Friday, April 24, 2015

A Tail Of Too Sitties !!

No, you have no read it wrong, I think there may be a book already of this title, so I am trying to avoid copyright issues !

I had heard of two beer festivals in Leeds on the grapevine in the last week and yesterday I had the chance to sample them. Armed with a list from BFH (thanks) I mounted my trusty steed and headed for the city. One of the festivals was at Mr Foleys on the Headrow, promising 24 beers at the pub. The other was a festival held by the Nicholsons chain of pubs, with beers available in each pub. Seemed the recipe for a good day.

On my arrival at Mr Foleys I realised I had forgotten to factor in opening times. It was 11 a.m but the doors were still closed. Ah well, round the corner to Wetherspoons for a quick one whilst waiting. I decided to try again at 1130 am and the doors were open, and I was all set.

It is the first festival held at the pub, and consisted of 24 beers all served on stillage from barrels in the upstairs seating area. All were cooled, and thankfully all were available in 1/3 pint measures. (a very useful thing when needing a lot of beer !). I set off with a couple of breweries new to me, Vocation from Hebden Bridge, and Left Handed Giant (of Bristol). Both the Chop and Change and the Pale Ale, respectively, were decent beers, well crafted and tasty.

Unfortunately, no lists were available when I was there, but from memory there seemed to be some of the beers I wanted to try missing. A quick enquiry with the staff revealed that two suppliers had let them down so they had to make do with 'more usual' replacements. This had a bearing on the rest of my day as it reduced the beers I wanted to try quite considerably. Anyway, onwards and upwards. There was plenty of variety still to be had, and next up were beers from down south. Pig & Porter and Siren were both sampled, and I found the latter particularly good. but that was outshone by my next choice, Windswept 'Weizen' - a really good wheat beer.A couple more local beers this time, Northern Monk 'Faith' and Sunbeam 'Sun Kissed' - both decent beers from local Leeds breweries.

By this time my plan for the rest of the day was formulating, its amazing what a bit of liquid refreshment can do. When I left my comrades after about a hour, there were only 5 people in the pub, all were festival goers, I dread to think what normal Thursday customer numbers are !  I decided to try the nearest Nicholson's house, the 'Victoria' to sample their 'festival'. What a disappointment. One beer, no lists (apparently you have to download the App) and no reason to stay.

At least it galvanised the plan. Hop back on the trusty steed and take a look at Bradford. I know I wrote quite recently about my dislike of the city and its pubs but I had heard of a couple of new places to try so I thought I would try them out. One of my problems with the city is that the decent bars are all concentrated in the North Parade area, at the top of the city, so when someone told me the Old Bank had reopened as a decent pub it seemed churlish not to try it.

It is fairly centrally sited, and down a couple of steps. I checked out about 6 cask beers on the bar, from far and wide and my half of Upham 'Punter' was decent if not outstanding. The pub itself is light and airy and a pleasant place to while away a few minutes. But I had another objective, to find the brewery tap of the new Bradford Brewery. 

It was a bit of hike, again up the hill towards the market area, but instead of turning right towards the bars I had tried before I went straight past Morrisons and was faced with a yellow painted building - no signage but it looked like a pub. And it was. 8 beers on offer, 3 from the Bradford Brewery - all sampled and all good beers of different styles - and the others all interesting. The pub itself is fresh, clean and welcoming and the knowledgable barmaid filled me in with a bit of gen about the brewery and the pub. There have been 8 beers so far produced, and the number of pump clips around the bar give testament to the number of guest beers served. There are several keg lines too, but it seems that the brewery are intending to can and bottle their beer rather than keg it, suprisingly.

By this time, my beer-o-meter was showing full, so it was time to make my way back to the bus station and home. An interesting day of contrasts, but one decent beer festival, and a new brewery tap to reflect on.

No comments: