A Guide's View: Leeds Craft Beer Experience

See our Leeds tour through the eyes of our guide

Written by Mark Smith-Magee on 3rd July 2017

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It’s no surprise UK Brewery Tours have launched in Leeds. Right now the city is one of beer hotbeds of the UK. It recently hosted the landmark Hop City 2017 event, the annual CAMRA Festival ran in March for the 24th year, the International Beer Festival will light up the city for the 6th time in September and that will be preceded the week before by the second incarnation of the multi-event Leeds Beer Week. Additionally, there’s all the breweries, pubs, bars, bottled beer shops …

With two tours under our belts we are up and running. Everyone who started with us was there at the end and all our attendees took away positive experiences from their day. The common feedback from those local to Leeds has been, “I’ve learned so much about my city. I had no idea about all of this!” It was also telling that both groups thought the tours had been running for far longer which means we’re already doing something right.

These initial tours have attracted a representative cross-section of beer drinkers. Older and younger enthusiasts. Singles, couples, groups. Craft beer devotees, craft beer initiates, lovers of cask ale. Some were Yorkshire born and bred, others Lancastrians who’d passed Pennine passport control. One local pair originated from Spain, while many had travelled around Europe and experienced beer culture elsewhere. As a result, our beer conversations have covered a wealth of topics which have spiced both outings.

Each stop-off point on our route has received praise. North Brewing for the greatest number of samplings plus unfettered access to their brewery. Tall Beer Boys is fondly remembered for its intimate surroundings, the one-stop shop appeal of coffee, fresh sandwiches and beer growler tap and the passion of its owners. Tapped Brew Co.’s brew kit looks sexy, the Saturday afternoon atmosphere is vibrant and the seating outside a sun trap in good weather. Northern Monk offered a large list of creative beers, top customer service and an excellent venue for further post-tour beer exploration. All in all, a winning day.

Both tours have ended with a final group talk and triumphal group photo. Then, an hour later after another drink, more banter and beer chat, we’d brought the unofficial tour to a close. Within 5 hours we’d given meaning to the famous quote by W.B. Yeats, “There are no strangers here; only friends you haven't yet met.”

Beer has a way of doing this. So does the UK Brewery Tour in Leeds.