Recap: Leeds (Parte Uno)
Another trip that needs a quick recap was a little jaunt round Leeds. This peaceful little hamlet nestled in the West Riding of Yorkshire is another long-standing haunt of mine. I use to visit in its Tetley heyday when I had a relative living there and there were a few good drinks there later when a certain well-known blogger used to frequent the local taverns. In those days it was very traditional and had some cracking pubs: we’re talking when the likes of the Horse & Trumpet and the Duck & Drake were in their pomp. Of course craft beer and time wait for no man and it gradually began to lag behind its rivals. However there was a much needed boost when the Leeds Brewery started investing locally and North Bar came on the scene as a craft bar before “craft” was “craft”. Recent times have seen an even bigger groundswell of beer related growth and so it was time to update the Tyson files once more.
The big new venture in town is Tapped on Boar Lane. You could easily walk past it as the exterior is about as un-pubby as you could imagine. Perhaps not surprising as it’s a pub squarely in the mould of the American brewpub variety. There are lots of tall tables, booth seating and light wood here but the nature of the build sadly means little natural lighting. Not that you’d notice as the emphasis, as in all their outlets, is on the beer. This is dispensed via taps on the back wall with the bottom thirteen being for cask and the top fourteen being for keg. Given its location and the choice, it’s no surprise it’s often very busy. There are shiny brewing vessels and pizza, so what more do you want? My only gripe is that they need a board or screen to give you a better idea of what’s on.
Now the Friends of Ham has got a great reputation as a dining venue and a cool place to hang out. Unfortunately it’s a victim of its own success and not being very large, it can be difficult to get in. So it proved on a cold Saturday afternoon when we were told that there no was no room at the inn. Never mind, there was a new, shiny Brewdog (Crown St) to visit. The usual exposed brickwork and metal was on display here but in a much smaller space than usual. There is a little more seating upstairs but it doesn’t take much to fill this little piece of Punk heaven. Which they should do as there was a lot of hoo-ha when they announced plans for a Leeds outlet. Their propensity for self-advertisement counted against them as the powers that be apparently saw them as purveyors of strong drink etc. and made acquiring a licence somewhat difficult. Obviously no-one told them that this craft stuff is pricey.
The unusually titled Crowd of Favour (Harper St) was a Good Beer Guide entry that came recommended. I think it was the wrong time to visit or was it the wrong time to hold a handmade art market? Either way, the place was packed with mums and toddlers making life difficult for the thirsty pilgrim. Perhaps because of that, it didn’t excite on the day, but I will give this former fish and chip shop a second chance. Whitelock’s was an old favourite of mine and is under a new lease of life but sadly proved to be yet another place where you simply couldn’t get in. No such problem with The Hop. This Ossett brewery owned ale house, which is just off Neville St, gave off the same cool vibes as Brewdog albeit it on a larger scale. There was a good selection of cask on here and the Brass Castle Mosaic really hit the spot.
A nice little wander that, interesting, took in none of the pubs featured in my first blog review of Leeds way back in 2009.