We’re now officially and permanently licensed to sell beer and our brewery shop is open tomorrow (Saturday 11th July, 10am to 5pm). Pop down to our Llandudno brewery – we’ll be doing free tastings and we’ve got beer by the bottle, gift packs, glasses, t-shirts and hoodies. We’ll be announcing regular opening times soon but if you’re ever passing and we’re here… feel free to pop in!
We’d like to wish everyone a happy Canada Day 2015… grab a craft beer and a bowl of poutine and celebrate Canada’s 148th birthday!
At Wild Horse we love all things Canadian because this is really where our journey started back in 2010. We lived in Canada from 2010 to 2014 and arrived in Calgary, Alberta at the start of the 2010 Calgary Stampede – we instantly fell in love with the city. What a time to arrive… if you don’t know, the Calgary Stampede is a rodeo and city-wide party. Nothing quite prepares you for craziness that is Calgary during this 10 day event! You feel like you have arrived in the old west with bales of straw lining the streets and both locals and tourists alike dressed in jeans, buckles, plaid shirts, boots and cowboy hats! The Calgary Stampede claims to be (and quite rightly so in our opinion) “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”.
Soon after arriving in Calgary, an American couple, Ben and Jenn (co-workers of Emma) invited us to join them and a group of friends for a tour of the Wild Rose Brewery. The brewery and taproom was housed in an old military building called AF 23 and was just a fantastic place to be. Both the beer and brewery tour were amazing… an incredibly passionate guide and such flavourful craft ales, served cold from kegs, which we love. We think this was the moment that our craft beer journey began and Emma will never forget that first taste of Wild Rose IPA, having never tasted anything like it before!
In July 2011, Dave’s family descended on Calgary for his 30th birthday and a gift from Andy, Rob and Rachel (Dave’s brothers and sister) began the next stage of our craft beer journey… a home brew kit! The first brew was an American IPA and it was ready to drink by about September. We weren’t sure how it was going to taste and were pleasantly surprised when it was pretty good! The next two kit batches were quite ropey but Dave then decided to start getting more advanced and by 2012 was brewing from scratch on our 24th floor balcony. The brews got better so Dave starting setting himself some brewing goals…
2013: join the Cowtown Yeast Wranglers homebrew club and enter some competitions
2014: medal in a competition
And later… 2015: open a craft brewery back in North Wales!
The feedback from the 2013 competitions helped with recipe and brewing process improvements and in 2014 Dave won Gold in Calgary, Regina and Vancouver and Bronze in Lethbridge for his Blonde Ale (the recipe for Buckskin Blonde is based on this). We left Canada in June 2014 and Dave finished 2014 being ranked in the top 40 homebrewers in Canada – not bad as we were only there for half of the competition year!
Cheers Canada and happy birthday, we’ll be raising our glasses to you tonight!
Dave & Emma
Our brewery shop is open to the public for 3 days only from Thursday 18 June to Saturday 20 June (11am to 7pm). Pop down to our Llandudno brewery to get that last minute Father’s day gift, or just buy beer for yourself! We’ve got beer by the bottle, gift packs, glasses, t-shirts and hoodies.
Pale ales started life in early 18th century England (Burton-on-Trent) following innovations in malting technology which allowed maltsters to produce consistent pale malts, using coke-fired kilns. Previously malt was darker, and porters and stouts were the most common brews. At first pale malt was expensive and so pale ales were limited to wealthy drinkers. Eventually pale malts became more affordable and paler beers became far more popular.
American Pale Ale (APA) came much later in the mid-1970s and the style probably started the American craft beer revolution. Anchor Liberty Ale by Anchor Brewing Company was first brewed in 1975 and then New Albion Brewing Company made New Albion Ale in 1976. New Albion Brewing are said to be the first modern American craft brewery but unfortunately they failed to survive. They did however inspire the US craft beer movement which began in the 1980s and continues to this day! Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is probably the most classic example of an American Pale Ale and was first brewed in the 1980s.
APAs are brewed with American hops, such as Cascade and other ‘C’ hops – they are also usually less malty than their British or European cousins and are fermented with a clean American ale yeast strain. APAs are similar to American IPAs and boundaries between the two styles can be blurred, though IPAs are generally stronger and more heavily hopped. Our Palomino Pale Ale is certainly approaching an American IPA in style!
