Leeds Beer Week 2016

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What’s all this  Leeds Beer Week thing then?

If I’m honest I might not get to know, it’s nearly half way through and I’m still in deepest Dorset sampling the local beers and hostelries.

I do know is that it’s not actually a week, more like ten days of beer and brewing related events between Sunday 28th August and Tuesday 6th September? Anyway, the person to speak to about it all is Matt Gorecki, head honcho at Gypsy brewers Zapato. I listened to him speak about the event at a recent Leeds CAMRA branch meeting and I also caught up with him separately.

Basically the idea is to create an inclusive city wide festival celebrating beer and beer culture in Leeds. The strategy is looking at a three year plan, with this first year being just the shoots of something bigger, with the aspiration of creating a Leeds Brewing alliance across the city.

Reading between the lines, it’s basically a case of they’ve got them in other cities, so why shouldn’t we have one?

Sounds good and I’m all for anything that promotes our fair city and brewing in general. There was a bit of criticism from some of the CAMRA members that the 2016 event looked a bit like an event concocted between a few select trendy brewers, beer bars and establishments. Not so said Matt, The Duck and Drake are on board with their own beers from the wood and BBQ mini festival. Matt says he wants as many pubs and bars to sign up to become involved, even if that’s just as small as showcasing local brewers for the event. I strongly advise you to persuade your local licensee to take this up and really push the envelope, demonstrating the ground level support for this next time round.

Chatting to Matt privately, I got the feeling that this is just a ‘toe in the water’, something done on a shoestring budget that will hopefully blossom into something really big over the next couple of years. My own personal opinion is that it will. I think that people will look at what is going on this time and then, as I advocate, sign up for next year.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Leeds is one of the premier beer cities in the UK and that includes making the stuff as well as consuming it. We just need to shout out and make our mark. I often think Leeds is a bit slow to catch on to self promotion, a good example being the belated arrival of an arena type venue in what’s the third largest city in the UK; despite eagerly watching the success of neighbours who took the initiative years ago.

So Leeds, lets stop ploughing our own furrow and have a bit of collaboration and show people  how good our beer scene is. There’s still time to get involved so have a look at the Leeds Beer Week web site for further details of events over the weekend and into next week. There’s still plenty of cool stuff to go at and even a poll on the web site for best; beer, brewer, bar, bar with biggest selection, best newcomer etc. Doesn’t say how you propose one’s that aren’t on the pre-prepared list though?

If anyone has been to any events then any comments would be appreciated for a ‘So what was Leeds Beer Week like’ follow up.

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