@Beeroclockshow #CrimboCrawl – Leeds 2015

This past weekend, I’d the opportunity to return to Leeds for the annual christmas beer pilgrimage of the Beer O’Clock Show. Having lived in Leeds for a time during my younger years I was keen to get back and sample the ever increasing beer scene. 

This was going to be a two day affair, flying in on the Friday morning. The plan was to get to Leeds around Lunchtime. So I met up with Steve around Lunchtime and we made our way to that famous of Leeds establishments, Whitelocks, where we had our first couple of the day.

Bad Co Mogwai, and Squawk Small Pale Simcoe

From there, we made our way to Little Leeds Beer House for a couple of beers, and to meet one of our fellow crawlers. It’s was a nice opportunity to recce the venue before we descended on it as a group the next day. Located in the city’s Corn Exchange this has proven to be a little gem. I tried in here Northern Monk’s New World IPA, and Harbour’s Antipodean IPA.

But the hero beer of the day – given we don’t get any Cloudwater on our fair shores, it was their Winter IPA – it was quite simply stunning. It was only bottled a couple of days previously. 

The other purpose of the trip was to scope out some beers to bring home that would cheer up Mrs Beer Snob so from here we met everyone and made our way down to Huddersfield to visit Magic Rock and their Taproom. So that meant one thing! Train Beer! I picked a can of Moor Beer Revival which delicious and tasty just what I need in a train beer.

So we arrived at Magic Rock’s Taproom and i’m instantly impressed. A nice space that doesn’t just look like a bar tacked into a warehouse. This has been given a lot of thought. There are plenty of seats and tables. A nice long bar so you can get served easily.You can see into the brewery and they have their barrel ageing facility in the Taproom. Also a nice touch for the technologically dependant there was Wifi and multiple plugs available.

I love their branding and the beer list on the night did not disappoint either. The place was buzzing nicely with locals and we went to our table. Of course the first pint had to be Cannonball their superb IPA. Obviously had a taste of a number of their other beers. But i’m a big fan of Bearded Lady and was excited to try their latest version, aged in Pedro Ximenez barrels. 

That was the end of Day 1 for me, I returned back to Leeds to meet my friend and call it a night. 

Day 2, the day of the actual crawl I was really excited for, not only as it was the main event, but that i’d get to meetup with guys i’d met at Indyman recently. It’s true what they say – beer folk are good folk. So it was great to see all the friendly faces, and have beers with these folks.

The route itself was Northern Monk Refectory, The Black Swan, Little Leeds Beer House, North Bar, and Brewdog Shuffledog

Feeling a little delicate from the night before in Northern Monk I had a half of Monacus Pale Ale which was nice and tasty and light enough to get the day started. A session strength of 4.5%

Next stop was The Black Swan on Call Lane, in here we had a nice space reserved where we were able to chill out and natter. In here i tried Thornbridges Tonttu and Paradise Pale Ale both nice beers. I was particularly impressed by the Paradise beer, given it’s low ABV it was packed full of flavour. From here we moved on to Little Leeds Beer House and it was great again. The staff are very friendly and accommodating – this time around I had a can of Vocation Life & Death which was delicious. I also picked up my Beer that i’d selected the day before. 

From here we broke off up to North Bar, a Pint of Cannonball? Yes Please! At this stage food was needed, so we got some food. From there we were off to Brewdog’s new bar in Leeds, Shuffledog. An interesting concept, in a great space, in a marvellous building just a little outside the city centre! It was also the first time I got to avail of my EFP discount! They do draught only, and some spirits and coffee. There was some food but we were stuffed. 

The beer list itself was good and I got to try the new Albino Squid Assassin Red Rye IPA. It was a nice beer, and am looking forward to getting one or two cans when they become available. The Camden beer was clearly there before the big announcement! 🙂 I also had a couple of halves of the Nitro Milk Stout – just needed to sooth myself into my last beer of the night – Mikkeller Til Fra (Via) Imperial Porter. Really enjoyed the concept. The shuffle board downstairs looked like a laugh, but I was hooked on the retro arcade machines and Pinball! 

