Follow beer writer, Troy Burtch, as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer and the pubs that serve it. Great Canadian Beer is a place to come to catch up on beer news, read tasting notes, check out event listings, and for pub previews and reviews.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Meet Mike Tymchuk: Founder of Wild Rose Brewery

Meet Mike Tymchuk, the Founder and General Manager of Calgary's Wild Rose Brewery. The brewery was established in 1996 and has been through the ups and downs most small breweries experience, almost closing for good in 2003. Yet Tymchuk and his staff persevered and today the brewery is seeing increased sales figures and are now dabbling in seasonal products that have caught the attention of beer geeks across Canada.

I met Tymchuk at the Canadian Brewing Awards Gala last year where he picked up two medals, including a silver medal for their Barley Wine. As with all brewery owners, Tymchuk definitely has a passion for the Canadian craft brewing industry and here's hoping he'll continue to lead Wild Rose into a bright and prosperous future.

Where is the WR Brewery and what beers do you currently produce?
Wild Rose currently operates out of an old military Quonset hut on the old Currie Barracks site in Calgary, Alberta next to the popular Calgary Farmers’ Market. We currently have seven regular brews and are engaged in a Seasonal Release program as well. Our seven regulars in order of performance are; Wild Rose WRaspberry Ale, Wild Rose Velvet Fog (an unfiltered Canadian Wheat Ale), Wild Rose Brown Ale, Wild Rose IPA, Wild Rose WRed Wheat, Wild Rose SOB (Special Old Bitter), and Wild Rose Alberta Crude Oatmeal Stout.

Describe the history behind the brewery.
Wild Rose Brewery opened in the Foothills Industrial Park in Calgary in the fall of 1996. Operating as a draught only brewery for the first seven years, in 2003, we entered into the world of packaged beers with a flip top one litre bottle that we used for over two years. Currently Wild Rose bottles six varieties in a standard 6-pack format, available in over 400 liquor stores province wide.

What is your best selling beer?
In the Summer, definitely WRaspberry Ale. In the winter months, Velvet Fog gives our WRaspberry a run for its money.

What's new at the brewery? Events, new beers, milestones, awards?
What isn’t new often seems like a shorter list. First, lots of new hardware since we have had to respond to a 30-40% growth environment for the last few years. This fall/winter we are installing a silo, a faster bottling line, six new 60 HL fermentors, and will be renovating/expanding the Taproom. We are also expanding our Seasonal Release program from 6 beers a year to 9-10 brews for next year.

Why did you get into the brewing industry and describe your passion for it.
I was working as a Sous Chef at Spinnakers Brew Pub in Victoria, and was invited into the brewery in 1987. My passion for craft brewing has kept me engaged in, and challenged by the industry for 22 years.

What is the best aspect of working in the Canadian craft brewery industry?
Believing that most of our peers are as dedicated as we are to preserving the integrity of our craft, and the quality of our goods.

Where can someone find your products?
In finer liquor stores and beer joints province wide (Alberta).

Tell us something about WR that not a lot of people know about.
The doors were almost closed for good in 2003.

What advantages do smaller breweries have over the big guys?
Nimbleness. Often new policies and programs are developed over a beer at the end of one day, and are implemented the next.

What is the highlight of your brewing career?
I can think of two highlights. Over the years, I have done a few installations overseas in China, Japan, and the Philippines. The job in the Philippines stands out in that when I arrived, they walked me into an absolutely naked room where the brewery (including a steam boiler) was to be installed. 21 days later, we celebrated with beer that we brewed served on the draught system that I also installed.

My other highlight is every Friday when I see our Taproom full of happy people enjoying our hospitality and our beer.

Cold clean lager or big hoppy pale ale?
Big hoppy pale ale.

Name your favourite non WR produced beer.
Anything from Phillips Brewery in Victoria.

How successful have the seasonals been? And what has been your favourite?
“Wildly” successful. My favourite is either our Imperial IPA we released last spring (mostly because it sold out 3 times faster than any of us would have forecast), or our current seasonal, a Dunkelweisse, mostly because I’m sure it’s going to push a few wannabees over the edge into the world of cool beers.

Best time for a pint?
After we have successfully stood up yet another 60 HL tank without incident.


Eric said...

Great to see more Canadian brewers expanding in terms of quantity and in terms of variety and quality.

Also, nice to see the love for Phillips!

B said...

Great guy--great joint--great beer!

Frank said...

I really like the Wild Rose Velvet Fog. The only times I have had it is a couple of times passing through Calgary airport. I'm hoping to visit the brewery next Friday and try a few more of their beers. The Alberta Crude Oatmeal Stout sounds like my kind of thing.
I enjoy the brewmaster interviews. Keep it up.


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