Bottle shop. Growler fill. Brilliant draught beers. Drink in or carry out. In Wetherby? You’re joking?
No I’m not.
Church Street, you know the little pedestrian only street that leads from Market Place to Bank Street.
Isn’t that, where The Mews is, Bank Street?
Yep. Same bloke who’s been selling excellent cask and keg beers for the last three and a bit years in the Mews, Andy Levine. Got fed up and opened up this bottle shop place with a lady called Clair Clay.
Is it any good?
Yep. They’ve only been open a week and a half and they’ve already filled close on 100 growlers.
You been in then?
Yep, quite a bit. Just had a coffee a couple of times, Espresso Doblo, only two quid and it’s as good as you’ll get. The beans come from a roaster called Pump & Grind in Leeds, speciality coffees, all ground up in front of you. They’ve got a proper coffee machine, thermometers, steam, frothy milk with a fancy an emblem on the top. You can buy the beans to take home, and they do teas.
You been in for a beer though?
Yep. Four constantly changing draught keg lines. You can get your Growler filled on an American PEGAS CrafTap filling station, or you can drink the beer straight from the tap on the premises. Same with the eighty odd bottles and cans, drink in or take out. They’ve got a belting range of beers too, focussed on the best of the UK beer scene and the sort of beers people get excited about. Andy’s keen to get all the latest releases straight onto their shelves and I bought a couple of cans of the latest Wylam DIPA from him last week.
Hows that Growler filling thing work then?
You put the glass bottle in the machine. Andy switches the dial to whichever beer you choose and then the machine fills your bottle up with CO2 before it fills the bottle from the bottom up and screws the cap on. That way there’s no air coming into contact with your beer and unopened it will stay fresh for a month. You can buy the Growlers in-house or bring ones you’ve bought elsewhere to fill.
So how big is it inside?
It’s not massive, but you can sit down and there’s a ledge or two to put your beer on. It’s nicely done out too and all the artwork on the walls has been done by Andy himself. There’s no prices on them, but I’m sure he’s open to offers.
Do you think it’ll take off?
Yep. Where else can you go for beers as good as this in far flung outer East Leeds?
Yeah, I see what you mean. It’s either the bottle shops in Leeds, or else you go through to York, and there’s definitely no one in between selling bottles or draught keg beers of any quality.
Andy and Clair are calling it, ‘A shop with ambience that will keep the people of Wetherby caffeinated and drunk!’ I think they were joking about the last bit, but I know they’re committed to introducing folk to good coffee and good beer in a communal atmosphere, and everything I’ve seen just screams quality.
I was in there on Friday with Mrs C, a mate and a well known local chef/patron. While we were waxing lyrical about the beer, the likes of which Wetherby hasn’t ever seen, the chef was banging on about the Cannoli (3 for £2.50), well he would he’s a chef isn’t he.
So what beers did you have Rich?
Verdant Pulp 8% £2.50. Hop City DIPA 8.4% £2.40 and Deya Steady Rolling Man 5.2% at £2 (prices all per third of a pint). They were all very, very good, but I was mightily impressed with the Deya beer. There was also Lost & Grounded Keller Pils 4.8% at £1.40. All the draught beers are continually updated on the Bottle & Bean web site and they will constantly change.
As the clock ticked on towards tea time last Friday afternoon, I was surprised how many casuals were calling in for a drink, people I wouldn’t have put down as craft style drinkers. So, I reckon folk are already getting it and judging by the number of lost Growler tops they’ve had to replace for people there’s already been quite a lot of repeat business.
What about dogs Rich?
Very welcome, Clair’s even made some proper doggy Peanut Butter People, specially for well behaved pooches.
They won’t have any entertainment will they?
Not as such, but Andy’s big into his music and he likes to play a few tunes. You can take your own vinyl in and listen to it while you’re drinking, chatting, chilling – whatever.
So, what’s Bottle & Bean’s opening times?
Closed all day Monday. Tuesday & Wednesday it’s half nine till three and Thursday, Friday & Saturday they’re open until 8pm. They’re also open every second Sunday of the month (Farmers Market) ten while four.
What’s your verdict Rich?
In my opinion, it’s very welcome and I think it will do well. It’s something really new, for Wetherby, and as such it won’t step on anyone’s toes, it’ll just enhance what we’ve already got.