Friday, 12 March 2010

To Elland Back

Just so you know it isn't only the Beer Nut that can do bad puns as post titles, I thought I'd chip one in for you. Please don't applaud or make congratulatory comments, just send me tenners if you like it.

Yesterday I was in the Grove in Leeds for the Champion Winter Beer of Britain awards. The judging took place in Manchester at the Winter Ales Festival, hence a couple of us braving a horde of local tykes there to give partisan (and why not?) support to Elland Brewery, who were to pick up the champion gong. Greg Mulholland MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group was there too to pick up a special CAMRA award and spoke with great passion on the subject and cuttingly about Carlsberg and the closure of Tetley's Brewery which is adjacent to his consituency. He seemed a genuinely good lad.

The CAMRA great and good were there too, with our new Chairman and our CEO in attendance, along with a load of people I've never seen before and who presumably, had, to balance it out, never seen me before. I wonder how many were disappointed by the absence of free beer? If they were, they didn't show it and most were merrily supping as I tottered off for my train back to the Red Rose County.

The Grove is leased from Enterprise Inns and despite this serves an eclectic range of beers and presumably on the Enterprise tag, a few of the usual suspects. Beers from Leeds and Elland were popular and I started with Elland's lovely Best Bitter, a straw coloured bitter beer of 4% abv. I stuck with this until it went and was replaced by the 4.2% Eden with its distinct cascade hop notes. Another cracker. Of course I had to try our champion, Elland 1872 Porter, which at 6.5% needs treating with respect. It was my last beer and was a luscious delight, with coffee and chocolate notes, a deep bitterness and a warming kick. It has to be said this beer hides the alcohol superbly and can be quaffed with worrying ease. The Grove itself is a great little multi roomed boozer, hidden amoung a lot of very modern buildings. A real gem, with superbly kept beer, so don't miss it if you go to Leeds.

I was between trains as I arrived at the station, so nipped in the the on site JDW. It was packed and had great service. Unusual, but this is clearly an after work watering hole for Leeds travellers and is very well run. A good choice of beers was available, but I wasn't about to bust my winning streak. Elland Maximum Darkness, an oatmeal stout, was another great beer, but I was jaded by then and finished this in time to get my train back to Rochdale, from where, sensibly, I went straight home.

Elland beers are top stuff and it is no hardship to stick to them for a session. Seek them out.


Mark, said...

I'm lucky enough to work less than 2 minutes from the Grove. A cracking little pub and once I sort my wide angle lens out I'm going to take an amazing photo of it with Bridgewater Place looming over it. The small rooms are very cosy (and lively debating centres after Leeds games) and it's a welcoming place with great, well kept beer on.

Rob Sterowski said...

I've only had one Elland beer. It was Beyond The Pale at a beer festival and it was so good that we got our pints refilled and smuggled them out to drink on station platform while waiting for the train home.

Olthwaite said...

B*gger! I've used the same headline on my blog post about my visit to the Barge and Barrel in Elland yesterday!

Tandleman said...

Feel free. We'll share.

Stonch said...

Had forgotten about Elland. Tried some of their beers at Ealing Beer Fest three years ago and thought they were great.

Was good to see you at The Gunmakers, btw. Glad you enjoyed the Mad Goose.

Leigh said...

A great little pub, one of Leeds's unsung heroes. Get in there before Leeds games - it's good to see lads in Leeds shirts getting on with great beer, with a good atmosphere. A gem.

Mark, said...

Quieter than the Imperial or the Peacock too!