Category Archives: mr foley’s cask ale house

>Kirkstall Land Award

….Just a quick note to let you all know that Kirkstall Brewery’s Black Band Porterwas crowned ‘Beer of The Festival’ at the Skipton Beer Festival last weekend. Rightly so; it’s a fantastic beer, well balanced and massively tasty. Well done.

I’m sure this will be a regular occurrence for Dave Sanders and his crew, and a sign of things to come for such a new brewery to win an accolade so soon after their inception. You can get Kirkstall’s beers at Mr Foley’s and North if in Leeds. Let me know if I’ve missed any other outlets out.

>My Beer Journey (Or The Birth of A Beer Geek)

> In a break from the norm, this is a guest post from Adam Tuncay, a chap who I’ve met, along with many, many others, through Twitter and following this blog. He contacted me a few days back to ask if he could host a piece about the indroduction to Beer that he’s had in recent months. Given that one of the reasons we write about Beer is to get more people to drink it, I was happy to oblige and interested to hear his views. Take it away, Adam….

My path to being a fully fledged beer geek isn’t unique by any means, we all have to start somewhere. Whether it is something you have grown up with, found yourself or – in my case – had introduced to you by friends.

Not so long ago a night in or out would consist of bottles of Italian or Indian lager. I would try the odd supermarket ale but nothing really enthused me enough to move away from what I already liked and was familiar with at the time.
That all changed on a Saturday afternoon in late August. I was encouraged by a friend to spend the day drinking in Sheffield and the surrounding area; and he was very keen on visiting a pub next to the train station. My experience of pubs at train stations had been somewhat tarnished over the years, mainly due to visiting many unimpressive establishments that offered poor quality beer and unwelcoming surroundings. So I didn’t have particularly high hopes when he suggested a visit to the Sheffield Tap, boy was I wrong. First up was a pint of Thornbridge Jaipur, one sip and I was blown away, the balance and depth of flavour was beyond anything I had experienced before. It was easily the best pint I had ever had, I knew then that I had to experience more beer like that. I could have stayed in there all day, but drawn by the promise of more Thornbridge beers we headed to the Coach and Horses in Dronfield, where we tried pretty much everything they had on.

That day changed my outlook on what good beer is and showed me that I shouldn’t be happy to accept average or worse beer. Since then my love for beer has taken on something of a snowball effect. I was initially obsessed with anything Thornbridge, but I quickly moved on to trying everything and spending a large amount of my disposable income on it.

Any visit to an unfamiliar pub is now accompanied a frantic scan of the bars’ cask range in the hope that there is something I like or would like to try on offer. One of my favourite pubs and first place on the list for a good pint in Leeds is Mr. Foleys, however less than a year ago I didn’t even know it existed. I would probably have thought Brewdog, Summer Wine Brewery, Saltaire? Where is the proper beer like draft Becks Vier or Peroni!? Not that there is anything wrong with either of these, they are just no longer what I look for in a beer. I can still understand why some people would drink them or a similar mass produced option, if that’s what they like then fair enough but I would encourage any beer drinker to try something different, you never know you might like it, I did.

It’s amazing how quickly my perspective has changed. I’m now trying to introduce friends to the great range of quality UK and US real ale, craft beer whatever you want to call it. I don’t want them to miss out like I did. My wife argues that this new found ‘hobby’ is a waste of money. I think her perspective comes from a view that beer is gone once you drink it unlike physical possessions and it’s hard for her to understand my sudden fascination. But is it a waste to spend money and get enjoyment out if something you truly love and are passionate about? I don’t think so. Beer is now a massive part of my life and one of the first things I talk about, think of and look forward to, spending too many hours reading the plethora of blogs on the web. My level of interest is such that I’m finding it easier writing this piece on my lunch than focusing on my job the rest of the day.I’m not quite at the stage where I can fully describe the aromas, flavours or underlying notes with any confidence, perhaps that will come with time, for now I’m just happy enjoying great beer and meeting new people that share the same passion. Through this new obsession I have been lucky to meet many likeminded people through Twitter who have been very welcoming to a relative beer geek newbie. I hope to meet many more of you and share a conversation over some great beer at Twissup in York on Saturday.

>Cask vs Keg vs Bottle vs Can


The Session: It’s like a Royal Rumble of dispense.
This argument has been rumbling on for a while, and I doubt that I’m going to add anything meaningful to it apart from my own point of view. However, seeing as though one of my favourite blogs, Reluctant Scooper is hosting the session, I thought I’d wade in. Hey, that’s what the blog’s for, so here goes.
Firstly – Bottle vs Can. Along with the true identity of Jack the Ripper, or why people ever rated Rafa Benitez, one of the true mysteries of life is why brewers put beer in clear glass bottles. It simply makes for a badly-kept beer, and one that tastes, no matter what beer it is, like all other beers in clear glass. Skunky. Harsh. Oxidised. Yuck. In the grand scheme of things, putting beer into cans holds no great pain for me; I’ve tried a few average US Pale Ales in cans and enjoyed not only the novelty, but the taste of the beer too. Some purists argue that the can taints the beer; let’s get glass right first, eh? Bring on Canning, I say. My view will stay that way until I drink a beer that’s genuinely been ruined by canning – the process, that is.

