Thursday, 16th August marked the start of Leeds Beer Week 2018 with a launch party at Bundobust. As is always the case, the atmosphere here was very friendly and intimate and made chatting with strangers and making new friends very easy.
If you throw in some great beer and food then the process becomes even easier. I must admit that apart from some LBW18 bunting, nothing out of the ordinary was happening: the menu and the beer range was the same as usual and the people I spoke to thought that it was just a normal Thursday night. We are talking Bundobust here so normal is pretty good.
I kicked off my LBW18 with a pint of Three Swords from Kirkstall Brewery, which was up to its normal high standard. It is one of my favourite session beers so I was off to a flying start. Because of the lack of available seating and the danger of standing with a pint in your hand, in that you keep taking a swig and before you know where you are it has gone, I set it down on a ledge next to a chap who had had the same idea. We soon struck up a conversation and found that we had a shared interest in tenpin bowling. It also transpired that he, Anthony, was from Sunderland originally but has come to his senses and moved to Leeds along with his wife, Lisa, for whom he was waiting.
My bowling team used to enter a tournament in Sunderland each year so we were soon sharing Mackem tales. There are some occasions when it is a pain to have a partner who arrives at a rendezvous fashionably late, like when you are standing outside and it is pouring down, but when the meeting place sells a great range of beer then it is a positive advantage and we managed to sneak a couple of halves in before Lisa arrived. To be fair, she had been held up at work.
After my new best friends had made their excuses and disappeared to their probably subsequently arranged engagement, I decided to have another pint and order some food. As I was eating, my beer of choice was Bundobust’s own Juicy Bhangra Pale Ale at 4.8% which comes in at a hefty £6 a pint, I was warned of this when I ordered it, but has a clean fruity taste which complements spicy food a treat.
From the food menu I opted for Gobi Mushroom Manchurian, which are mushroom and cauliflower pakora in an Indo-Chinese sauce at a fiver and Tarka Dhal, mixed lentil curry, and rice £6. As usual, the food was of the highest order and in keeping with the sustainable movement, the ‘plastic’ cutlery was not plastic at all but a compostable material which made me feel a little more righteous.
As the food is served at long tables with bench seats, the opportunity to chat to strangers was presented again and this time my victims were a couple from York who had called for some vegetarian sustenance. This led to a discussion on meat-free food and my pointing them in the direction of some of the great veggie restaurants I have reviewed in the City.
I could happily have spent the rest of the night here but sadly my sensible head was in charge, so I made my way home before any irreparable damage was done to my reputation, and that of Leeds Living. What had started out as being a little disappointing turned out to be a great evening, but isn’t that always the case.
Leeds Beer Week continues until Sunday, 26th August at various venues throughout the Leeds Area. Check out the website https://leedsbeerweek.co.ukfor full details.
Stan writes Let’s Do Lunch for Leeds Living. He also reviews special events for food and drink, which sometimes takes him beyond Leeds. He has also developed an interest in writing on culture, most frequently dramatic and musical theatre.