A small green “B” next to the door of an unused building in Leeds city center marks the location of Brooklyn Brewery’s Pop-Up bar.
This place is/was a secret, a mystery, I had to scratch around online to get any available scraps to find out where it was.
On arrival I was met by kind of a reception desk, where I could buy all kinds of Brooklyn Brewery merchandise and more importantly beer tokens. The deal was ?4.50 for 1 and then ?20 for 5, Esther and I opted for five and stepped in to the sparse interior.
The walls are unfinished and emblazoned with neon, spray painted logos, a small counter manned by Red True BBQ (more on that later) and a large corrugated metal bar backed with a line of signature tap handles mounted on a temporary wall.
The beers of offer were Brooklyn Lager, Pennant Ale, Brown Ale in pint measures, Sorachi Ace, Cuvée La Boîte, Weisse, EIPA in 2/3rds and lastly Blast limited to halves at 9% abv.
We enjoyed pints of Brown Ale (one of my favourites from My Oliver and co) glasses of Sorachi Ace and Cuvée La Boîte ending with a shared pint of Brown once again to spend our last token on. The Brown Ale was tasting great, flavoursome, nicely sweet and effortlessly quaffable, Sorachi Ace wasn’t what I remember so fondly and seem to lack something, Cuvée La Boîte was very tasty, complex and very Belgian. Sorachi Ace was so lacking that I thought Cuvée La Boîte and Sorachi Ace had been incorrectly connected to the taps…I was told otherwise. Kind of a shame as I think really highly of that beer?
We shared a couple of portions of food from the Reds True BBQ sat at the long picnic tables. On the menu were baby back ribs with coleslaw and cornbreads and pulled pork sandwiches. Red’s is a very popular eatery and to the point that I’ve never managed to get a table. I’ve heard good and famously bad reports from this trendy “Dirty Food” venue and I wasn’t too impressed myself. The ribs were terrible, dry, incinerated and caked in sickly sweet sauce, a real letdown. The coleslaw was hardly coleslaw and more like shredded salad, the cornbreads were bland, and with the structural integrity of a dry Victoria Sponge. Thankfully the pulled pork sarnie was better, nicely smoked and still juicy then topped with another sweet sauce that personally I think should have offered a bit more. I’ve made my own BBQ sauces in the past and have been much more interesting than these. If you want a good pulled pork sandwich try the Brewdog bar in Manchester, that one was massive (admittedly more expensive) tipped with charred edges and a wonderfully spicy sauce, I’m not a spicy fan but that was stunning slow n’ low eating…not this.
Overall I really enjoyed my time at Brooklyn’s Pop-Up bar, it was a Wednesday evening and it had only been open for about an hour so it was rather quiet but had a nice atmosphere, I expect Friday and Saturday it will be buzzing and packed to the rafters. The beer was great and that’s the most important thing and I’m sure word has now got around and the young and painfully cool will now descend…that’s OK us beer geeks got there first. So that makes us the coolest!
So where was/is it you ask? I’m not saying…find out for yourself.