Pub review: Mr Foley’s Taphouse, Leeds

Mr Foley's. PIC: James Hardisty
Mr Foley's. PIC: James Hardisty
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THEY must be crying into their locally-brewed beer down at the Old Bridge in Kirkstall.

After an unbroken run seemingly stretching back to medieval times, the Leeds CAMRA pub of the year award has finally been wrested away from them and into the grateful hands of Foley’s Taphouse in the Headrow.

Foley’s is no stranger to awards having previously won both local and national accolades for its cider. But the York Brewery alehouse has made a concerted effort to go one better, and become known for its beer and its atmosphere too. As manager Jason Allison says: “We’ve put in a lot of hard work to make Foley’s an all-round great pub, so it’s fantastic to have some recognition for our efforts.”

The pub now goes into the national Great British Pub Awards at the distinctly non-pubby surroundings of London’s Park Lane Hilton Hotel next month.

North Brewing is another local legend to have received some national recognition recently.

The Leeds brewer’s high octane Transmission was named as the UK’s best India Pale Ale at the Imbibe Live trade show at London’s Olympia. Describing Transmission as “a modern interpretation of the style with lots of haze, fairly high alcohol and bags of aromatic hops”, Neil Walker, spokesman for the Society of Independent Brewers said: “The quality and variety of entries this year was staggering and it is clear to see why IPA is becoming a must-brew for Britain’s independent craft breweries.”

The Leeds beer beat off competition from all over the UK to win the award, though the excellent sessionable Twenty Four Seven from Roosters Brewery at Knaresborough also won a place in the top five.

The award wins Transmission a place on the bar across the massive Mitchells and Butlers chain, which will presumably mean they need to ramp up the production down at the brewery near Sheepscar junction.

I guess it mustbe award season, seeing as further honours came the way of Elvington’s Half Moon and Leeds’s Sunbeam breweries, whose aptly-named collaboration beer Moonbeam Mild, was named as the best Mild or Ruby Red ale at Woodfest, a celebration of the very best beers served from wooden casks.

More than 40 breweries from across the UK were represented at the festival which was held at The Junction Inn in Castleford, which is famous for its commitment to beer from the wood. The rigorous judging process was conducted by some renowned experts in the industry, including Good Beer Guide editor Roger Protz and Horbury’s own beer sommelier Annabel Smith.

But it’s not just in Castleford that wooden casks are so highly prized. They will be very much in evidence when Oktoberfest returns to Leeds. Dirndl skirts, lederhosen, bratwurst, oompah bands and golden Bavarian beer will be all the rage at the event over the weekends of 6-8 and 13-15 October at the new South Bank Depot in Globe Road. And for extra authenticity, the beer will this time be served from wooden barrels provided by 400-year-old Bavarian brewer HofBräu.

Before then, an event organised by east Yorkshire brewer Wold Top is neatly rolling together three of the hipster’s greatest pleasures – cycling, street food and beer.

Their 60-mile Sundown Sportive cycling tour on Sunday August 27, organised with the Wold Top Actif Road Racing Team, tackles a challenging route around the Yorkshire Wolds and Ryedale. The route starts and ends at the brewery near Driffield, where riders will also be able to enjoy refreshments from Hull street food business KerbEdge. To sign up contact david@dchdesign.co.uk

There might not have been any pulled pork or quinoa in evidence, but the newly-renovated Hare and Hounds in Burton Leonard found an excellent way of endearing itself to villagers this week – by handing out free fish and chips to mark Yorkshire Day on Tuesday.

Deputy Manager Jac Dalton said: “Yorkshire is home to the very best fish and chips in the country, so it’s the perfect dish to give away to our loyal local customers.”

Traditional battered haddock, chips and mushy peas are a permanent feature at the pub, which was taken over by the expanding Hexagon Inns group last year.

Villager and regular customer Gina Gill said: “It was a lovely surprise to be given free fish and chips on Yorkshire Day and a brilliant way to celebrate the day with the community in our local pub.”

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