Ravenswood Industrial Estate may not sound like the most exciting place in the world, but this little corner of Walthamstow packs a punch. Not only is this small estate the home of the most excellent Gods Own Junk yard, but the makers of Jack of Clubs, one of my favorite ales, have set up just across the road. Wild Card Brewery moved in to the estate this year and are in the process of transferring their brewing operations to their new unit and setting up a brewery bar. The bar opened this weekend so on Saturday we bundled up the new puppy in scarf to keep it warm, and headed to the estate which is just off Shernhall Street to pay them a visit.
The brewery has been going for around 15 months with the first Jack Of Clubs going on sale in January 2013. Their new home is in the former premises of Colin Chapman & Sons, the name of the former business is still painted on the faded but impressive green metal doors. There is still an industrial feel to the unit which has been divided in to two areas, the brewing equipment at one end of the large white painted room and the brewery bar at the other. The brewing equipment is still in the process of being installed but the bar is well and truly up and running. The bar its self was made over at the Blackhorse Workshop and is tucked in to one corner. A wood burner has been installed opposite the bar to customers warm, and a large cable drum sitting in the middle of the room works well as a round a table. Although the industrial unit is large, it feels cosy enough sat supping a Jack of Clubs in front of the log burner.
We visited on Saturday afternoon and the bar was pretty busy, impressive for the opening weekend. There was a very friendly atmosphere and a nice buzz as locals and friends and family of the owners popped in for a pint. The owners make fantastic hosts, greeting people when they arrive and chatting about their the business and future plans for the brewery. It was good to see a number of customers being sent to the bar by the guys at Gods Own Junk Yard, what could be better than a visit to the home of heavenly neon followed by a locally brewed beer? Having the Junk Yard and brewery in the same place turns Ravenswood from a run of the mill industrial estate in to a bit of a destination, and it’s good to see both businesses working together and promoting each other.
I’m a big fan of brewery bars, there is something special about drinking a beer in the same place that it’s brewed whilst talking with the people who brewed it. And that’s one of the great things about Wild Card, the owners William & Andrew are always happy to chat about their plans, giving you a great sense of the amount of work and passion that has gone in to creating their business. Wild Card may not be the traditional pub with wood floors and comfy booths to sit in, but it works well. It is a working brewery and feels like a working brewery, but it has just the right amount of comfort to make it a good spot to spend a relaxing few hours. With its old metal door and white painted walls, Wild Card is the only venue of its kind in Walthamstow, and what a great venue it is. For more info about the bar, brewery and the people behind it check their website.