As for Keg…well, I have to agree with what Zak says in so much as that I’d like to think it’s horses for courses; some beers suit being Keg-Dispensed, some not so. The turning point for me was when I took a trip to Edinburgh in 2009 and enjoyed a pint of BrewDog 77 Lager on cask at The Abbotsford. Lovely it was; but at the time – for the first time, I might add – that flash of ‘might be better served in Keg’ came across my mind. Since then, there have been many beers that I’ve enjoyed on Keg, and those that I wish I had enjoyed on Keg – such as SummerWine’s Project 6 IPA series. I know Andy and James are pro-Keg, but I really believe this. Powerful, aromatic beers that do well slightly colder are great on Keg, as are excellent lagers such as all-time-fave Moravka and, more recently, Thornbridge Italia. Foley’s Brewdog tap and North’s constant Keg presence means we are sorted in Leeds, and The Grove (Huddersfield) unashamedly flaunts Keg as a dispense system for their US range; and that’s not even mentioning BrewDog Aberdeen’s all-Keg lineup. It’s popular, and that’s just here. When I open the West Coast Good Beer Guide, and am flicking the pages, gazing upon row upon row of Keg taps, I’m slightly romanced by it. It’s not a fad, and there’s no need to be scared of it. It’s just another option.
Old Peculier from the wood? Stouts, lush, velvety Porters, fruity Ales and Brown Ales? Give me cask. Summer Ales, Weiss, Wits and Pales at a Summer Barbecue? Chill those bottles. The best dispense system for any beer is surely the one that suits it the most.
…By the way, if you’ve got the Good Beer US West Coast, flick to Page 97 and check out the Maiden Publick House. That’s what I dream of: a bar in woods, with neon signs in the window and a shitload of great beer. If I win the lottery, that’s what I’m buying. You’re all invited.

>The Week in Beer: Heretics and Dogmen, Yarrow and Vinyl


There’s been some really interesting beers knocking around in Leeds this week. Whilst in The Adelphi for lunch last Monday I spotted a bright orange pumpclip advertising North Peak Brewing Co’s Vicious American Wheat IPA. Wheat? IPA, you say? Count me in. It turned out to be terrifically hopped, all the usual pine-led and grapefruit accented hop bitterness that you’d expect from an IPA, and was in good condition. The addition of wheat however, smoothed things out and rescued the beer from being too astringent, adding sweetness and a bit of body. A good beer – not sure if I could drink a lot of of, but one for hopheads to seek out, for sure. And any pumpclip with a ‘Dogman’ on it gets my vote. Did anyone else catch this?
Next up, I was pleased to see Sharp’s Abbey Christmas Ale (4.6%abv) on. I wasn’t expecting a great deal from it given my usual aversion to ‘Christmas’ beers, but this really was a great pint. Tonnes of caramel and spicy, peppery notes on the nose, the beer has a really big, rounded, fruity body – like a lighter, tasty dark mild on steroids. It’s brewed with an Abbey yeast, which does add a little more wild fruitiness to the already moreish proceedings. Easy to drink, and as moreish as Mince Pie, this is one Christmas ale that really is worth trying. It’s got Yarrow in it, too, but I couldn’t even begin to describe what this even tastes like, so it passed me by completely. A great beer. You can read what frame of mind Stuart Howe was in when he brewed it here. On a personal note, it’s nice to see Sharp’s beers on offer in Leeds.

Moving back to my more usual haunt for lunch today (and by lunch, I mean Beers), Foley’s, I finally got my mitts on Revolution Brewing Co’s 45 Porter (4.5%abv). Raisins and biscuity malt dominate the nose as opposed to the smokiness that I, for some reason, was expecting. The beer is light, and has a great balance of creaminess and gentle, dry bitterness on the sip. There’s a slight hint of milk chocolate as the sip finishes, and overall it’s a very easy-drinking, moreish Porter. An auspicious start for the new boys on the block at Revolutions. See below for an interview with the lads.

And lastly, but by no means least, comes SummerWine’s latest foray into beers to make you sit up and take notice, Heretic Black IPA (7.2%abv). Those used to SummerWine’s style and the P6 IPA project will immediately recognise the hallmarks; a big, rolling hop attack both on the nose and the sip, although Heretic’s hoppiness is only gently fruity and more on the herbal side than a grapefruit bomb. The addition of darker malts does lend a little more sweetness to the body to keep things balanced. I know that one of the aims of the beer was to seem like a regular IPA if you closed your eyes – and I think that James and Andy succeed in this. There is none of the smokiness or chocolate notes that you’d expect from darker malts, and in return you get…well, a great IPA that just happens to be black.

