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A non-beer drinkers’ guide to drinking beer in Leeds

Written by
Kaleigh Watterson

As many of you will already know, today is international beer day, which has been conveniently organised for a Friday. So, if you weren't already planning on celebrating the start of the weekend, now you've got a great excuse.

Also conveniently, Leeds has a plethora of pubs, bars and breweries, meaning there is no shortage of places to get a decent pint.

But what if you don’t like beer? Kaleigh, Time Out’s resident craft beer aficionado, took Rob, digital content producer for Time Out Leeds – and loyal red wine drinker – out to explore some of the city’s craft beer spots and showcase some of Yorkshire’s best booze producers.

So how did we get on? Here’s a whistle-stop tour of some great places to drink craft beer in Leeds and maybe introduce non-beer drinkers to its many delights. 

The Brewery Tap

Located mere steps from the front entrance of Leeds railway station, this Leeds Brewery-owned alehouse is the ideal first stop off.

Beginning with a more traditional style, the first beer sampled was Leeds Brewery’s Best. An easy to drink session pale ale, this 3.8% was an instant hit scoring a thumbs up and a 3.5/5 rating from Rob.

Beer number two was one of Leeds’ newer brews – the 4.1% IPA Monsoon. Hoppy and aromatic, this more modern style was also a hit – being ranked 4/5 by Rob.

 A dark beer followed – Gathering Storm, also by Leeds. With a rich finish, this was much less palatable then the first two choices and only received a 2/5 score from Rob.


Heading out of Yorkshire momentarily, the final selection was Jaipur by craft beer darlings Thornbridge. A true classic in the beer scene, this was slightly more appealing to Rob’s palate, scoring a 3/5.

North Bar

One of the pioneers supplying innovative beers to the drinkers of Leeds, North Bar is an institution and the place to go to find options from some of the world’s most exciting breweries.

A chance to really push the tastebuds, the first brew was another from Thornbridge – this time, their Otto Weizen Dopplebock. At 8%, it’s a beer you’re definitely best sampling as a third. With rich, complex flavours this was a bit of a wildcard but appreciated by Rob nevertheless, scoring a respectable 4/5.

Next up, it was Huddersfield brewers Magic Rock – another favourite among beer drinkers and well known for creating beers with distinctive flavours and even more distinctive branding. One of its core range, Cannonball is an India Pale Ale coming in at 7.4% and was another hit – again securing a 4/5 score.

 Rob would like to point out that he was quite drunk by this stage and that's his happy 'this is lovely' face.

Finally, it was time for something on the lower ABV side and it was becoming clear that Rob was starting to enjoy himself. Carnival, another gem from Magic Rock, is a 4.7% golden ale and aims to remind drinkers of summer days. It’s easy to drink and scored another positive score – 3.5/5.



A photo posted by Phil Waugh (@philwaugh84) on


OK, it’s a food venue rather than a bar but as its name suggests, booze is one of their priorities. Along with a wide range of bottled beers, one of MEATliquor's selling points is a dedicated Magic Rock tap, and on this visit it was another opportunity to sample the delightful Cannonball – while getting some grub to soak up some of the beer.

Sadly, time ran away with us so despite a planning a few more stop offs, we only made it this far. So, did a tour of some of Leeds’ beery highlights covert Rob from the vino? Only time will tell to see if he chooses a pilsner over a pinot noir, or a milk stout over a merlot!

This is merely an introduction to some of the excellent pubs and bars to visit in the city and Yorkshire’s brewing scene.

So, if you’re looking for more craft beer action see Time Out’s guide to Leeds’ best bars.

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