Leeds Northern Monk Brewery’s Summer of Faith events to create a 'moment to escape’ after a rollercoaster year
It may sound like a throwback scene from the 1960s, with psychedelic art, booming music and crowds gathering to enjoy a taste of freedom.
But Northern Monk Brewery is tapping into talk of a post-prohibition style ‘summer of love’ when coronavirus restrictions lift in June, with a programme of events based around their staple ale Faith.
The series of events this summer will be hosted at its ever-popular beer garden, tucked away in the industrial heartland of Holbeck.
The independent brewery has flourished despite the pandemic and was recently crowned the overall winner of Ward Hadaway’s Yorkshire fastest growing business awards.
“It’s been a rollercoaster year,” said co-founder and managing director Russell Bisset, who founded Northern Monk in 2013 alongside Brian Dickson, the company’s head brewer.
“There’s been some incredibly challenging periods and we’re very conscious of the hardship that the pandemic has brought.
“We’re still relatively young, and quite scrappy and entrepreneurial in our approach, so we were quick to look how we could make the best of the situation to try and keep afloat.”
Northern Monk was “quick to pivot”, Russell said, and its beer subscription packages have been a hit with customers looking for a treat during lockdown.
The brewery has donated 10,000 cans of beer to NHS and frontline workers and launched creative delivery offers, such as a four-pack ‘bar crawl’ with each beer named after a room in customer’s homes - such as the Shower Head and the Sofa Arms.
“We wanted to use beer to create a little moment for people to escape”, Russell added.
“We hope we create some of the world’s best beer experiences, taking the rich tapestry of the North as inspiration to do that.”
The team at Northern Monk’s refectory, based in its smaller production site The Old Flax Store in Holbeck, are excited to welcome revellers back to its improved beer garden in April.
Bookings for the summer are flying out and Northern Monk has just announced Little Little Sümmer Boy’s residency - a collaboration between Asian street food vendors Little Bao Boy and vegan junk food pioneers Döner Summer.
The ‘Summer of Faith’, based around the 5.4% hazy pale ale, will see street food, art and music take over the refectory and the beer has been rebranded with a 1960s psychedelic feel.
Bar operations manager Sam Johnson, who heads up the refectories in Leeds and Manchester, said: “Faith is our brand pillar, it’s a fantastic beer.
“It’s been a silver lining for us that the beer has fit well with the challenges that everybody’s been going through.”
Hop City, Northern Monk’s annual hop-led festival, will also make a return in July and tickets are selling out fast.
Sam added: “It’s the most tickets we’ve ever sold for the event.
“There’s huge demand for people to get back to socialise and to have experiences again and that’s great to see.”
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