Much like the River Aire, the beer scene in the Leeds/Bradford Area never stops moving as exciting, new breweries and pubs frequent the landscape. Bradford’s front runner in the scene is The Sparrow. Since it opened in 2012 The Sparrow has been the place to go to get your fix of flavoursome, modern beer from all around the globe but also from our best local breweries. In addition to the Bradford bastions of Real Ale like The Corn Dolly and Fighting Cock, there are the new additions of The Fox in Shipley, the recently moved Oddfellows and on the horizon, The Record Café.
Regarding the important bit, the stuff in your glass, Saltaire Brewery continue to expand and evolve adding beers to their range and in 2014 collaborated with Dark Star from Sussex and Leeds’ Northern Monk on IPAs, Bocks and Smoked Porters. Nearby Ilkley Brewery continue to experiment to exciting conclusions with whisky barrel aged beers like their Speyside Siberia. Opening late 2014, brewing returns to the city centre in the form of Bradford Brewery.
Bursting at the seams with beery delights, Leeds has recently seen the opening of numerous new places to drink; most notably Bundobust. A joint venture between the people behind Bradford’s The Sparrow linking up with the critically acclaimed Prashad restaurant, Bundobust is a fine blend Craft Beer bar and Indian Street Food café. Lining their bar are the likes of Magic Rock, Camden Town, the much lorded Mikkeller (gypsy brewer from Denmark) and permantant spots for their house beer, a Czech Brewed Corriander Pilsner and Saltaire Gold.
Leeds has also welcomed Tapped, a brewpub in the US style brought to us by Pivovar, the people behind York Tap, Euston Tap, Harrogate Tap and a number of others bars who have introduced quality beer to discarded buildings in/near railway stations. The ever popular Friends of Ham have taken over the unit next door, making their small yet perfectly formed space into a more spacious beery, meaty heaven. Scottish purveyors of hoppy delights, BrewDog, are soon to relocate to a bigger premises and remodel their current location into BottleDog, supplying the city centre with a much-needed bottle shop.
I cannot mention our local beer scene without mentioning Northern Monk Brew Co. Born in Bradford and realized in Leeds, Northern Monk are the newest kids on the brewing block and after collaborations with Saltaire, Quantum, Bad Seed and Atom have finally planted some roots in the city’s Hollbeck area. They launched the brewery in late August with the taproom opening in the near future.
Its never been such an exciting time to be a beer drinker in this area, whether it’s from a cask, keg, bottle or can the beer is flowing and it’s tasting great!
This article was first produced as part of the programme for Saltaire Brewery Beer Festival. Big thanks to Tony for asking me to write this piece.