>Summer Wine Brewery Visit


One of the disavantages of working full-time is that sometimes I simply can’t spare the time to do beery, bloggy things that seem like a lot more fun than work. One such occasion arose a couple of weeks back when Dean Pugh, of (Mr Foley’s Cask Ale House fame) texted me to tell me that he was going to see Summer Wine Brewery, and would I like to join him? Well, Dean, yes. Yes I would. But I can’t. Work beckons. After shaking my fists in the air for a good five minutes along with a stream of cuss-words that would make Kenny Powers blush, I asked him if he’d be as kind as to provide a report of the day to share, and he duly obliged, along with some pictures. So I will hand over to Dean….

…Having been informed that my choice of day to visit happened to be brew day for Brew #6, the final instalment of the highly successful Project 6 IPA series, I hurried over to Honley, the home of Summer Wine Brewery. After rushing through my morning errands and paying a visit to the Head of Steam on Huddersfield train station where I enjoyed a pint of Brass Monkey Bitter, I awaited my connecting train. The brewery was a bit tricky to find; it’s a small site which they are fast outgrowing and is tucked away at the back of an industrial estate. Unfortunately Google Maps let me down slightly and a quick phone call was needed. I arrived just in time to witness the late hopping of Brew #6, which was described to me as a West-Coast style American IPA, higher in IBU’s than the previous 5 in the series using a blend of hops, such as Chinook and Centennial to name but a few. There’s also a little Crystal malt to give the beer a little more body and sweetness to balance the hops, as was done successfully in Brew #5 (my favourite so far). I was offered the chance to do the late hopping myself but thought it best to leave it to the professionals and just grab a snap or two instead…!

With the wort then cooling, James (head brewer) and Andy (managing director) took a well deserved break to chat with me all things beer; how they have found their first 2 years as brewers and the future of Summer Wine Brewery. I knew brewing was hard work, but stories of racking through the night and Andy having not left the brewery for 4 days to complete orders I quickly realised how dedicated these guys were to their passion. They tell me that those days are in the past now, but with plans to move to a bigger site and an increase in brewing capacity there is no chance of them sitting back and taking it easy any time soon.

Discussion turned to their beers (a Teleporter was quickly put in front of me, followed by Project 6 Brew #2) and plans for future brews, including the next experiment following Project 6 and some extremely exciting plans for 2011. I’m not about to steal their thunder though, I will let James and Andy break the news to you at our ‘Meet the Brewer’ night with them on October 27th. However I can say that Mr Foley’s will be featuring as much of these as possible.
Our chat was briefly interrupted when it was time to run off the Brew #6 wort to the conditioning tank and yet more hops were added for dry hopping. I also witnessed a fermenting brew of Treacle Stout, as you can see the addition of Dark Treacle to the brew sends the yeast on a bit of a sugar rush!

As we compared tasting notes on beers from many US and UK brewers, both James and Andy’s passion and love of quality beers was obvious as I stood like a sponge trying to take in as much knowledge as possible. As if my magic a bottle of 5am Saint appeared as I listed the Brewdog beers I had yet to try, and plans were made for us to meet up again to continue our chat – but this time in the comfort of a pub, and when Andy doesn’t have to cycle home!A thoroughly enjoyable day was rounded of with an evening at Huddersfield CAMRA Oktoberfest beer festival where Fernandes Rum For Cover (6.5% specialty ale) was the pick of the 6 I sampled.

….Thanks mate. Andy and James will be at Foley’s this Wednesday evening (27th) from 18.00 onwards, where you’ll be able to have a chat with them and sample some of their excellent beers – including the last hurrah of the P6 IPA series, and thier Portcullis ESB. Get yourself down there – I met them both on Saturday, shared a beer or 6, and can confirm they are both ‘top lads’, as we say in Yorkshire.

>The Midweek: Cheddar Ales’ Goat’s Leap


…I’ve been wanting to try some of Cheddar’s range for a while now, buoyed by hearty recommendations from the likes of Boak & Bailey and others over the last year or so. So when Foley’s started stocking, I was quietly happy.

Not only that, but Goat’s Leap turned out to be what I hoped it would – outstanding. True to style, it’s a big IPA with a sweet, toffee-centric body, but with a light yet astringent ‘Green’ hop attack going on in the nose, along with a pleasantly long and refreshing bitter finish. At 5.5% it’s one to maybe keep your head around, but I could happily drink a lot of this. Kudos to both Foley’s and Cheddar. Top marks for pump-clip design, too.

