Category Archives: leeds brewery

>Say Goodbye To Tetley’s With Leeds


Leeds Brewery will be saying goodbye to Tetley’s by holding a Festival at their flagship pub, The Midnight Bell, on the 10th-12th of June. As well as food and music, Leeds will be brewing some one-off beers for the event -including one that can be named by you before the festival. Not only that, but Leeds will be holding a beer trail through the city on the 3rd-10th June where you can pick up a card, wind your way through the pubs of Leeds drinking their wares, and enter into a prize draw.

You can keep updated with Leeds’s plans as they prepare for life after Tetley’s (big plans, I’m sure) here. Tickets for the festival will be available from the Brewery’s pubs (The Bell, PIN, The Garden Gate & The Brewery Tap). Whilst on Leeds, the kit at The Brewery Tap seems to be firing up again, and there are currently a range of single-hopped beers coming through for your tasting pleasure at the aforementioned bar. Do try.

Leeds Brewery Gyle 479

Leeds Brewery have created a one-off beer for the seasonal period, Gyle 479. It’s an itteresting point in itself that Leeds have created a special like this; despite being incredibly popular in Leeds (thier popular, rapidly-expanding Pub portfolio serving as a case in point), they do normally keep things simple and straighahead – a strong core portfolio of beers with now-regular seasonals.
So, is this foray into experimentation any good?
In short, yes.
For some reason I assumed it would be a stout-esque beer, but it’s not; Venkatesh (Head Brewer) described it more as a ‘Vintage Ale’, and he’s spot on. The base beer was brewed in the summer, and then matured in Bruichladdich Whisky Casks until now.
Sitting in the brewery, all neatly in a row, the Casks certainly impose. Cask-ageing of beer is the perfect flavour profile for this time of year, and I’m at a loss to even begin to explain the variances of taste that every single cask can add to a uniform base beer. The beer itself pours a rich mahogany colour; when held to the light there’s a lovely plummy red hue shining through. There’s some estery fruity-yeastiness going on in the nose, alongside a subtle vanilla note that you’d expect from a cask-aged beer, and a slightly smoky, treacle-like sweetness underpinning the whole thing.
Gyle 479 is smooth; and very easy to drink. Rounded sweetness, full of cherry and sultana, turns slightly spicier as the sip finishes, and that finish is unexpectedly dry – which makes it surprisingly moreish.
Very seasonal, Gyle 479 is a lovely beer, and I’m happy to see Leeds experimenting a little more like this. Venkatesh certainly seems very proud of his creation – and so he should be. It would seem that Leeds don’t plan to let the casks sit idle, so I’ll be keeping an eye out in the future. If you’re thinking about cracking one open to eat with lunch over the yuletide period, I could’nt help but think that a nice slab of rare beef with horseradish would be a match made in heaven for it; in fact, the more I think about it, the more I think that that’s exactly what I’m going to do. It’s available from The Brewery, Beer-Ritz (Headingley), or Latitude Wines in Leeds.
Thanks again to Venkatesh, Sam and Michael to taking time out of their busy day to speak to me yesterday. Hopefully next time I come over it’ll be warmer out, and my feet won’t be frozen!

>The Garden Gate, Hunslet, Leeds

When Leeds Brewery announced they were rescuing The Garden Gate in Hunslet from dereliction, a cheer went up across the Leeds beer community. It seemed like a match made in heaven, and one that was warmly welcomed at the time – but, a few months on, has it worked?

After spending an entirely pleasant lunch there, my answer would be a resounding yes. I’ll be honest – I’d never been here before. I’d been aware of the building’s importance in Leeds folklore as one of the original Tetley Heritage houses -built in 1903 and grade-two listed – and seen many a picture of its outstanding tiled facade, but it had remained just that bit too far out of town for me to venture toward. I won’t make that mistake again.

The building is jaw-droppingly beautiful, and my pictures don’t do it justice. There’s a warmth to the building that invites you to venture inside – and that is partly down to its new owners, who have kitted the bar out with Leeds’s solid, ever-dependable beer range, and wisely kept every feature about the pub intact, creating an incredibly welcoming atmosphere. Not that they’ve had much choice – the mosaic floor, the tilled bar, the acid-etched glass partitions; before, you would go in just to gawp at the tilework – now there’s a quality of beer to be had, too. It’s a deceptively large pub, and has one bar serving two rooms. Leeds Pale, Midnight Bell, and Best were on (and all in excellent condition, I might add), along with one guest Leeds beer per month and a couple of guests – Tetley’s Dark Mild and, on this occasion, Lancaster Blonde.

