their team of just six are a diverse whirlwind of creativity, producing a range as consistent as it is high quality, with new and innovative beers being released at an astounding pace.
They boast an impressive back catalogue of collabs too – with partners as diverse as New Zealand brewers Yeastie Boys, to a recent creation with retro gaming vlogger Slopes Games Room.
The high standards don’t drop when it comes to packaging either. Striking and vibrant works of art created by the punk artist and guitarist from London punk band MÜG adorn each can, making them instantly eye-catching and recognisable. Glance at the Wild Weather Twitter feed and you’ll see the guys are constantly out and about, with tap takeovers and festivals filling the calendar. Their passion for their product is self-evident and infectious.
We recommend you keep those hatches battened down as there’s no sign of the storm dying down any time soon. A new canning line installed in October 2016 has made it possible to get their beers into more people’s hands – all the better for you. There are plans for further brewery expansion with new equipment, cold storage and even whispers of a barrel-aging programme. The possibilities are seemingly endless for the brewery who – after running for around five years – are really beginning to fill the fridges and capture the hearts of craft beer drinkers up and down the country. That’s enough from me; now let me introduce you to Wild Weather’s Iain Clarke who took the time to answer some questions for Flavourly readers:
How did the brewery get its name?
When Mike (Tempest) started the brewery in 2012 he didn’t need to look much further than his name for inspiration. Sadly, Tempest Brewing was already taken but Wild Weather was ready for the taking.
Where do you find inspiration for new beers?
Everyone in the brewery has something to add on this. Firstly, we are all big advocates for trying new beers where you can so we all buy and taste beers from some of the world’s finest on quite a regular occasion. Also, there’s a few keen home brewers and a couple of keen chefs within the team, so flavour and beer is always at the forefront of our minds. When it comes to the crazier side of things. it tends to be deconstructed restaurant meals, be them mains or desserts, that we have reimagined into liquid form.
How do you name your beers?
Again, this is something that we all have a hand in. We tend to take inspiration from our hobbies and interests. More than a couple of us are into our retro games and most of the team are film buffs. That said, you’re never too far from a pun in the brewery so if we think one of those makes the grade then you’ll see that on a can soon too!
There’s a clear love of games and lots of geeky references in your beer names and labels – is that a shared love of the whole team?
It’s all about enjoyment. We spend a lot of time in the brew house waxing lyrical about what gets us ticking and quite often that spills over into the name of the beer or the artwork on the can. I firmly believe that beer that is created in a happy and jovial environment will always taste better. So, in that aspect, well… it’s everything to the brand.
How do you balance experimentation with a core range?
Over the past four years, our core range really shrank, meaning that two or three monthly specials would become a regular occurrence – a lot for any brewery – ending with only Shepherds Warning and Peach of a Weekend being regulars to the cans. Over the last year, we have been slowly adding to this but we want to be 100% happy that no extra tweaks can be added to the beers we have earmarked before they get given core status.
What’s your favourite collab that you’ve brewed?
This is so tough to answer as there has truly not been one that we haven’t enjoyed. If pushed to mention only a few… Well, I don’t think we have ever laughed as much as our day’s with Hopcraft / Waen, learned so much as we did from Mad Hatter, made longer lifelong friends than we have with the boys in Bad Seed and ever met a man quite as cool as Stu from Yeastie Boys. But this is so unfair to everyone else we have worked with, there are too many good times, beers, memories, brewers and breweries to mention and we’ve only just begun!
What has been your favourite moment in running the brewery?
Our favourite moment is one that keeps on repeating and we continue to enjoy. This is the moment when we are in a bar and see someone drinking a Wild Weather beer. They see our Wild Weather t-shirts, come over and tell us how much they enjoy our beer. We can dream up a new idea for a beer and four or five weeks later we can get a repeat of this moment on something which did not exist in the world only a few weeks earlier. How can you beat that for satisfaction?
Originally published in Issue 15 of Flavourly Magazine. Written by Anna Aitken.