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.
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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