August is now behind us and the last of the vacationers are returning to their city homes. Personally having returned only a few days ago, we are already thinking and planning our next holiday getaway. Every September from 2006 and up until 2011 I had a standard destination. The magical and “exotic” city of Leeds. Yes, I know I am a bit tiring with my obsession, but please be patient there is a reason.
My last year in the city of West Yorkshire was 2011. However, fate has a way of playing strange games. Three years later Leeds begins hosting the “Leeds Beer Festival” which coincided with the beginning of my involvement with beer.
As I have mentioned in a previous article Leeds has long history in brewing which in recent years has begun growing again. The days of its glory when Tetley’s Brewery along with Kirkstall Brewery dominated the region may be long gone but it appears that things are changing. The first may have been acquired by the Carlsberg Group and its last “fort” demolished in 2012 but the second, along with several more breweries have been revived from their ashes and are doing well.
Let’s take things from the beginning. Leeds is the 3rd largest city in the United Kingdom with a population of 761,00. Its colleges and universities attract many young people in the region.
The two airports, that of Leeds Bradford and that of Manchester, make access to the city easier, although the option of Manchester is usually the least expensive. An open ticket of around 15pounds and a 45-minute train ride separate you from your final destination. Arriving at the central station you will be greeted by the large LEEDS sign.
Accommodation options are many and for all budgets. No matter where you decide to stay it’s nice to know that you can go almost everywhere on foot. If you dislike walking, I have to inform you that, the city does not have a subway, so you will need to get around by bus or you may use a taxi to get around but those are for those with a larger budget.
The central shopping area is on Briggatte and the many side streets. The heart of Leeds night life beats in the center of the city, as well as in the greater surrounding area, with options for every taste and
budget. Vasilis, a good friend and now resident of Leeds and big foodie (as it’s now called) made sure to help me with this particular article by sending a list of the best places that you will find at this time in the city of Leeds and are worth visiting for food, beer or a drink. Using this list as your compass I feel that I need to inform you that a visit to Belgrave Music Hall is a must. While there, make sure you taste the Patti Smiths burgers and pair it with beer, the options are many and I suggest you don’t limit yourself. Browse around, check out all the events, you will certainly find something that interests you. Enjoy your meal with live music. The venue and its industrial decor blend harmoniously with whole concept.
Meat lovers will also, enjoy a visit to the Red True BBQ. No need to say much about what you will find on the menu here. I will only tell you that on their beer menu you will find American beers, from Texas, New Orleans and Michigan that are well worth trying. My next recommendation would be the Friends of Ham. Here you will find a variety of beers to try, with beer flight of 3 and as many as 10 choices, as well as several beer themed events. A visit that will quench your thirst and reward you in the best of ways. If you would rather have a more, of what we call, traditional beer Headrow House is the place you should try. If weather permits, enjoy your beer on the terrace. If you’ve had enough of beer and would rather enjoy a different type of beverage our list can guide you there also.
It may be a bit posher but the Alchemist is the place to go for spirits and a wide variety of cocktails with prices starting at about £7,00. It’s open in the morning for coffee and breakfast at reasonable prices. The Angelica Cocktail Bar is another option for a drink. An extensive list of drinks and cocktails, in addition to local beers can be found by the Yorkshire Brewery.
England, being multicultural by nature, offers cuisines from around the world for you to try. For tapas and Spanish beer, you can visit the Pintura and Iberica. They may not offer many choices but they are satisfactory. The former offers our favorite Er Borgeron along with an excellent list of Gin’n Tonics in case you aren’t interested in having a beer. The latter has a purely Spanish selection. The Iberica, also, gives you the opportunity to try sidra, which is essentially cider in Spanish (I was very happy when I saw it on their list). If you are interested in a multinational experience, visit Zaap for Street Tai, the traditional bright colors and slew of patterns in the space may seem a bit cheesy, but never mind them, here you can enjoy the classic Chang and Singha beers!
The city gastronomic map has changed considerably. It offers a large variety of quality options. Don’t take my word for it though. Do your own exploring, tell us about your experiences and give us your own tips.
As I mentioned in the beginning the beer industry is experiencing an upward trend in this “corner” of the country. Old Breweries and Pubs are being revived and new ones are taking their first steps. A typical example is Kirkstall Brewery which even after the latest destruction of its pub due to flooding it hasn’t stopped its operation. This along with many more from every corner of England and the world you will be able to taste this year’s Leeds Beer Festival
The Leeds Beer Festival stared in 2013 and takes place in the Headrow city hall (which is difficult not to spot). This year the festival will take place from the 8th and until the 11th of September. Distinct breweries from England (North and South), in addition to breweries from, America, New Zealand, Denmark and Italy are just a few of the breweries that will be represented during the festival.
Ticket prices range from £7,50-8,00. There are also passes for the days of the festival priced at £60,00. The operating hours vary and so do ticket prices. For that reason, I would recommend to anyone wanting to attend to first visit the festival’s site.
Closing I would like to say that I am terribly jealous (always in a good sense) of those that are now in Leeds (and yes that includes Vasili). I check for tickets every day and keep hoping that my business commitments will eventually allow for a trip to Leeds and the Leeds Beer Festival. If not, a few pictures, a burger and a beer will have to suffice.
Au re voir, Cheers and I’ll be back.
This post is also available in: Greek
Η Δανάη Μαργαριτίδη έχει πτυχίο Διοίκησης Επιχειρήσεων και μεταπτυχιακό τίτλο Δημοσίων Σχέσεων του Πανεπιστημίου του Λιντς. Γύρισε στην πατρίδα εξαιτίας της εμπιστοσύνης της στην δύναμη που δείχνουμε ως λαός στα δύσκολα και της αγάπης για τους δικούς της ανθρώπους. Τον τελευταίο καιρό κάποια μοίρα της παίζει "ένα παιχνίδι" και η Ζωή την έφερε σε επαφή με την μπύρα..
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