Why Leeds brewers are raising a glass to future of ale

CHEERS: Brothers Baz and Graeme Phillips from Meanwood Brewery with two of their bottled beers. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
CHEERS: Brothers Baz and Graeme Phillips from Meanwood Brewery with two of their bottled beers. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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Yorkshire has long been hailed as a land of great beer makers, but now Leeds brewers raising a glass to the future of ale have been commended in the new edition of a go-to guide for the country’s tastiest tipples.

The 46th edition of the Campaign for Real Ale’s Good Beer Guide was published this week, featuring 23 new breweries and 95 pub recommendations from across the region.

Anthology Brewing Co, Horsforth Brewery Ltd, Meanwood Brewery Ltd, Wetherby Brew Co and St Oswald’s Brewery, all from Leeds, have been included in the book.

Wapentake, a cafe and bar in Kirkgate in the city centre, has been recommended in it for the second time.

Supervisor Jonnie Hardy said: “It’s great to be recognised when we’ve got such great competition, especially in Leeds and Yorkshire as a whole.”

The bar sources all its cask ales locally, he said, and as well as Ossett Brewery’s Yorkshire Blonde being a staple, punters can expect three changing beers.

Mr Hardy said that inclusion in the guide definitely increases trade.

“When you’re included in the Good Beer Guide, you get a lot of beer tourists, you will get them coming over on the train from different areas, a lot of people from further north who come out,” he said.

“They will drink halfs and not drink as much as they can, but try as much as they can in Leeds.”

And the “discerning beer drinkers” who visit have allowed the bar to sell more experimental drinks such as one made using bread left-overs, he said.

Leeds pubs such as Tapped in Boar Lane, The Cardigan Arms in Kirkstall Road and the Grove Inn at Back Row, Holbeck, among others, are also featured.

Barry Phillips, who runs Meanwood Brewery with his brother Graeme after they started making beer at home, was yesterday toasting their success.

He said: “It’s great news. I think there are quite a few Leeds breweries in there.

“It’s a great accolade for us, it shows a real step forward.

“It’s coming at a really transitional period. We’ve just started brewing again after three months.”

The pair, who currently have 11 different beers, are to open their own “tap room” bar, Terminus, off Stonegate Road in Meanwood over the new few weeks.

There will be an emphasis on experimentation, with new beers made by the brothers available every week or two, and the pair hope that the new bar will be included in the next guide’s list of pub recommendations.

In total the region has 396 pubs listed in the guide, with 28 new bar entries in West Yorkshire alone.

Tom Stainer, chief communications officer at CAMRA, said: “We’ve seen such sweeping changes across the brewing and pub scene over the past year with brewing becoming more collaborative and socially-minded, and pubs continuing to diversify to cater for all tastes with the continued increase in micropubs, tap rooms and community-run pubs, each improving choice for drinkers.”