As I sat with my beer and chatted with the new hosts, Adam and Ciara, the one thing that struck me was the reverence for the building. Yes, they are young; but they are more that aware of the history of the pub, and the task they have on their hands. Currently working all hours, the two (and their entrancing dog, Diesel) are committed to making this work. Previous pub companies have treated the GG with a fraction of the respect it deserves, and Leeds, along with Adam and Ciara, seem determined to make sure that isn’t that case again. Given the situation, I don’t think Leeds could have given the task to a more suitable couple.
This attitude epitomises how I feel about Leeds Brewery.

Through buying up a varied selection of pubs and bars across Leeds, they’ve catered for all tastes and become firm fixtures in Leeds’s drinking circuit. The Midnight Bell may be full of modern, clean lines, but it’s still an old-fashioned ale-house at heart. Pin may tout cocktails and music as its USP, but it bears well-used pumps for Pale and Midnight Bell. And as for the Brewery Tap – well, it does have the cities’ only on-site lagering facility (when it’s up and running), and is always a good bet for a decent pint before that train home. Despite producing solid, dependable beer, Leeds have been quietly buying up an eclectic range of premises in which to enjoy them in – and for that, they should be praised.

What you have here is one of the most unique drinking experiences in Leeds. A building that has to be seen to be fully appreciated. Sure, it’s all of four bus stops outside Leeds, but it’s no excuse at all – visit the Garden Gate for a beer, and you’ll have drunk in a rich part of Leeds’s beer heritage. Catch it while you can – the BBC are filming here later in the year, and there’s a tour of the building next month for Yorkshire Heritage. This is one of Leeds’s most important pubs, and there’s no reason for you to ignore it now.

To give you a snapshot of what might happen when you do ignore buildings like this, here’s a shot of the once-proud Sun Inn on Kirkstall Road – a sister pub to the Garden Gate, if you will. It hasn’t served cask ale for a while, and now the pubco in charge of it has seen fit to let some bloke sell furniture out of it. A sad end to a building of genuine importance. I don’t claim to be a saint – I haven’t set foot in the place in years – but the pub companies have got to give us a reason to go in the first place. Leeds have done that and more with The Garden Gate – maybe The Sun Inn is ripe for a rescue?

I got to The Garden Gate on the No 12 Bus, caught outside the Corn Exchange. Once in Hunslet (about ten minute’s journey), get off at Morrison’s, and go across the small courtyard to the right of the shopping centrereach the pub – it is hidden away somewhat. There’s a good source of information about The Garden Gate, The Sun Inn, and a number of local Heritage pubs here. Visit the pub’s website for further details of promotions, opening hours etc.

>LB Buy The Garden Gate


*We’ve known it was on the cards for a while, but after months of talk, Leeds Brewery have finally bought The Garden Gate in Hunslet – a match made in heaven. Let’s hope they can get some customers back in the place. More to follow. Huzzah!

>…And The Winners Are:


Belatedly, here are the CAMRA Winter Ales Festival/Champion Winter Beer of Britain award winners:

Old Ales and Strong Milds –

Gold– Breconshire, Ramblers Ruin (Brecon, Powys)
Silver– Leeds, Midnight Bell (Leeds, West Yorkshire)
Bronze- Beartown, Black Bear (Congleton, Cheshire)

Gold- Elland, 1872 Porter (Elland, West Yorkshire)
Silver– Sulwath, Black Galloway (Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway)
Bronze– RCH, Old Slug Porter (Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset)

Stouts –
Gold – Acorn, Gorlovka Imperial Stout (Barnsley, South Yorkshire)
Silver- Beowulf, Dragon Smoke Stout (Brownhills, Staffordshire)
Bronze- Wapping, Stout (Liverpool, Merseyside)

Barley Wines
Gold- Robinsons, Old Tom (Stockport, Cheshire)
Silver- Kinver, Over the Edge (Kinver, Staffordshire)
Bronze- Otley, O8 (Pontypridd, Mid Glamorgan)

OVERALL -Gold- Elland, 1872 Porter (Elland, West Yorkshire)
Silver- Breconshire, Ramblers Ruin (Brecon, Powys)
Bronze- Acorn, Gorlovka Imperial Stout (Barnsley, South Yorkshire)

A big well done to Elland for thier silky porter. Deserved, I think. Nice to see (blatant nepotism aside) Leeds’ Midnight Bell getting kudos. I’ve maintained since day one that although Pale probably is more popular, Midnight Bell is Leeds’ best beer by far. And, for personal taste, I would have rated Otley’s masterful 08 a little higher. But that’s just me.

