Just before Christmas, Sophie from Mama Mei organised Blog Up North’s first blogger meet up. The six of us took a trip through Yorkshire with Brewtown Tours, tasting some of the best local brewed beers. Mark, our guide for the day and avid beer drinker, took us to Yorkshire Heart, Quirky Ales and Northern Monk Brewery.
Our first stop of the day was at Yorkshire Heart in Nun Monkton, a vineyard that’s expanded into beer brewing. Greeted by Tim, he happily took us around the brewery and showed us their beer brewing process. For a small brewery, they have a huge selection of beers which we got to sample a handful of. First, the originals and most popular beers and last the quirkier flavours we were intrigued to try.
Some of the beers are made all year around and others, like Santas Little Belcha, are on offer at specific times of year. They’re available to buy at the brewery and online (case of 12 for £30) and in local pubs. Yorkshire Heart also has their yearly festival where you can enjoy all their wine, beer and cider and live music.
Quirky Ales is another micro brewery in Garforth which only has been running for a couple of years. From brewing in a shed to sell at beer festivals, Quirky Ales has expanded to a small brewery and bar where their beer is available on tap and in bottle.
We tried their tapped beers, Bumble’s Brew (a very light lager) Quirky Porter (a smooth dark ale with extra hops) and my favourite Annie Versary (a semi dark beer with rhubarb flavours). I prefer light beers over dark but this has perfect golden colour.
Mike then took us through to their small brewery room and talked us through their beer brewing process. At the end, we all got to bottle and cap our very own Quirky bottle.
Northern Monk Brewery
The last visit took us to one of my locals and favourites – Northern Monk Brewery. It’s a family owned business that’s forever expanding. Their beers are enjoyed here, in other pubs and bars and you can also buy them in local supermarkets like Morrisons. I love them because they make so many quirky beers like raspberry milkshake, collaborate with artists and team up with local establishments. They have 16 beers on tap, 5 which are regulars and the other 9 changing every week.
My favourite beer from here is Neapolitan Ice Cream but on this occasion, I really enjoyed DDH Double Mango Lassi and Bombay Dazzler. The first a smooth and fruity beer with tastes of mango and the latter a lager with tastes of coriander and ginger. It’s a collaboration with local restaurant Bundobust to find the perfect Indian street food drink. We also tried a chocolate porter (Mocha Porter) which sounds good on paper and looks amazing too but it’s just not for me. It’s the coffee resemblance which sadly puts me off.
If you’re ever in Leeds I highly recommend coming here for beer. They put on festivals and beer events regularly so you can make a day out of it if you prefer.
If you fancy a beer tasting day out, or know someone who would, check out Brewtown tours website and book tickets here. They run daily between Tuesday and Friday from York and every Saturday from Leeds. All tours include three breweries and which ones depend on opening hours and availability on the day.
Tip! Eat a full breakfast before jumping on the tour and bring some lunch snacks to soak up the beer. There’s a lot of beers to go through and on an empty stomach, it won’t end well.
What are your favourite local breweries? Have you got any to recommend me visiting?