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.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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