Palomino is inspired by West-coast APAs and we hop it heavily with several late hop additions as well as dry hopping it in the fermenter. We wanted our pale ale to be hoppy, citrusy and piney, but with a restrained bitterness and clean refreshing finish. We use Chinook and Cascade hops as well as a small quantity of German Magnum hops for the bittering addition. To keep things balanced, Munich and Biscuit malts are added to the grist to add some restrained malty, bready, biscuity flavours.
There are some fantastic APAs brewed in the US and right here in the UK. We’re pretty happy with our spin on the style and love brewing a taste of West-coast America on the North Wales coast.
Dave & Emma
One of the most common questions we get asked is “where does the name Wild Horse come from”? So here is the (rather-longwinded) answer…
When we first moved back to North Wales from Canada in 2014, one of several locations we looked at opening the brewery was an old run-down stables building. We spent hours, days, weeks (ok, maybe months) randomly shouting out potential names for our new brewing company and, with the stables in mind, one name that stood out and we kept returning to was Wild Horse.
However, we soon realised that the renovation work needed to turn the old stables into a modern working brewery was too extensive and we decided that our money would be better spent on state-of-the-art brewing equipment than on rebuilding the stables. With slight heavy hearts we walked away from that location but we soon cheered up when we found our fantastic building at Cae Bach in Llandudno.
We started from scratch on the name generating but, whilst searching for local landmarks to use as inspiration, we discovered the nearby Carneddau mountain ponies – thought to be the only truly wild horses in the UK. They live on Conwy Mountain and the neighbouring Carneddau mountain range – just a few miles from our brewery. A few days later we went for a walk up Conwy Mountain and couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw a herd of beautiful wild horses. And so, at the top of Conwy mountain, the decision was made and Wild Horse Brewing Company was born!
Dave & Emma
At the end of 2014, I was asked by Colwyn Bay’s branch of the Round Table if I’d be interested in doing a special beer for their 60th anniversary celebration in April 2015. I thought it would be great fun to do a one-off beer for a special event and without really knowing how I would do it, I said “yeah sure… let’s do it”! At the time, we didn’t even have premises and I was brewing test batches in my garage on my 20-litre brewing system… I thought worst case, I’d just do a few batches on that!
The Round Table pretty much left it to me to decide what to brew. My idea was to revive a beer popular in 1950s so I starting doing a little digging – brown ales, milds and milk stouts were among the most popular, but have almost vanished now from British pubs (perhaps with the exception of Newcastle Brown Ale). I really like brown ales and have tasted some fantastic examples in North America. So I thought let’s do a modern, hoppy brown ale – bring a 1950s brown ale kicking and screaming into 2015!
We took over the premises in Llandudno in early February – the building needed some work and I needed to put together a 1-barrel brewery system before I could even think about the first brew. After getting enough of the renovation work and equipment put together, I did our first brew on 31 March 2015. It was a bit of mad rush… I actually had the electrician wiring in the temperature controllers for the fermenters as I was doing the brew!
I used a proven recipe as a starting point and put my own spin on it. It was the first time I’d made this beer so it was a bit of a risk! It was a fairly standard grain bill for a brown ale and was late hopped with a shed load of Amarillo hops. It was fermented with my favourite American yeast strain (which is now our house yeast).
|Fifty Five Celebration Ale|
|American Brown Ale|
|Pale malt, Crystal malt, Chocolate malt, Biscuit malt|
We tasted the finished beer a few days before the Round Table anniversary ball… dark, malty, chocolatey, fruity, citrusy with a clean bitter finish – it was fantastic!
This brew had to be bottled before our carbonation, kegging and bottling machine arrived so we carbonated it in small batches and bottled it by hand using a Blichmann Beer gun. It took about a week and half to get through a barrel of the beer. The first batch of bottles went to the anniversary ball and the rest went to Vinomondo in Conwy and The Cliffs restaurant in Rhyd Y Foel.
It was a challenging but successful first brew. There are still a few bottles available so get it while you can – when it’s gone, it’s gone!