Tetley’s – Bringing the brewing back home to Leeds

The boys are back in town!

10th May 2018 will go down in the history of Leeds as the date that Tetley’s reintroduced the brewing of its beers to the City.   Since the old brewery closed in 2011 it has been produced at parent company Carlsberg’s other facilities in Wolverhampton, Hartlepool and Tadcaster. The original brewery in Leeds has long been demolished so the new beer will be made by Leeds Brewery in a partnership deal.

All photography provided by Hue & Cry

hotogrWhen I say ‘new beer’ I am being a bit misleading as, although Tetley’s No.3 Pale Ale is the first brew to come from this amalgamation of brewmasters, the recipe is 150 years old, a kind of newstalgia. I just made that word up but it describes the way in which the 1868 ale has been replicated using not only the original recipe but also the British hops (Pilgrim, Brewers Gold and Goldings) and Tetley’s unique double yeast strain.  This produces a unique taste but has incorporated modern brewing techniques.  No more Yorkshire Squares. It is hoped that this should not only appeal to we old-timers, which it does in my case, but also to the younger drinkers who are turning to beer, thanks to the rapid growth in microbreweries.

Andrew Kenyon, Head Brewer for Tetley’s

The launch of No.3 was held at Tetley Bar and Grill, which is all that is left of the original brewery, and we were treated to a beer and food pairing by the head chef. Being Leeds the food was ‘proper’ pub nosh but given a modern twist, so there was:  fish and chips, toad in the hole and a vegetarian version of shepherd’s pie, using black lentils, peas and aubergine. All were delicious and it proved that you don’t need to open a bottle of wine for a good food and drink combination. I will be interested to see what they make of the presentation when it is done in the Home Counties, with the above dishes no doubt replaced with their pub snacks – quinoa scratchings perhaps or a bag of cheese and onion flavoured bulgar wheat.

Vegetarian shepherd’s pie

The introduction of No.3 Pale Ale has instigated a push by the marketing team to get all of the Tetley beers into more pubs throughout the country. The range now comprises Original Cask and Golden Ale which, like No.3, are only available in casks, and the more ubiquitous Smooth Ale served from keg. Hopefully they will soon be seen in a pub near you. Along with the new product comes a make-over of the company logo. The Huntsman disappeared at the turn of the century to be replaced by the Rugby Ball. Tetley’s still sponsor Leeds Rhinos Rugby League team, and now they are using a new symbol which is the original Tetley coat of arms. Hopefully this will attract even more of the younger drinkers who may consider the present one to be a bit staid.

It is great to see the Tetley brand return home even, for now, on a much reduced scale, as it was as much a part of the city as Marks and Spencer or Burton Tailors. Whenever I went to any country where football is played and I said I came from Leeds the first response was ‘Leeds United’.  If that country happened to be one of those in the UK they would still say the same thing but the second would invariably be ‘Tetley’s’. I also seem to recall that in the 1970s when there was a craze for C.B. radio (mobile phones were still a dream) Leeds had two ‘handles’.  One was Donut City because we have two Ring Roads, and the other was Tetley Town. 10-4 Rubber Duck.

Sam Moss, Leeds Brewery

If the enthusiasm and commitment from all concerned is anything to go by I am sure that the new venture will be a great success, but beer is for drinking and enjoying, not talking or writing about, so if you should come across a pub selling Tetley’s Ale, especially the No.3, then give it a try and go back to the future. Be sure to leave the DeLorean at home though as it is a 4.2 abv session beer, so you won’t be able to stop at one.  Well, I couldn’t.

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.

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