Archive

Posts Tagged ‘bierkeller’

Lager, Lager, Lager, Shouting: Thornbridge Italia & Leeds Bierkeller

February 20, 2011 5 comments

For the purposes of a leaving do and a birthday party, I went to Leeds Bierkeller twice this week.  Thursday night was fine: a quiet night in the bar as there was no band on, I was able to talk with friends and try some of the different beers, of which I decided that Früh Kölsch (not a lager) and Flensburger Pilsener (which was) were my own favourites.  There was a delicate floral hoppiness in the Flensburger which was more interesting than most of the various Paulaners.

In accordance with the standard practice, many of the girls (excluding Kate) opted for the Belgian fruit beers, with many enjoying the draft Rosarda.  The waitresses in short dirndels, however, may or may not be to their tastes.

Friday night was very different: with the band on, the bar was bunged by 9 O’Clock, and one’s enjoyment of the event depends very much on whether you enjoy a Northern English band leading everyone in drinking songs, synchronised swaying, and being encouraged to stand on your seat (essentially the rules require that you absolutely must not stand on the table but you pretty much have to stand on the bench).  There was at least one stag do in, which is probably the market being targeted, really.

The band were good at what they did, however.  An example of one of their medleys went as follows:

Hitler Has Only Got One Ball > Yellow Submarine > She’s Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts > Lily The Pink > The Can Can > Oggy Oggy Oggy! Oi Oi Oi! > Ein Prosit.

If I had one particular criticism of the Bierkeller it’s that the televisions everywhere (above and around the bar, the little ones above the urinals) should probably be switched to something other than Sky News when all this is going on.  It’s difficult to get really into bawdy German drinking songs whilst the death tolls of anti-government protestors in Libya and Bahrain are constantly revised upwards on the big screen.

I should be clear that I’m not one of those people who liked pilsner before being converted to “real ale”; I always actively disliked pilsners, preferring Guinness and other nitrokegged stouts and even watery smoothflow beers such as Caffreys and Tennents Velvet.  That’s not to say that, given no other option, I won’t happily drink a Peroni, Stella or Mahou in a restaurant, but it tends to be a last resort.

However, on Saturday I found myself buying pilsner again, as Beer Ritz had Thornbridge Italia in.  According to the label, it’s a collaboration with Maurizio Folli of Birrifico Italiano, made with Hallertau Northern Brewer, Perle and Spalter Select hops.  I thought it would probably go well with curry.

Pouring a very pale blond, it had a fresh lemongrass smell and a light, sharp, slightly grassy floral taste.  There was a small amount of the usual pilsner biscuitiness in there, which carried through into a building, light citrus bitterness in the aftertaste.  As Reluctant Scooper notes, there’s a lot going on in there for a pilsner, although it remains a light, refreshing beer. 

I think it’s an excellent example of the style, it’s just that it’s not a style of beer that I particularly like.  Much as I love Thornbridge, it’ll probably be a while before I get this again.  However I would probably pick it over most other pilsners.

For Rob’s review of Italia on keg at The Grove, Huddersfield, see his post on Hopzine.  Ghost Drinker has a more comprehensive review of the Bierkeller with lots of photos here.

Big Pilsner Contest: Bierkeller v North Bar v The Grove

January 11, 2011 4 comments

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:

On Tap
1. Paulaner Munchen Lager
2. Paulaner Hefe-Weisebier
3. Paulaner Dunkel Lager
X. Rosarda
4. Kaiserdom
5. Flensburger
6. Haus Bier

In Bottle
X. Timmermans Peche
X. Timmermans Kriek
X. Timmermans Frambois
7. Fruh Kolsch
8. Erdinger Schneeweisse
9. Schneider
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:

On Tap
1. DAB
2. Fruh Kolsch
3. Erdinger Urweisse
4. Guest German Wheat Beer
5. Schlenkerla Rauchbier

In Bottle
X. Fruh Kolsch
6. Jever
7. Kostritzer
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:

On Tap
1. Erdinger Urweisse
2. Früh Kölsch
3. Jever

In Bottle
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)
16. Veltins
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.

%d bloggers like this: