– Liam Toms (Untappd: liamtoms)

It’s funny how beer can end up taking you from one place to the next. I was browsing the excellent selection in Southampton’s Bitter Virtue late last year and amongst the flyers and zines I picked up was an ad for Northern Monk’s brewery and refectory tap room at the Old Flax Store in Leeds. I was planning a UK trip for the Spring and decided to add a Leeds stop to the tour, based on this flyer alone. Flash forward three months and I’m 239 miles north enjoying a half of New World IPA.


I did have some prior knowledge of Northern Monk. They’d recently become my regular train beer of choice, due to being well stocked in Marks and Spencers at London Waterloo station. I always thought their beers were good, but the selection I had at the Old Flax Store has placed Northern Monk in my current top 3 breweries. The highlight was their pina colada imperial double black IPA, also known as ‘Tropical Death Party’. It was a pricey round at £10 a pint, but this is a beer to be experienced!

From Northern Monk, we ventured back into the city centre (it’s about a 15 minute walk out to the Old Flax Store, but well worth the detour). Walking around Leeds you get the impression that this is a city that celebrates good beer. Everywhere we went we saw signage and branded vehicles for local bars and breweries. Our quick loop round was by no means an extensive exploration, in fact we barely scratched the surface.


As with most UK cities now, there’s a Brewdog to be found. I was pleased to find this branch had a Brewdog ‘small batch’ on tap, which is something I hadn’t seen in other cities. It was similar in taste to many of the other Brewdog double IPA’s I’ve had before, but I was still satisfied that I’d managed to find a local exclusive. Upstairs are two or three booths with classic Nintendo consoles and a selection of games. Our cartridge of choice was Super Mario Bros 3.


The next stop was North Bar, flagship outlet of Leeds based North Brewing Co. I’m always keen to try one of the brewery’s own and I’m pleased to report that Sputnik Pale Ale did not disappoint! North Bar also has it’s own photo booth which I meant to check out but didn’t get round to (probably for the best as I was half cut by this point).


We finished the night at Tapped, another bar offering a few of their own and a range of guest. For a craft beer stop it’s actually a fair sized room, but was still busy for a Tuesday night. I tried their IPA on tap but found it to be undrinkable, it’s not often this happens but they did welcome my feedback and gave me another drink for free!


Before we left Leeds the following morning we visited Tall Boys bottle shop. If we didn’t feel enough like alcoholics already, going to buy beer while still hungover from the night before, we learnt that they couldn’t serve us until 11am, so had to kill an hour first! The staff were very knowledgable and pointed us in the right direction of a few local beers worth picking up.

If you visit any of the places featured in this blog, please let them know that Beer Tours sent you.

Beer lists:



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