First stop was an old favourite of mine-the Victoria Family & Commercial. This is a building that oozes grandeur from the mahogany booths to the gold lettering of its title. Built in 1828, it once boasted 28 bedrooms and was connected to Leeds town hall by an underground passage. It offers a (now sadly rare) opportunity to drink, and dine, in a true multi-roomed experience. There were nine handpulls in use. I tried an excellent Acorn Yorkshire Pale, which was nice and tangy, with Cascade and Northdown hops coming to the fore. The Brewdog Trashy Blonde was just as good.
Next stop was Mr Foley’s Cask Ale House, which was surprisingly quiet. There was a good range on here as well, with Summer Wine Ale Caesar proving to be a golden, fruity beer. On the way to the North Bar, I passed the Horse & Trumpet, which used to be my first port of call when in Leeds. That was long ago, when it was a Tetley Heritage Inn.
North Bar duly impressed, with good waitress service and some decent Roosters Special-served in barrelled glasses. Another old favourite is the Palace, on Kirkgate, which delivered a nice drop of Morrissey Fox Blonde. A bit of a test next-to find the Pin in daylight and relatively sober. Sneakily it’s hidden over a footbridge, but although it only had four customers, the Leeds Pale was very refreshing.
A little walk took me to the Grove. This is another cracker of a pub and was already busy with post-work drinkers, but I found a corner in which to enjoy my Elland First Light. Al fresco was the order of the day at the Cross Keys and Roosters Yankee was the order of the beer. The nearby Midnight Bell had some very quenching Oakham White Dwarf on, as did the final stop-the Brewery Tap. Then it was a hop (geddit) and a stagger onto the Rochdale bound train.