Being the oldest pub in Leeds City Centre is a pretty grand title to hold and much of the charm of the pub is created through the homely and traditional interior - in keeping with the rich history of Whitelock’s. Sneaking down the inconspicuous alleyway that leads into Whitelock’s, I always feel as though I’m being transported back into a small part of Leeds’ past and wonder what sights the stone walls of the pub’s courtyards have seen over the years.
For the beer festival, the pub was even more packed than usual, with many finding comfort from the sometimes grizzly weather in a freshly pulled pint and the cosy, radiating warmth of the pub. With nearly a hundred guest speciality brews on offer from over twenty different breweries, punters were not short of choice at the Whitelock’s festival keg bar. The organisers promised ‘the best of beer in 2015’ and with beers not only from the first class brewers in Yorkshire but also from all over the U.K, Whitelock’s were every beer lover’s dream. The beer was served from kegs and cans, as well as the more traditional casks, with the brews specially available in 1/3 and 2/3 measures – allowing punters the chance to sample the myriad of drafts available. Despite the weather being slightly erratic over the weekend, the outdoor festival BBQ was a popular addition and during the sunnier spells the beer garden had a buyout and merry festival vibe.
Not one to miss a collectable, I opted to go for the enticingly priced festival combo offer of a commemorative Whitelock’s birthday pint glass, programme and my first 1/3 glass of beer for three pounds. After perusing the overwhelming list of beers available, I debated between the Ilkley Brewery’s ‘Siberia’ beer which is infused with rhubarb and vanilla and ‘Baron H’, an Indiana Pale ale produced by Hammerton Brewery (London) and flavoured with Earl Grey. Making the unusual decision to try a beer from outside the Yorkshire borders and picking the latter of the two, I was curious to see how the tea/beer combo would play out, in the knowledge there was plenty of time for seconds (or more appropriately thirds). Pleased with my handsomely priced purchase I sat down to sample my first beer and was pleasantly surprised by the subtle but unusual flavour of the brew. Clearing that one off a little too quickly, next up was the ‘Zaka’ European pale ale. This particular ale was the product of the Track Brew Co. in Manchester who claim their beers were ‘born on a bike and raised in Manchester’ after sampling the world’s beer by bike. Other brewers included the Alphabet Brewing Company (Manchester), The Five Points Brewing Co. (Hackney), Mad Hatter Brewing Co. (Liverpool), Magic Rock Brewing (Huddersfield) and many more.
With beery celebrations ticked off the list, this Sunday the 13th continues the fun with a focus on food. Following the success of their Victoria Banquet for Leeds Indie Food, Whitelock’s have curated a heritage menu that takes direct inspiration from dishes served 300 years ago in the ale house. On offer will be a five-course menu from head chef Ben Iley, including Salmagundi (a 17th century English salad comprising of meats, fruits, vegetables and leaves), Venison and Trout. The five courses will cost £30 but also include some added surprises. The meal will serve to do justice to the centuries-old ale house and its perfectly preserved antique atmosphere.
Be Sure to book your tickets here