Friday, 17 June 2011

Stick to Tetley’s

Sad news that the iconic Joshua Tetley brewery in Leeds is closing its doors for the last time today. Obviously it’s a pretty much inevitable consequence of the overall decline in ale volumes, but it’s still cause for regret. I don’t know whether the recipe has been dumbed down in recent years, or that perceptions have simply changed, but there was a time when Leeds Tetley’s was regarded as one of the finest mainstream bitters in the UK, distinctively dry, and described by one beer writer as “shockingly bitter”. My father told me a story of calling in at a Tetley’s pub in the 1950s on his way to a Rugby League match and finding the beer “too bitter”.

Barrie Pepper, in his CAMRA guide to the Best Pubs in Yorkshire, talked of the distinctive, lively ambience of the typical Tetley’s town local “abuzz with darts and doms”. Now it has been done for by the Beer Orders, the switch from ale to lager and the ongoing decline of the pub trade. I’m sure Banks’s will make a decent job of brewing Tetley’s in Wolverhampton, but in an age when provenance of alcoholic drinks is becoming increasingly valued, things will never be quite the same again.

This is an interesting blog posting on the subject from outside the beer blogosphere.

“Stick to Tetley’s” was traditional advice given to beer drinkers in Yorkshire. The alternative was “if you can’t get Taylor’s where you live, move.” Fortunately Taylor’s are still going strong in Keighley.

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