Thursday, 22nd November, 2018 saw the opening of Terminus, the tap for The Meanwood Brewery. Although Terminus is new and named after the long-gone tram terminus in Meanwood, the brewery has been producing a range of real ale and craft beer for over a year under the ownership of Baz and Graeme Phillips.
Thus far they have been available in bottle shops, bars and at festivals, including The Meanwood Festival where the decision to set up shop was first taken. The aim of the venture is to brew an eclectic range of high quality beers, experimenting with styles from around the world, as well as producing British classics and resurrecting forgotten trends. Ethical behaviour and environmental awareness will play a big part in the decisions made by the company ,which hopes to sit at the heart of the local community.
Terminus itself takes up half of the building which is situated up a side street opposite the end of Green Road, with the brewery occupying the rest, so no need for a stable full of dray horses then. There are four hand engines on the bar with heads to dispense a further dozen varieties of craft beer, cider and lager, thus providing something for everyone. The seating on the ground floor is very convivial, comprising a number of small dining tables and mismatched chairs. There are also a couple of rooms upstairs which are so invitingly furnished with sofas and easy chairs that I was ready to make an offer to rent one and move in. The theme of the beautifully designed decor is exposed stone walls and wooden floors, echoing the company’s ethos of back to basics.
What I did like about the attitude of the owners is that they plan to open for their full number of licensed hours to start with in order to test the demand. I have a pet gripe with landlords who only open when it suits them rather than their customers. There is one certainty in the pub trade, which is that you will not sell any beer with the doors locked and the closed sign up (unless the place is full of customers!).
Enough of the talking and on to the supping. I sampled two of The Meanwood Brewery’s three cask ales on offer, and declined the Porter as I didn’t have any bags to carry. I started with the session beer, Herald Pale Ale at 3.9%, which was a little darker in colour than I expected but was still refreshing, having a citrus note. I then went on to a pint of Heroic, a 5% India Pale Ale. This was a lot deeper with a drier taste and I could have happily spent the whole evening seeing off a couple more of these, but I had another function to attend which may have been my saviour. I must also mention that they serve their beers in the most wonderful glasses I have ever seen.
I am sure that Terminus will do very well, and it deserves to, as it has all bases covered – it’s a cool hang out, a purveyor of quality products, whilst still having the air of a proper local. It is also dog and child friendly. I was told that there are plans to do a limited range of their own food and to have guest street food traders set up outside as well as collaborating with local food outlets for special promotions. The long-established Kirkby’s Fish and Chip Shop was mentioned, although nothing has been formally agreed yet. They are rightly waiting to gauge the mood of the clientele.
According to the dictionary I consulted, the word ‘terminus’ means ‘the end of a transport route’. Whilst this is strictly true, when the trams arrived at Meanwood terminus the conductor would go upstairs to change the direction of the seat backs and the vehicle would embark on a new journey. Let’s hope that the new journey embarked upon by Baz and Graeme is a long, safe and pleasant one.
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.