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The Brewer's Market at Canal Mills; a review

10 November 2015
The Brewer's Market at Canal Mills; a review
As a recent arrival in the City I discovered that the Canal Mills Brewer’s Market is an exciting new event, where local breweries show off their finest products while the punters view local art and chow down on tasty street food.

brewers market nov 3

The first thing that caught my eye when I walked into the venue was not the beer, but the art. I got chatting to a man painting an installment, which he described as a ‘horror comic’ of Canal Mills. He is a resident artist at the Assembly House Studios and is part of a sub-project that deliberately does not have any internet presence or publicity - a bit of retro concept. The group especially likes working in conjunction with music and might create a piece of artwork from the beginning to the end of a band’s set at a music festival.

It is safe to say that my friend and I were most likely the only 19 year olds there, or at least the only first year students. This could have been because it was still the day-light hours of a weekend. Even so, the setting and the décor made me feel as if it were already evening. The collection of breweries and individual wine bars gave the market a sense of sophistication. Low lighting and trendy street art added to the atmosphere. And a ping pong table. A favourite of mine was a mannequin in a wizard’s cloak which I managed to get a selfie with. From the remote venue to the subterranean ambiance, everything about this festival, was hip, relaxed, and very Leeds.

Rather than choosing a beer lover to bring to a brewery festival, I decided to bring a celiac, so I was alone in my beer sampling. I tried a few of the local brews including two types of ale from the Fourpure Brewing Company. My first was ‘Beartooth’: I was tempted by the promise of “notes of toast and coffee”. I’m no beer expert but to me it tasted a bit like a fizzy Guinness, which is no bad thing. I then tried their IPA which was had much sweeter, fruitier tones (mango grapefruit and pine apparently). I didn’t get a chance to try anything else but was intrigued by the flavours Wylam Brewery had to offer and by Liverpool Craft Beer Expo’s display. I’m a wine lover, and if I had been up for mixing drinks I would have sampled something on offer from the friendly bartender at the Latitude Wine and Liquor Merchant stall.

We very much enjoyed the food. I had a mushroom pizza from Pizza Fella and my celiac friend sampled the onion bhaji plate from Manji’s Kitchen. The appetising meal set off a conversation with some tipsy beer drinkers, one of them asking for a cheeky taste. My friend was not best pleased. The Grub & Grog Shop had a cosier, less street food vibe than the other food stalls. It offered crumpets and ping pong, which is a combination new to me. This was alongside a colourful display of toasters and an assortment of comfy sofas to lounge on.

Speaking as a Southerner, the Northern stereotype was on full display, in the very warm and welcoming atmosphere. It was hard to sit for long without striking up a conversation with someone. The alcohol probably helped.

The event was obviously popular, raking in large numbers for a windy weekend afternoon. For my first beer festival I was impressed, but next time I will aim to drink more beer.

By Chloe Lovatt
Chloe is a Volunteer Writer for Leeds Living covering events all across the city of Leeds, on topics such as eat/drink, retail therapy, music/dance and culture.