When driving, only one station gets listened to on my radio, that being Radio 4, with Today taking me to work and PM bringing me home.  However this Friday morning, I tuned into BBC Radio Leeds to listen to their coverage of the last shift taking place at the Tetleys Brewery.  I wrote in detail on this a few weeks ago, and now the time has passed and the brewery is no more.

The local MP said a lot, but also said nothing, in that way that only they and PR people can do. The ex local Councillor was blustery, spoke about the past with rose tinted glasses and was full of impractical ideas to keep the beer and jobs in Leeds.  A Carlsberg manager tried to re-assure drinkers that they had worked hard to get the same water mineral mix in Wolverhampton as in Leeds and that the product wouldn’t change in anyway.

The Carlsberg spokesman also tried to justify the closure by blaming the “perfect storm” of drop in demand, increase in crop prices and increased taxation.  This is all true, but these events affect the whole country not just Leeds.   The excuses were all political, I’d have more respect if they simply told the probable truth that “it costs less per pint to make in Wolverhampton” and “we can make a lot of cash from selling the site off”.

All these people are not important in this story, the politician will move onto another cause by the time you read these words.  The Carlsberg manager will be quickly onto his next role within the company, having relocated to his new site already.  The ex councillor will spend the rest of his days moaning that Tetleys isn’t the same pint any more yet still drinking it every day.

The people who mattered were the 100+ remaining staff who were making this journey for the last time.  Many did not want to talk, those who did, with the exception one person, kept their answers brief.  There will be many staff out of that number who have worked for the company for twenty plus years and who’s redundancy package will see them into their retirement.  Others will be dropped into a sector which has just lost its biggest local employer.    Lets hope at least some of this rich pool of talent turn their hand to producing more local micro brewed beers.

Whilst visiting the Woodman pub near the White Rose Centre on the outskirts of Leeds, I noticed that the pump clip for Tetleys Cask clearly states “Brewed in Yorkshire”.  After the final production runs from Leeds finally run dry in a few weeks time, a proud truth will become a sad lie.

At the same pub a couple of pints of Leeds Brewery Pale had a repeat tasting, after sampling the same drink at the Eddies Geaters latest pub, The Barge and Barrel the previous day and was as good at both pubs.

I stated a few weeks ago that I’d reserve judgement until I had a chance to visit his latest venture (The Barge), and not a lot has changed beer wise, it still offers 7 good varied ales, this was never in doubt with his background.  The food menu seems to have been slimmed down, and the pub itself has been cleaned up a bit with some minor redecoration which brightens the room.  Saturday afternoon started off surprisingly quiet when we arrived, but started to liven up by the time we left an hour or so later.   I’d say that it appears that he has left the bits which work alone, and worked on the small things which needed improving.

After this visit I stopped at one of my favourite watering holes, the Cock of the North brewery tap at Hipperholme.  The pub may not be one of the most glamorous locations, but it has a selection of some excellent beers all brewed within 10 yards of the bar.  My choice was Jamaican Ginger, an excellent gingery beer, although not a good as the Gingivitis they brew.  My dad had a very nice pint of Child Catcher.  The 4 pint jug of the latter we took home for the evening went down very well later.   The atmosphere is always good here as well, even with a small number of people, which began to build up for the early evening as we left.

A last visit of the day to my local, The Cock and Bottle rounded off a very nice afternoon, with some excellent beers and good local ale houses enjoyed all round, and on that note I wish you all happy supping until next time.