Last night Kate and I went to the opening gala of the Leeds International Film Festival, which was a special showing of The King’s Speech at the Town Hall. They had erected a big screen on the stage and, as is relevant for the purposes of this blog, a bar in the foyer.
Leeds Town Hall already has a rather cramped bar down the side of the main room, but it wasn’t open last night. Leeds Brewery were one of the sponsors of the festival and so the festival bar stocked only their beers and was presumably run by them. They had bottles of their other beers in the fridge, but on tap there was Leeds Pale and the “official film festival beer” Reel Ale.
AnCnoc whisky are also a sponsor of the festival and they gave away free shots of single malt. I’m afraid I’m not sure which age the sample was, and to be honest I know next to nothing about Scotch despite having spent four years in St Andrews. I had a half of cask Brewdog Paradox in North Bar earlier in the week and I’m still tasting the peat. I’ve always preferred smoother Irish whiskeys, but I’m not one to turn down free booze and the sample was nice and smooth.
The Reel Ale (£3.50 and served in a plastic pint glass, but hey) was 4.4% and tasted like a lower ABV, less flavoursome version of the Midnight Bell, which I discussed earlier in the week. It’s a creamy dark mild with a bit of chocolate. Perfectly pleasant but nothing to particularly excite. Kate had the Leeds Pale, which was on surprisingly good form, and I slightly regretted not going for that, but not overly.
We got to take our pints in to see the film, which I’d only done a couple of times before, including when I saw Watchmen at a cinema in Milton Keynes. As I did then, I again inevitably had to bother everybody by getting up an hour into the film to go to the loo.
If you’re interested, the film was actually brilliant. I was a bit wary about going to see a Colin Firth period film about the Queen’s dad, but it had a well-pitched script, beautiful cinematography and a superb cast, including Geoffrey Rush, Derek Jacobi, Michael Gambon and Helena Bonham-Carter.*
It was great to see the film with such a sense of occasion in the grandly decorated room, and if you get the chance you should try to catch any other films they’re showing there during the festival, especially if you get to have a pint of the Leeds Pale at the same time.
We left the film in good spirits and went on to North Bar, which turned out to be full of transvestites, evil scientists and women in suspenders, as Rocky Horror had just finished at the Grand. It was a great atmosphere and as friendly, festive and welcoming as North usually is.
North has a lot of Brewdog in at the minute, including the aforementioned cask Paradox, cask Trashy Blonde, keg 5am Saint and will also have, as of today, manager Matt’s own stag party beer, “Alice Porter”. We had a couple of great pints of the hoppy, citrussy Trashy Blonde and capped off the night by splashing out on a big bottle of Stone Double Bastard 2009, which was a syrupy, hoppy beast full of rotten fruit that should be any sensible person’s last drink of the night. We went home very happy.
*As the Queen Mum! Wasn’t she doing filthy things with Tyler Durden last time I saw her?