>Bristol Beer Factory


I managed to try a couple of beers from the Bristol Beer Factory this week, on draught at The Midnight Bell in Leeds. I always enjoy seeing a couple of beers from a brewery I had not heard of – and I liked what I got.

Red actually turned out not to be that red at all in colour – well, not compared to Irish Reds – but was the pick of the two nonetheless. A firm, biscuity backbone gave way to a really pleasant smokiness on the way down, with not a great deal of hop presence overclouding it. Lovers of dark milds should take a detour down this road if you get the chance. Red certainly hit the spot after a day at work, and was finished very quickly indeed.

And so we moved onto Sunrise – and with the name, you kind of know what you’re going to get. A lot more effervescent than the Red, and a strong golden yellow in colour, Sunrise was a lot more in-your-face, refreshing and fruity with a massive citrus kick at the end. Sunrise has a big flavour, but despite this it certainly cleared the dust from the throat, so to speak.

Bristol Beer Factory seem to be heading in the right direction, and it was a nice change to see their wares in Leeds. In some ways it makes sense for them to be on sale at The Midnight Bell, a Leeds Brewery pub, because BBF seem to be a similar company – a young, fledgeling brewer quickly establishing themselves as serious players in the beer stakes. They also have a floating barge-bar that is pulled in to action from time to time – which is very cool indeed. According to their website, their Milk Stout seems to be a bit of an award-winner – so I’ll be keeping an eye out for that.

>Leeds’s Leodis Lager

I like The Brewery Tap, I really do. The latest addition to Leeds’ Brewery’s stable, I find it more welcoming than The Midnight Bell, more authentic than Pin. It sort of sits in the middle of those two, not really a bar, not really a pub.
I think it’s more of a brewpub – although with only a small brewhouse upstairs, which produces lager. Yep, that’s right – Lager.

Launched on St George’s Day, Leodis is brewed on-site, and in a lot of ways represents Leeds’s ability to tap into what’s popular right now. Well, with me, anyway. I didn’t really know quality lager existed in the UK (If it wasn’t Pilsner Urquell then I wasn’t interested) until my head-turning epiphany with Taddington’s Moravka, so this came at the right time. And The Brewery Tap is a fine place to drink it in – if you indeed want to choose it over the Midnight Bell.

Anyway, I was here for the lager. Incredibly lively, with a big buttery nose, it certainly smelled interesting. After the big citrus kick, the flavour mellows out somewhat, leaving a flinty, dry finish that reminded me of Dortmunder Union or a much less hoppy Jever. However, I fear that this won’t replace the lager-drinker’s tipple of choice too soon. Why? This is a big beer. 4.6% abv, there’s a lot of flavour packed in there, and it was incredibly fizzy. In short, not something I would deem too sessionable. But then again, like I said above; maybe I don’t give ‘Lager drinkers’ enough credit.
However – that’s just me. If people switch from Peroni or Beck’s onto Leodis, then surely that is a result. Who knows, maybe they’ll go from that to the Leeds Pale, and from then on it’s onwards and upwards; and it’s not all about ‘converting people’ either – Leeds are brewing something a little different, and serving it a lot colder than usual. Brewing something new is good.

Leeds Brewery

The Brewery Tap. 18 New Station Street, Leeds. 0113 2434414

>The Fox & Newt – Redux


Late last year I wrote about a visit to The Fox & Newt – and it proved to be a popular post; it would seem the brewpub had a lot of admirers from the 70’s up until recent times.
I feared, however, that the article was somewhat of a kiss of death – not long after I visited, it closed. Again. This was becoming a little like deja vu.

I’m pleased to report that The Fox is up and running – and hopefully for good this time. I enjoyed a relaxed lunch there this week, and spent a little time chatting to Emma, the manager, about what happened before and her plans for the pub.