I must have been on a Hop mission during last week’s session, because I also managed to finally try a beer made with Motueka hops. I confess to a bit of a blind spot – as both a homebrewer and beer nerd – when it comes to NZ hops. Mallinson’s Motueka is a single varietal beer, and they’ve kept the malts to a simple Pale option in order to let the hops shine through. And shine through they do – a smooth pint with a citrussy, distinctly Lemony edge. I was expecting something more floral and maybe even earthy based on what I’d read, but the aroma and finish were pure zest. Very nice indeed. Learning through beer sure is refreshing.

>Foley’s Oktoberfest/Ciderfest


A little news update – Foley’s are hosting a little Oktoberfest of thier own throughout October, with additions to their bottled range of Jever Pils, Lowenbrau Oktoberfest, Paulaner & Flying Dog Dogtoberfest Marzen to name a few. In addition, they are doing thier bit for independent Cider makers (is that the right term?) by running a Cider Festival alongside – all ciders on tap, and rotating weekly, all month. Do go and check it out, if Cider’s your thing.

Also, congratulations are in order for Williams Bros, who have had an excellent run at the recent International Beer Challenge. Midnight Sun won Gold, Alba picked up a Silver medal and the perennial stalwart Fraoch won a Bronze. Williams are a bit of a cult hit right now, with thier beers picking up consistently good reviews for both flavour, diversity and label design – this might sound a bit wooly, but this means a lot to me. So well done, lads. I can heartily recommend both the 7 Giraffes and Red Als. Interesting, forward-thinking brews.
You can check out Williams’ new website here, and read the rest of the result of the IBC here.

>Mr Foley’s Beer Festival


I dropped into Mr Foley’s over the weekend to see how the Beer Festival was going. With a second bar rigged up in the back room, this gave us interested drinkers a chance to enjoy some different ales to the norm in decent surroundings (I really didn’t miss the sports-hall vibe)!!

Despite missing the ‘Meet the Brewer’ event, Andy Whalley (York Brewery), was more than happy to spend an hour or with myself discussing many topics from the USA craft beer scene to how the beer industry are coping with the (temporary, we hope) hop shortage. And a very nice bloke he was too, showing the enthusiasm one would expect from one of the main men at York.

Dean, the manager of Foley’s, explained that the festival was going very well, and hopefully we should see more of the same in the upcoming year. Ale sales are going strong too, as evidenced by the addition (at the expense of Lager taps) of yet more pumps dedicated to beer. And the beer itself? Well, of the many sampled over the weekend, Dean recommended Vale Breweries Black Swan – an excellent mild; full of big roasted-malt flavour and a dry hoppiness. Despite being perfectly happy to have stayed on this all evening, I jumped over to the Red Squirrell London Porter; another excellent example of the style – big red fruit and chocolate character with a sharp dryness coming through. Dark Side of the Moose was as excellent as ever, and Kelham’s pale and fruity Golden Eagle made the ‘Friday after-work pint’ slot all its own.

The festival runs all week, so get yourself down there and try something different.

>Mr Foley’s Cask Ale House, Leeds


I’ve blogged about this joint before – it used to be called Okells, and before that, Baroque. Last time around, only the sign above the front door seemed to change, with maybe a concession to the casual ‘Friday Night’ drinker rather than the real ale enthusiast. This time round, however, things are different, as you would have guessed from the new name.

Named after the bloke who first set up shop in the iconic building, Foley’s seems to have really embraced local breweries and cask ales this time around, with the chilled beer selection taking a back seat to the taps.

10 taps present a good spread Yorkshire Brewing, with York Brewery being the most heavily represented. No problem; Thier Guzzler and Yorkshire Terrier are favourites of mine, and now i can get them in Leeds, all the better. Also available are offerings from Leeds Brewery; i was most impressed with thier Leeds Best and Midnight Bell – the first a fine session beer in the style of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord but with a little more bite, the second a darker bitter with a much, much maltier body, as you would expect from a beer named ‘Midnight Bell’. I’ve been impressed by Leeds Brewery thus far, and you’ll hopefully see a fuller profile of thiers coming up on this blog.

Speaking of surprises, the Grolsch Wiezen is nice, too. Sorry, but i have to be honest. I enjoyed it, and have not seen it anywhere else in Leeds.

With Camra meetings taking place here, hopefully Foley’s has recieved the endorsement from those who matter and is here to stay. It hope it does, too; I really enjoy its latest incarnation- a large, friendly boozer with staff who know thier stuff. The bar food menu even suggests simple beer pairings, and although not ground – breaking stuff, it’s a step in the right direction to the layperson who wants to delve into the world of food and beer. Im not going to get snooty about that; La Gavroche it is not; but La Gavroche I would not want it to be. I’m sure i’ll have many a decent pint in here in months to come.

Mr Foley’s Cask Ale House
159 The Headrow
0113 2429674.

%d bloggers like this: