Archive

Posts Tagged ‘ballast point’

BrewDog Leeds: The Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost Deer

March 15, 2013 5 comments

BrewDog Leeds opened this week, seemingly against the odds. I’ve previously discussed the difficulties this bar had obtaining a licence, which raises its own issues as to whether all drinkers should be tarred with the same brush.

photo-9

In the time since it was announced, I’ve had several doubts about BrewDog Leeds. It’s a terribly small site. It’s at an end of town that’s already loud, boisterous and overcrowded on weekend evenings. It’s just another bar in a chain.

photo-3

All of those things are true. First, the size issue: I think it would be uncomfortable to have more than around 60 people over the two floors. But there are a couple of nice booths upstairs, comfortable stools, shelves to rest a beer dotted around and, overall, the space is used to its full potential. And cosy can be friendly: on the shareholder night, we chatted to our neighbours about the beers and got to know people we hope to see again, as the trains rolled by outside the windows.

photo-2

It is at an overcrowded end of town. However there are good places to eat nearby and some pretty decent bars on Call Lane, although five year-old memories of others do still make me shudder.

photo-7

It’s also not a million miles away from North Bar and you could easily do Leeds’ new holy trinity of small craft beer bars (North, Friends of Ham, BrewDog Leeds) in an evening and still make it back to the last train.

photo-8

And yes, it’s a part of a chain. This one looks exactly like the others: reclaimed gym floorboards on the walls, brick bar, stripped-back grey industrial chic. But that works well and right now the BrewDog bars remain a great chain with an ethos that credits its customers with an interest in and enthusiasm about good beer.

photo-1

I’ve not been to a BrewDog bar that I didn’t like, where I didn’t get excellent service, or where I wasn’t a little excited by the selection of beers, particularly the imported ones. On the opening night, I enjoyed beer from Ballast Point, Mikkeller and De Molen, and even managed to squeeze a couple of BrewDogs in around the edges.

photo-6

So if you live in Leeds, be sure to add BrewDog Leeds to your list of regular haunts. If you happen to be visiting Leeds city centre for a few beers, that holy trinity of North, Friends of Ham and BrewDog Leeds is worth the pilgrimage.

photo-5

Next month I’m going to Sweden and should be there for the opening week of BrewDog Stockholm, provided the ship full of gym floorboards and trendy beards makes it through the Øresund strait. It’ll be another bar in a chain, but I still can’t wait.

See also: Rob’s post at Hopzine and this interview with manager Sophie at Leeds List.

BrewDog Leeds, White Cloth Hall, Crown Street, Leeds, LS1 7RB @BrewDogBarLeeds

Advertisements

Old Town/New Town: Brewdog Edinburgh & The Oxford Bar

December 1, 2011 10 comments

Kate and I spent our honeymoon in Scotland around the start of November.  We started with a couple of nights in Edinburgh, which meant we only really had one day to explore, although even that was in a bit of a sleepy, post-wedding daze.

However, we did get to go to two bars outside the hotel: The Oxford Bar and Brewdog Edinburgh.  I suppose they’re two extremes of drinking in Edinburgh: the Old Town and The New Town, which would have been a suitably poetic analogy except that the new bar is in the Old Town and vice versa.

Taking the new pub in the Old Town first, we wandered downhill from the Royal Mile into the belly of Edinburgh, the Cowgate.  The Cowgate was historically where cows were droved into Edinburgh for sale and was a slum.  Nowadays it still feels a bit like you’re in the undercity.  The Brewdog bar was a welcome sight, with its stripped back decor and exciting beer boards.  On this Sunday lunchtime it was quiet in terms of people, although the metal coming through the speakers was noisy enough.

Kate and I, with the counsel of barman Hoss, enjoyed a good pizza and olives as well as a few beers, including a Stone/Pizza Port Carlsbad/Green Flash Highway 78 (a “Scotch ale”) but the standout was Ballast Point Sculpin IPA: a really, really nice big, fruity IPA, which has deservedly been getting a bit of attention since it’s been available in the UK.

We could have stayed a little longer, but in order to actually explore the city in a state of semi-consciousness, we moved on, after buying a couple of rarities to enjoy later.  After wandering around for a bit more we ended up in the New Town and in The Oxford Bar, which Kate had wanted to visit for some time due to its appearance in Ian Rankin’s Rebus novels.

When you go into the Oxford Bar it’s tiny and packed with people.  Twenty people would probably fill the front room, and there were around that many in this Sunday afternoon.  Kate and I ordered a Deuchars IPA (in tribute to Ian Rankin) and a Williams Black.  Deuchars is Deuchars is Deuchars: a multi-award winning, bland, bready thing that teases the possibility of hops but never delivers, that I’m sure excited my naive palate around a decade ago.  The Williams Black was, by contrast, too challenging: altogether too liquoricey for an afternoon, more suited to the end of the evening maybe.

But The Oxford Bar has such an atmosphere: the barman held court in friendly chatter with the locals and strangers.  The quiet Brewdog bar of a few hours earlier was exciting in its design and the range of incredible beers it had to offer, as well as the knowledge of the staff.  The Oxford was a place I’d happily stay for ages, for reasons other than the beer. Much like Scotland.

%d bloggers like this: