Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Leeds and the Ark Royal

I was let loose in Leeds City Centre for three hours on Saturday while E had her hair done, so of course I used the time usefully to view the cultural sights. If you know Leeds like I do, that doesn't take at all long. Is Marks and Spencer cultural? I don't know, but passing it made me able to pop in and sort out our tea (supper for Southern Jessies), though I did supplement that with some purchases from Leeds Market, which is certainly both historic and cultural.

Pre M&S and on the way to Mr Foley's, I saw a crowd down a side street and heard military music. Deflected from my liquid intentions, I walked down in time to see a Marines Band setting off, pursued by a hundred and odd Royal Navy sailors with bayonets fixed. A quick spring ahead to check their caps revealed HMS Ark Royal thereon. It seems the Ark Royal has a major connection with Leeds, but in any event I was gratified to be able to applaud our lads and lasses on their last official outing as a ship's company. The good people of Leeds were similarly and very enthusiastically inclined.

But man does not live by naval nostalgia alone, so into nearby Mr Foley's I sped. Two halves were procured. The excellent Summer Wine Gambit had so much poise and elegance built into it and a smack of hops that demanded more. So I had another half. Regrettably Offbeat Scrumptious wasn't. It may well be, to quote the pumpclip, "Brewed by a Chick" but it was chock full of phenols and good only for the sink.

Much better was Brew Dog Trashy Blonde in Whitelocks, a former haunt of mine, though there was a slightly tense moment as I declined to have it placed in a Bulmer's Cider glass. That sorted, it perhaps wasn't as hoppy as I recall, but nonetheless a good drink, which in my humble opinion would have gained nothing from kegging and lost a lot. After my market trip, it had to be the nearby Duck and Drake. This used to be my local in Leeds until replaced by the Palace due to it going downhill so much. I had read on the interweb it was better now, but it seemed to me - and I'm not that fussy frankly - a bit of a dump. I didn't have a drink. So to my meeting place with E, the Palace. A bit of a dark selection here with Family Brewers dominating. I went for the only pale beer on the bar, Rooster's Special. Now I used to love Roosters, but I have had the feeling that they have slid downhill somewhat. Certainly little doubt about it on this lacklustre showing. Not for the first time I'm sorry to say. I tried two others, halves of course and enjoyed Elgoods Copper Feelgood which was excellently old fashioned and bitter. Hook Norton Jackpot though was bland to the point of tastelessness.

On that note I slipped out to be waiting patiently outside when
the newly coiffured E appeared to whisk me back over the Pennines. It does give the right impression and impressions count for a lot, though I doubt if E was fooled.


Neil, Eating Isnt Cheating said...

what time were you in Mr Foleys? I popped in at around 4 for a quick pint with a mate.

had the punk on keg, and I hate to admit it.... it wasn't as good as it's tasted on Cask. It was still very very nice, but for me just a touch too cold and didnt have that thickness a ligth sparkler can lend.

Not a definative argument for or against keg, but definately a noticable difference to the Punk ive had previously on cask. Aslo, interestingly, it was the old 6% punk being served.

Tandleman said...

It was around 11.45 am. I almost tried the keg,but really the Summer Wine beer was too good.

Neil, Eating Isnt Cheating said...

Wish I'd given that a try. Will keep an eye out for it in the future.

Foleys is a great pub, always something unusual on, and generally local brewers too. Quite often see Wharfebank in there which is a big favourite of mine.

Tyson said...

I think the agreed wisdom is that it's no coincidence that Roosters "decline" began when Sean Franklin started doing less and Sam Franklin started doing more.

However, I believe Sam is due to leave shortly so things may change once again.

RedNev said...

1. Leeds does have a noble seafaring tradition, exemplified in an episode of the X Files in which Mulder refers to a ship leaving Leeds harbour.

2. Three hours for a hair do? Really?

3. I used to travel to Leeds on union business in the late 90s, and after the meeting we'd drink in the Scarborough while waiting for our various trains. It used to have a good selection of real ales; what's it like now?

Neil, Eating Isnt Cheating said...

Happy to confirm the scarborough hotel is alive and well. Still serves a cracking pint at a reasonable price.

Often a little safe with their beer choices but the quality is always high, and the Landlord in the best in Leeds.

Just dont go on a match day as the leeds united supporters pub is just round the corner and the scaraboro seems to fill the spot of an overflow on match days.

Neil, Eating Isnt Cheating said...

p.s. Landlord as in Timothy Taylor, not proprieter

ShadowHider said...

As you were at Mr Foleys you could have tried Veritas the relatively new Market Town Taverns pub less than 5 minutes away very close to the excellent Victoria & Commercial. And then there's North nearby which is alway good as well.

The Palace had a meet the brewer night two weeks ago with Thornbridge as the visitors. Almost worth a special trip I would have thought :-))

Neil, Eating Isnt Cheating said...

I like Veritas too, mentioned on my blog post not so long ago about places for beer and food in Leeds.

ShadowHider said...

Ate at Reliance on North Street a week last Saturday. My starter Wood Pigeon Breast on red cabbage was one of the best tasting starters I've had for ages. The Wild Boar Belly main was top notch as well. Very impressed. The beer was good as well, especially the Reliance bitter which is rebadged Acorn Barnsley bitter.

Tandleman said...

Tyson. Let's hope so. Frankly the beers are poor and have been for a long time

RedNev - Cut and colour - 3 hours

Erlangernick said...

Hell, even I, a poor hapless Yank, have been unimpressed by Rooster's.