Posts tagged ‘beer’

September 9, 2013

Leeds International Beer Festival

On Thursday, I went to the second Leeds International Beer Festival.

Now, I know nothing about beer. Other than knowing what tastes I prefer (light, hoppy, perhaps some raspberry) and what I really don’t like (heavy, ‘chewy’ and too much grapefruit) I’m a complete novice. If you want to know more about beer from people who know what they’re talking about then I recommend you visit Leigh Linley at The Good Stuff or Nick at The Beer Prole (especially as there’s a photo of me looking remarkably sober on his Beer Festival post!) I like light (or what Leigh called ‘introductory’) beer and I’m happy with that. Actually, my favourite beer of all time is ‘Matilda’ made by Goose Island, if you’re ever buying…

Despite my utter lack of knowledge about beer, this isn’t the first beer festival I’ve been to. I’ve attended, and enjoyed, many a traditional CAMRA festival, despite being female and beardless, which seemed to put me distinctly in the minority. Leeds International Beer Festival is a different thing altogether though, and because of those differences, it’s the best one I’ve ever been to.

Firstly, the location is a stunning one. Leeds Town Hall is an incredible building and a wonderful choice. Having it here makes the statement that it’s being taken very seriously as an addition to the calendar of events in Leeds and that can only be a good thing. Combining beer with some excellent street food and coffee from local companies was a brilliant idea, giving us a break from drinking to line our stomachs with tasty treats!

Leeds International Beer Festival

Lovely beer and equally lovely ceiling!

We had battered-three-ways fish and chips from Fish&, chickpea stew from Lafsaneh’s Kitchen and some freebies at the very end of the night from Bundobust who are soon to open in central Leeds. I’m really excited to see where and when this opens because it was gorgeous and I’ve yet to visit the renowned Prashad restaurant, who are collaborators in this venture. Everything we ate was really excellent quality and freshly made and I honestly could have tried something from every stall! Definitely an addition that should be made to all beer festivals in future. As well as food, there was also live music all night, which helped to create the vibrant and upbeat atmosphere.

The collection of beers was an interesting one, with many contemporary-looking craft breweries and companies from the US and Europe as well as local names. My favourite drink from the evening was ‘Wu Gang Chops the Tree‘ from a small brewery called Pressure Drop. Described by them as a foraged herb hefeweisse, to me it had a light gingery and clove aftertaste which was incredibly palatable. And who doesn’t want to try a beer with that name? I also really enjoyed Lux Borealis from Hardknott brewery and some favourites from more local Yorkshire breweries, such as Ilkey Brewery’s Mary Jane and Kirkstall Brewery’s Framboise.

Such a great event, and one I hope will return next year. If it does, I’ll be back and I recommend you visit too…

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December 5, 2011

Real Ale Trail.

On Saturday, in celebration of my lovely brother-in-law’s birthday, four of us set out to complete the Transpennine Real Ale Trail, which is essentially a pub crawl of real-ale selling pubs, by train. Each pub along the way is either close to or actually inside each train station along the Trail. My Twitter question about clothing choices gave me the unanimous verdict of flat footwear for running to the train in – which, considering that I was planning to drink beer, did not fill me with joy!

I decided on these old favourites:

Favourite old boots

Therefore teaching me a lesson about always making sure that I get boots heeled and soled, and give them a good conditioning treatment before putting them away in storage, as they are a bit battered, poor old boots!

Anyway, setting off for Stalybridge, we found ourselves amongst a giant throng of people (99% of whom were male) who, attired in varying degrees of fancy dress, were in a cheerful mood for an all-day train-and-beer session.

I’m not going to give you a complete run down of the whole day, but here are a few highlights:

  • The first beer of the day, ‘Lemon Blossom’, served in the pub on Stalybridge station, which was crammed full of Ale Trail people, all in good cheer.

Lemon Blossom, nearly all gone!

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  • Lunch at The Riverhead Brewery Tap  in Marsden – where we left the crowds and went upstairs to the dining room for really lovely food, which I’m pretty convinced helped me stave off a hangover

At the lunch table.

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  • Running for the train at Slaithewaite (yes, running and beer…) only to find out that it had been delayed at the previous stop due to the sheer number of Ale Trail-ers. Actually, I’m not sure this is a highlight, but it was memorable.
  • Coming out of the station in Huddersfield to be faced with a black tarpaulin, a thumping bass line and a bunch of people hanging from a crane, as part of the city’s Festival of Light

Aerial Ballet.

  • My beers of choice for the day: Lemon Blossom, Blonde Witch, Fiery Liz, and Brewster’s Blonde.

Although it was a long day, I had lots of fun. To have a whole day free with no parental responsibilities (thanks to my lovely in-laws) was a rare treat and I made the most of it. Even better, I was in my pj’s by 9pm, sitting in front of the TV with takeaway noodles. So I didn’t even have a hangover when I was awoken, as usual, in the early hours of the next day by my lovely son and his tractors…