Tuesday 6th October was a terrible night. I stood inside Leeds Bus station for over half an hour, not something you really want to do. Eventually the thunder diminished, someone switched the lightning off and the clouds dispersed. The only thing between me and Calls Landing now was the six inch deep torrent flowing down the road. Thankfully the River Aire hadn’t burst it’s banks, the bar was still there and it was a relief to walk into the snug warmth. I looked round for familiar faces, but there weren’t any because this was the first ever (will there be more?) Leeds Untappd social. Thankfully, while I was on the bus, I’d had a quick peek at the twitter profile picture of @andycampell84, so I was able to pick him out, say hello and get instantly introduced to other friendly faces. The event was Andy’s brainchild and I asked him why he’d come up with the idea. He told me there were lots of people using social media he communicated with, me for one, without ever meeting them. He said that you could even be sat in the same bar as someone you ‘virtually’ knew without actually knowing they were there, so he thought it would be a good idea to meet up and put faces to twitter handles, so to speak.
Andy is one of the Supervisors at Stew & Oyster Calls Landing with responsibility for the day to day running of the bar. He asked his gaffer if they could host the event? They said yes and kindly provided us with a big cauldron of their tasty stew for our delectation as well as a few little prizes for a charity raffle; top marks to Stew & Oyster Calls Landing and top marks to @andycampell84.
Despite the foul weather there were only a couple of people who didn’t make it and the event soon got going. Fair play to Nigel and Richard, Head Brewer and Sales manager at Kelham Island Brewery for not only supporting the event with the donation of some really cool raffle prizes, including a bottle of their 25th Anniversary ale, t-shirts and a box set of bottles, they also made it all the way from Sheffield (and hopefully made it back). Like Nigel said, ‘it’s only thirty miles away and there’s beer involved!’ I really enjoyed chatting with these guys who told me a lot about what they’re are doing. They said to mention the 41st Steel City Beer Festival (Sheffield CAMRA) which is being held at Kelham Island Museum, next to their brewery (21st to 24th October).
So who else was there? Any beards? No more than anywhere else and actually in the minority. In fact there were none of, what some people percieve as, the expected stereotypes, just a group of really nice people and @inchthedog, a delightful, friendly, one eyed spaniel. Inch had come along with his Mum and Dad, Mr @handdrawnpixels and Mrs @whatsshehaving who when asked, ‘who are you and why have you come?’ Said, ‘I’m Kat and I like beer!’ Not only does she like it, she knows about it, in a big way. She told me they had just come back from honeymoon in California, where they had been … guess what?
I had a really interesting chat with the very erudite ‘Bloke From Hull’, Mr David Litten and @adamsmelt about what Untappd actually is. We came to the conclusion that it’s no more than an electronic list for beer tickers with all the advantages of a social media site. I think that’s quite a good definition, myself.
I’ve mentioned some of the raffle prizes already and with a few t-shirts from Northern Monk Brew Co. there was enough goodies on the table for everyone to take something home. Mr @Coluleeds and his lucky winning streak had something to say about that. I’m surprised he could carry everything away with him when he went home. As per usual, I won sweet Fanny Adams. As well as raffle prizes Northern Monk Brew Co. had also provided a good few of their new cans for us to try. If you follow my posts you will know what my thoughts are here. Everyone else seemed equally impressed.
Others I met were Mr @LeedsBeerWolf and Mrs LeedsBeerWolf aka @LeanneGirt. They both thought it had been a really worthwhile event. Leanne reckoned the Leeds beer scene was currently amazing and thought we need more networking events like this.
One to watch in the future is Mr @HorsforthBrewer who is hopefully going to get The Horsforth Brewery off the ground in the near future. He’s currently home brewing, but he thinks he can do better than a lot of what is currently on offer. He’s planning to set up in his garage, family and finances willing. He told me he’s already put a lot of planning and effort into this. He obviously knows what he is doing and when he goes live I reckon he will do really well.
As people started to drift off into the darkness to catch the last bus or train, everyone said they’d enjoyed the evening, the beer and that it had been a really worthwhile event, @pblurton simply summed it all up when he said, ‘I didn’t know what to expect, but it’s been really good’.
So, when are we going to have another one folks?