It all sounds great; firstly- and most importantly – the brewery will be back in early 2009 – although not under the Fox and Newt moniker due to the usual legal wrangles. Recipes have been formulated, gear has been tested and tweaked and a talented bunch of brewers seems to have been assembled. Watch this space for more – I can’t stress how much of an event this should be. After all, you can count on the fingers of one hand genuine brewpubs in the vast space of Yorkshire – and there are none in Leeds. A true cause for celebration.
As for the pub itself – well, it’s been updated, sure – the walls are now painted and the floors scrubbed but the pub-feel has been retained, as had (thank christ) the tiled fireplace in the side room. Emma’s keen to point out that this is a pub – and one focused on beer and lots of it. There are no alcopops in the fridge. There are only two lagers on sale. The beer -chalkboard was updated twice in the hour is was there, and there’s even tasting notes for the beer available at the bar.

The beer selection is good – Leeds Pale is always on, and in fine form, I might add – as was the Adnams Broadside that shored me up for the rapidly declining temperatures outside. Others on offer were Leeds’ Hellfire, Black Sheep, Elland’s Eden and Brain’s Top Notch. Emma proudly counted off the beers from York, Elland, Abbeydale and many other local breweries sitting in the cellar, waiting to be supped.

The food looked good – homemade and good value – and I’ll be certainly visiting again. The Fox is (as it always has been) a good pub – one slightly out of town, but one that is worth the five minute walk up towards Park Lane. It’s run by an energetic and proud bunch of people, who truly want you to enjoy good beer. And hopefully, it’ll be beer that they have brewed themselves in the not-too distant future.

The Fox & Newt
Open from 12 midday every day.

9 Burley Street,Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS3 1LD

>Chocolate Brownies and Leeds’ Midnight Bell


Everyone loves brownies, and they are deceptively easy to make – everyone has their own version. Just make sure the butter is at room temperature – otherwise you won’t be able to mix it. As for the Cherries and Nuts, use as much as you like. And they are amazing with a good, tasty mild or porter.

Chocolate, Cherry and Brazil Nut Brownies
You will need:
250g Butter
250g Dark Chocolate – at least 70% cocoa solids
300g Golden Caster Sugar
60g Plain Flour
65g Good Cocoa Powder
Half a teaspoon of baking powder
Eggs – 3, plus an extra yolk, beaten together.
About 20 glace cherries, chopped
10 Large Brazils, chopped.

1. Pre-heat your oven to 180c, and grease and line the bottom of a baking tin with baking paper.
2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together well, set aside.
3. Smash your chocolate into chunks and put ¾ or it into a bowl over some simmering water. Gradually this will melt. As soon as it is melted, remove from the heat.
4. In another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Add to this your beaten eggs gradually, and when you have a good paste, you can add the melted chocolate and chocolate pieces.
5. Add the nuts and cherries, and then combine the mixture with your sugar and butter.
6. Dollop the mixture into the tin, and bake for 30-40 minutes. The edges will slightly come away, but the middle will be softer. It’s ready when a skewer put through the middle comes away cleanly.
7. Leave to cool – at least a couple of hours – before slicing.

When enjoyed with the beer, the brownie accentuates the chocolate and roast-nuttiness of the brownies – why not add a little coffee and try that with a smoked porter? Chocolate and Beer – two of life’s pleasures in one hit.

>The May Midweek Mild


See what I did there?

Seeing as though CAMRA have deemed May the month of Mild, here’s what I can recommend if you feel like sampling the wonders of that dying breed, Mild.
Personally, I’ve been drinking a lot of Leed’s Midnight Bell. Not only is it a gorgeous pint full of dark fruit and roasted malt goodness but it’s the best beer Leeds produce – in my humble opinion. Leeds are becoming more popular across the region and if you see Midnight Bell up for grabs, nab yourself a pint.
Another old standby is Timothy Taylor’s Golden Best. Landlord gets the most press these days but Golden Best is a wonder – light and incredibly moreish. I waxed lyrical about TT’s Dark Mild here. Again, keep an eye out, but head toward Keighley and you’ll soon see all those Smith’s pub signs transform into the familiar gold and green of Timothy Taylor.
I’ve chosen beers that should be relatively available (In Yorkshire, at least) – but take the plunge in May. Support your brewers.

Have a mild.
%d bloggers like this: