The sommelier in you will really appreciate Leeds beer tasting events…
For those looking for something a bit more adventurous than a couple of pints at your local, why not consider visiting one of the many regular beer tasting events in Leeds?
To the uninitiated, beer may seem to lack the complex range of flavours that attract people to wine, which is undoubtedly beer’s posh cousin and queen of the tasting session. But actually, the taste of beer differs widely, from the rich golden ales to complex, dark stouts.
Can you tell your pale from your porter?
Beer can be loosely separated into cask ales, keg ales and lagers. The basic components include hops, malted barley, yeast and water but these ingredients can be complemented by other goodies like fruit, wheat and spices. The hops and malts can also change the flavour hugely depending on factors such as the degree of heat used when heating the barley and the area from which the hops are sourced.
Even something as seemingly straightforward as a pint of bitter can come in a range of shades and strengths. It may have tangy fruit undertones or perhaps a nutty taste. So how can you develop a taste for the stuff, and determine the subtle differences between one beer and another? With a Leeds beer tasting session, of course.
Yorkshire Wine School
Don’t let the name deceive you – the Yorkshire Wine School is as good with beer as it is with wine, and they run one of the most successful beer tasting sessions in all of Leeds. Up to 24 people can enjoy their ‘Best of British Beers – From Yorkshire and Beyond’ event, learning about beer and its relationship with food. See how the flavour of your beer changes, when you eat a chunk of cheddar with it, and how chocolate can turn your beer into a pudding – it’s well worth £22.50 entry.
Yorkshire Wine School is at Radisson Blu, 36 The Headrow, LS1 8TL.
Those familiar with The Botanist should know that within their rustic walls lurks a serious selection of bottled beers. Maybe less well-known are the regular ale tasting sessions that have been running since they opened in March of this year. The classes are run by Warren, an expert in the Ale Industry, with participants given the choice of tasting beers, ales or a mixture of both.
The Botanist, 67 Boar Lane, LS1 6HW.
The Cross Keys
Also a haven for beer-enthusiasts is The Cross Keys. They have a selection of British and local specialist ales on draught as well as four regularly changing hand pulled ales. If its beer tasting in Leeds you’re after, why not try their monthly Beer Suppers? Some of the pub’s favourite brewers come in and showcase their newest beers along with a few old favourites.
The Cross Keys, 107 Water Lane, LS11 5WD.
Friends of Ham
Now that Kent has taught us about the importance of matching beer with food, the ‘Craft Beer Deli’, Friends of Ham is the perfect place to figure out some of these combinations for yourself. Although they don’t have any beer tasting events planned at the moment, past events have included Ham Goes Wild, a beer tasting course through 6 beers paired with food – and we expect even more cracking tastings in the future.
Friends of Ham, 4 New Station Street, LS1 5DL.
No discussion of Leeds beer tasting is complete without giving Ilkley Brewery a mention. The local brewery has a colossal range of beers on offer, including keg, cask and the slightly ominously titled, ‘experimental’. Visits to the brewery can be arranged for those keen to see what’s going on, but there are no regular beer tasting sessions at the moment. Don’t despair though; they are looking to set up a night every couple of months at the brewery depending on interest. Watch this space.
Ilkley Brewery, The New Brewery, Ashlands Road, Ilkley, LS29 8JT.
Although Beer-Ritz don’t offer beer tasting sessions in Leeds, they deserve an honourable mention. The independent beer specialist, which is based in Headingley, choose a beer every week, and make it available for tasting in-store every Saturday – so you can build up your beer know-how week by week.
Beer Ritz, 14 Weetwood Lane, LS16 5LX.