Leeds's brewing bonanza

Leeds is enjoying a brewing bonanza with more than 40 breweries within 10 miles of the city.

The small specialist brewers are claiming the high ground at the pumps in many of today's pubs.

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Tetley's brewery may be facing closure but dozens of independent "micro" breweries are thriving and supplying an increasing number of local pubs with their ales.

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Helping them do it is Leeds branch of the Campaign for Real Ale - CAMRA - Britain's biggest consumer pressure group with more than 80,000 members.

CAMRA was formed in the 1970s to defend traditional British pubs and beer making methods.

Its latest scheme in Leeds promotes pubs which sell beers brewed within 10 miles of the city. When the scheme began in February it involved 12 pubs. Today the number is 38 and growing.

The scheme is called "LocAle."

CAMRA provides free window posters, stickers and beer pump clips to pubs which stock locally-brewed beers. The beer has to be "real ale" - that is, produced using traditional methods and ingredients.

Leeds CAMRA said: "We've chosen a simple system of 'Leeds plus 10' which means that a LocAle brewery is either within the Leeds Metropolitan District or within 10 miles of the boundary, and we're

very fortunate to have over 40 0f them.

"We think it's a great initiative for all involved - the pubs, the breweries and the real ale drinkers in the area."

Barrie Pepper is one of Britain's leading authorities on beer, pubs and brewing having written 16 books on the subject.

Mr Pepper lives in Leeds and is a former Labour Councillor, broadcast journalist, and founder member of Leeds branch of CAMRA.

He said: "When we founded Leeds CAMRA in 1973 there were 16 breweries in Yorkhire, mainly large ones, and nine of them closed. Today there are more than 90 breweries in the county. Within the last six months two more have opened in Leeds - Ridgeside at Meanwood and Wharfe Bank at Pool - and another is opening in Kirkstall in January."

Pubs wanting to join the LocAle scheme can contact Leeds CAMRA at Leeds

CAMRA PO Box 215, Calverley, Pudsey, Leeds LS28 0BQ or by visiting the group's website at www.leeds-camra.com

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