Big Pilsner Contest: Bierkeller v North Bar v The Grove
There’s a new German Bierkeller which has opened on Park Row in Leeds, in the cellar of the building that also houses Shooter’s Sports Bar and the new “Park Row Bar & Brasserie”.
I haven’t ventured in yet, but I will in the near future. It offers an Oompah band on Fridays and Saturdays, serves their beers on tap in steins (if you fancy it) and would seem to promise the rowdy fun of the big beer tent at the German Christmas market in Millennium Square in Leeds, but all year round. Whilst it’s not selling itself as a great place for a quiet, contemplative drink, much like the Christmas market I think it’ll probably lend itself well to an evening out with a large group of friends; birthday parties etc.
I enjoy the atmosphere of the Christmas market (see picture above), but the beer selection isn’t that extensive. Kate pointed out that the Bierkeller’s website claims that they have “the largest German beer selection in the North” and expressed some doubt at this. I decided this was worth investigating.
This is the Bierkeller’s list of beers from the website:
1. Paulaner Munchen Lager
2. Paulaner Hefe-Weisebier
3. Paulaner Dunkel Lager
6. Haus Bier
X. Timmermans Peche
X. Timmermans Kriek
X. Timmermans Frambois
7. Fruh Kolsch
8. Erdinger Schneeweisse
10. Schlosser Alt
11. St Georgebrau
That’s quite a good selection, with some fruit beers (“Schooner of strong imported US craft keg for the gentleman; half of fruit beer in a branded stem glass for the lady” is destined to be the catchphrase for Al Murray’s successors). However all the fruit beers (Timmermans and Rosarda) are Belgian, so that leaves 11 German beers. A decent turnout – 11 Germans are generally considered a pretty formidable opposition – but surely at least one bar in Northern England can boast a larger selection?
I thought North Bar would be a likely competitor in Leeds. Bearing in mind that their online beer list doesn’t include the regularly changing guest beers, their extensive permanent selection contains the following Germans:
2. Fruh Kolsch
3. Erdinger Urweisse
4. Guest German Wheat Beer
5. Schlenkerla Rauchbier
X. Fruh Kolsch
8. Schlenkerla Rauchbier
9. Schneider Aventinus
10. Schneider Weisse
11. Weihenstephanan Kristall
That’s 12, but I’m afraid one of the Fruhs has to be disqualified as it turns up both on tap and in the bottle and the guest is, um, a guest. So Bierkeller probably holds out as unbeaten, at least for the best permanent selection of German beers in Leeds. Although someone may correct me on that; Mr Foleys has a fairly extensive selection of imported beers in the fridges these days.
Of course North also has a fantastic selection of US, Belgian and other great beers so it probably wouldn’t be interested in this particular scrap anyway. However the next challenger is a heavyweight in all categories: The Grove in Huddersfield [insert big fight entrance music here].
The Grove’s astonishingly extensive beer and cider menu is here. Amongst those 9 remarkable pages of small print you’ll find the following Germans:
1. Erdinger Urweisse
2. Früh Kölsch
4. Schlösser Das Alt
5. Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche (Oak Smoke) Doppelbock
6. Erdinger Pikantus Dunkler Weizen-Bok
7. Neuzeller Bockbier
8. Schmucker Rose Bock
9. Schneider Aventinus Weizen Eisbock
10. Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock
11. Erdinger Pikantus Dunkler Weizen-Bok
12. St Georgen Brau Kellerbier
13. Kuppers Kolsch
14. Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen
15. Neuzeller Kirsch Beer (Cherry)
17. Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche (Oak Smoke) Doppelbock
18. Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen
19. Schlenkerla Rauchbier Weizen
20. Erdinger Acoholfrei
21. Erdinger Pikantus Dunkler Weizen-Bok
22. Erdinger Weiss Dunkel
23. Maisel Weissbier Dunkel
24. Maisel Weissbier Hell
25. Paulaner Hefe-Weisbier
26. Schneider Aventinus
So there you go. The Bierkeller doesn’t have the best selection of German beer in the North, nor indeed in West Yorkshire.
To be fair I think any challenger in the North generally would have a hard time beating The Grove for selection in any category of beer. But then again, Bierkeller has more on tap; I don’t think I could cope with more than 11 steins of beer in one sitting; and I bet The Grove doesn’t have a house Oompah band.