In the world of craft beer and real ale I’ve recently realised that Leeds is a bit of a hot spot place to go, especially with the likes of Friends of Ham, Brewdog Bar and the new Belgrave Music Hall to name a few. Maybe it’s been happening for a while, especially with the likes of North Bar that’s been around for years and of course Whitelocks, being Leeds oldest pub, who’ve always championed the merits of craft beer and ale. I think I’ve been completely oblivious to it. So I’d read a little bit about one of the derelict buildings on The Calls being used for a Brooklyn Brewery pop-up, and when I was invited by Red’s True Barbecue to do a review, I took up the opportunity immediately. You may ask why the invitation was from Red’s, well Brooklyn Brewery and Red’s have collaborated on a number of events before, e.g. Dead Man’s Feast as part of the Leeds International Beer Festival and Grillstock Festival, so this was another great way of promoting what they are good at, but also in a very cool way! With Red’s being given the task of serving their unholy food, surely it could only be a win win situation??
James from Red’s very kindly showed us the venue, on the way in I noticed a small green letter ‘B’ to the left of the entrance – all very unassuming and easily missed.
To pay they are using a quirky token system, you buy them on entry at the reception desk which is also selling Brooklyn Brewery merchandise (£4.50 for one, £20 for five) and swap them at the bar for your choice of tipple.
I’m not sure what the building looked like before, but we were told they’ve put in a lot of money to make sure it was fit for purpose and get the right ambience and feel of the place. They wanted to have an open, warehouse feel, it’s very minimal inside with bare walls, splashed with old paint, Brooklyn Brewery logos can be seen in different guises – with the logo painted on the main wall or in fantastic neon signage. I loved the ‘B’ logos on textured fibreboard as part of the decor. The minimal style continues at the bar area where all the pumps have been installed onto a big metal corrugated sheet with a basic black display board listing the beverages on offer.
The idea of this pop-up is not be to all singing/all dancing look at me ‘we’re here!’, but to subtly do their own thing, in their own way and so people who already love craft beers or people who, like me don’t know much about this world can try some out and find out for themselves.
Not being a beer/ale drinker, apart from the odd Belgian fruit beer which I do have a penchant for, I think the last time I drank a pint of beer was probably on a hockey tour, while cheering on my husband’s team in Bridlington many years ago. Even I realised that the choice of beers weren’t the standard ones you would regularly see, you couldn’t see a pale ale, which might normally be considered as a safe bet. Brooklyn Brewery wanted customers to try out their diverse range and basically show them off a little. On arrival at the bar we were greeted by a friendly young man who helped us choose from the list and explained the range to us. I opted for something light and the barman recommended three for me to try out – the Scorcher, Pennant and Cuvee La Boite. After a quick taste of each, all of which were very good I decided on the Scorcher. The Scorcher (#366) is described by Brooklyn Brewery as a ‘hoppy pale ale that’s dry, minerally and fruity on the palate, snappy in the center, and bursting with the citrusy, piney notes that make our new pal 366 so special. It’s got as much hop character as an IPA, but at only 4.5%, Scorcher #366 is eminently sessionable, so you can hang out with it all summer. Scorcher #366 loves lobster, shrimp, and crayfish, but will snarf your nachos and fish tacos without the slightest hesitation. Scorcher #366 prefers charcoal but doesn’t hate on propane. Scorcher #366 is not a snob. Scorcher #366 will have another burger and a hot dog.’ Even for a person who hasn’t drunk beer for years, I have to admit I liked it, it was good!!!
In terms of the beers on offer they have on tap: Pennant, Brown Ale, Weisse and Blast! (Perennials), Black Chocolate Stout (Seasonal) and finally Scorcher, Silver Anniversary lager, Cuvee La Boîte (Brewmaster’s Reserve). They also have a selection of large bottles too, with our tokens we purchased the Sorachi Ace, which I was told was very good indeed!!
Teaming up with Reds is a match made in heaven, with their kitchen complete with woodburner smoker and chopped logs a plenty ready to go! I’ve not eaten at Red’s for a few months, not through not wanting too, but I just haven’t had time or the chance. Their menu changes every couple of days and have been feeding people with Red’s staples like their pulled pork, ribs and brisket amongst others.
We both chose the pulled pork sandwich which was really tasty, we’d both been looking forward to this all day and I don’t know why, but I always have a big smile on my face when I get anything from Reds, I think it’s because I’m always really excited about how good it’s gonna be. Well the pork was delicious as anticipated, with enough apple sauce to help cut through the richness of the pork and a lovely crunchy, sharp slaw to give added texture to the tender pork. The glazed bun was lovely and soft and the potato salad was also really good, perfectly cooked potato, creamy with a little whole grain mustard making it just very yummy!! Portion size is NEVER an issue when it comes to Red’s so we were very satisfied, but also very full!!!
I really liked the relaxed feel to the place, its stripped back nature is tailor made for laid back, fun times with friends where you can have a good beer with yummy food. The clientele were a mixed, diverse group of people, more hipster than not, what I sort of expected really. It’s not trying to be something it isn’t. This pop-up is only going to be around for a very short time, Brooklyn Brewery will be gone and the building will be empty by the end of November, so we really need to be making the most of this. Go on, do it!!!
Open Wednesday – Friday, 5pm-12am, Saturday 12pm-12am & Sunday 5pm-10pm.
follow #BrooklynPopUp on Twitter.The Brooklyn Brewery Pop-Up 22-24 The Calls Leeds