Ever been to the Brudenell Social Club in Hyde Park, Leeds? Ask someone in Leeds and they’ll likely immediately tell you that it’s one of Leeds’ premier gig venues. Which it is! But recently, it’s undergone a bit of a transformation. Now, it is also a haven for amazing beer.
So, here we are in the middle of Tryanuary 2018. I’m pleased to say, after a fairly slow start (I thought a few days off the beer after a beer a day in December, was probably a good idea) I’ve now embraced the campaign and I’m looking forward to some special events I’ve got to come. In this week’s post, I wanted to write about two fantastic bars, new to me, that I went to as part of the Bradford and Leeds Tryanuary pub crawl.
Last week, I posted my Golden Pints looking at my favourite beer and events of 2017. But, I wanted to do something special that celebrates pubs too. With Tryanuary just a few days away, I thought I’d share with you my favourite pubs of 2017. I hope this end of year awards celebration encourages you to support the great British Pub throughout January, whether you’re partaking in Tryanuary, or going dry. Enjoy!
With 2017 coming to a close, it means January 2018 is almost upon us. With an estimated 6 million Brits looking to partake in Dry January (a month of sobriety after December’s indulgence!), January is a tough month for pubs and breweries. To address this, four years ago Tryanuary was set up. The goal is to encourage people to support pubs and brewers throughout January, whilst raising money for charity.
Back in September 2017, I wrote an article asking if the Fleece in Fartown, Pudsey, was the best pub in Leeds. A cracking pub on the outskirts of the city. But, with around 550 pubs in the Leeds metropolitan area (figure courtesy of WhatPub), it’s bound to have competition, right? Right!
Talk beer to a modern beer drinker and you can probably expect Brewdog to come up at some point. Whether you like them or not, they have influenced the UK beer scene significantly since they arrived. They have challenged the way we experience beer, from flavour and style, to product branding and marketing. There isn’t often a day that goes by without something happening in the Brewdog world. Recently, this seemed dialled up to eleven with two significant events happening. First, the launch of Equity for Punks V, then Brewdog Collabfest.
Steeped in history, the Cardigan Arms has been evidenced to exist back in 1798, but is thought to be older than that. This would make it one of Leeds’ oldest still trading public houses, although a few decades younger than Whitelocks and a mere toddler compared to the claimed grand old age of the Bingley Arms in Bardsey, which it is said dates to before 1000 AD.
We are fortunate in Leeds to have a City Centre that is so well populated with great beer pubs and bars. Like many of our Northern neighbours (Manchester, Sheffield), the people of Leeds have really taken a shine to the recent beer boom and the vast choice of drinking venues available to us is testament to that.
Last year, I had the privilege of meeting Keir McAllister-Wilde. Introduced by a mutual friend, it was an exciting time as it was one more brewery to add to Leeds’ growing list and an opportunity to meet another brewer.
It’s astonishing to think that it was only just over 6 years ago that Leeds’ brewing scene was still dominated by Tetley’s. After Carlsberg’s decision to close the site and move brewing elsewhere, it was a tough time for employees, beer consumer support groups and for the city of Leeds itself. Almost 200 years of brewing heritage gone in the blink of an eye.