Bar review: Brew Dog, Leeds

Brew Dog.

Brew Dog.

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What started as a bright idea to bring craft ale to the masses without having to deal with large-scale brewery chains has now snowballed into an international movement.

BrewDog, set up in 2007 to celebrate fine beer, now boasts bars in as far flung places as Sao Paulo and Florence, is a true people’s movement, funded by equity shareholders, and focused entirely on quality products rather than high margins.

From the outset it placed itself in opposition to mainstream breweries and has never been afraid to shirk from its subversive and underground image.

The Leeds outlet fits in perfectly with this ethos.

Nestled around the back of the Corn Exchange on Crown Street, is now approaching its third birthday and is all things to all beer lovers.

Small but perfectly formed with just a handful of tables over its two floors, it forms part of the White Cloth Hall complex.

Behind the bar, no matter the hour, you will find a dizzying array of ales of varying strengths and flavours.

Among the mainstays of their greatest hits are the BrewDog classics such as Punk IPA, Dead Pony Pale Ale. Vagabond Pale Ale, Five AM Red Ale and This. Is. Larger.

Open entering the bar it immediately becomes apparent that this place is no run-of-the-mill joint.

Nothing mainstream is behind the bar, an ever- changing raft of guest beers are proudly marked up with tasting notes behind the bar on a board.

And if you are feeling daunted fear not, this is no elitist club for beer purists.

Staff are happy to run through what is on offer and give advice on what might fit individual palates.

The beer itself is a triumph; refined, well-crafted, full of flavour and not even remotely mass-produced.

The chain’s mantra of “no added ingredients or preservatives, no chemicals, no cheap substitutes” really rings true as soon you put your glass to your lips.

As for the ambiance, as you would expect BrewDog attracts a certain clientèle, those who know their beer and won’t settle for second best.

The place is clean and friendly but has the airs of a German beer hall, a mass of noisy groups chewing the fat and enjoying their ale.

Craft Ale is becoming increasingly popular, with the chains catching on to the trend and seeking to jump on the bandwagon.

However it is important to recognise and respect those who were at the vanguard of the movement - and to acknowledge those who know their stuff to the nth degree.

A proper beer fan’s night out.

Rating: 4/5