Venue of the weekend for me was Little Leeds Beer House, a great bottle shop with growler station, and located in the lovely Corn Exchange. The team were so helpful and patient with us. 

Any Irish importer reading this – you need to get Cloudwater, Moor Beers and Vocation Brewing beers into this country. They are superb

A huge thanks to Steve and Si (@Leedsbeerwolf) for all their hard work in organising a great trip. Make sure to check out some of the other guys blogs / photos from the trip (which i’ll update as more write it up) Can not wait for the next one.

Anarchy in the UK – A whistle stop tour of the brewing scene in West Yorkshire

As I sit here on a temperamental Sunday evening before I go back to work after two superb weeks off, I’m recalling the highlights of my most recent trip back to Leeds where I spent 10 years as a kid, before moving back to Ireland. A big thanks to Sam Parker, who I met recently at EBBC 14 who organised us some behind the scenes access to Three great Yorkshire Breweries.

Given we were staying out in Yeadon, these places weren’t too far away. We had a very clear itinerary set out which was based on this. We were really looking forward to this. 

First up was Wharfedale Brewing, who’s 2 Barrel Kit is neatly tucked in at the back of their pub, The Flying Duck. A building in Ilkley on the main road through to the Lakes. 

Here we met Stuart who is head brewer and we had a great old chat with him. He is very proud of his pub and brewery, and so he should. The pub is a great pub, an Old building that has been lovingly restored to its former glories. Its a very inviting bar, and upstairs the smoking area / beer garden has a great view down into the brewhouse. There they make their core range of beers, the Blonde is so popular however they’ve had to have that made in a local brewery as it is very popular on the Wharfedale Ales Trail. However its not recommended to do all 14 stops in one day! 

Next stop on this #snobsontour was Ilkley Brewery, which was literally five minutes away from Wharfedale. Here we met with Luke Raven who was kind enough to give us some of his time, and some tasty samples! Ilkley have literally exploded and they are brewing shedloads of tasty beer. As well as a mean core range, they’ve loads of specials that compliment that range. We were lucky enough to try the Mayan, a chocolate chipotle infused stout, a Siberia, a Rhubarb Saison (this was superb) and Mary Jane IPA, a hopped version of their Mary Jane Ale for the US market. Luke also was kind enough to give us whiskey aged specials to take home! Can’t wait to crack those open!!

Hopefully we’ll get to return the favour if he makes it to Ireland in the near future to check out our scene. 


The last stop of the day brought us to Wharfebank in Otley. Here we were met by Tyler at the brewery who brought us in and showed that amazing american hospitality, no soon were we in the door were we brought the most sumptious pints of Oberon. A special bitter @ 4.8%, this thing was sensational. Truly one of the best beers I tasted while on that trip. Oberon is a king in Shakespears Midsummer Nights dream, this certainly was a regal beer. I really hope that they get picked up by an Irish Distributor. Tyler was also kind enough to give us two bottles to bring home. Alongside another couple of specials, and a DIPA named Big Tiny! Tyler, we will definitely meet for pints when you are over in December ! 

Janice with the team @ Wharfebank

This all got me thinking, from chatting to each of the people involved in these breweries, it became clear they were respectful of the rich brewing tradition that exists in Yorkshire, and is blossoming with new brewers, Sam said there are 70 odd in W Yorks alone! That these brewers were not afraid to go beyond their “Core” range, infact some of the beers just sounded crazy, in a good way. I mean, a Rhubarb Saison, who wouldn’t be intrigued to try that. It is a lesson I feel our native brewers here need to take on board. It will get pretty boring if everyone does the same styles all the time. We are beginning to see some experimentation, but to those who say there is no market here for that, then how the hell do we sell out of the various Mikkeller, Evil Twin, Sierra Nevada, Rogue etc Beers? Just some food for thought I suppose. 

Once again, thanks for reading, all comments and feedback welcome!