Simon Richardson continues to pine for pubs but here are his favourite home delivered alternatives
Does anyone else get those massive sad kitten eyes from Shrek whenever anyone mentions 'the before times?’ I’ve been dreaming about licking door handles with gay abandon, hugging strangers in the street, and opening my bedroom window to shout ‘Hey, boy! You know what day it is?’ at passers-by. But all I really want to do is stick my head under a beer tap as the bar staff all look on and laugh heartily like something out of Cheers.
In the absence of all that japery, we’ve got to make the best of it and crack on - or crack one open. Beer knows. Beer understands. And, thanks to these places (and many more), beer (and wine and cocktails) can help*.
*Drink responsibly, obvs.
Here’s our round-up of Leeds breweries, beer shops and wine merchants delivering to your door.
There’s nothing like a rave in a small warehouse in Armley to get that feelgood factor going. But when you can’t party with Liam, at least you can still drink his beer, wear his clothes, and look through his bedroom window at night with your new binoculars. Try the Sicilian Lemon Pale – best drunk in the blazing hot sunshine. Perfect for February.
Free local delivery, or nationwide shipping
Responsible for some of the city’s finest boozers, Kirkstall’s taproom was one of Leeds’s most eagerly awaited openings. Of course, Covid meant that we only really got enough of it to whet our appetites (and certainly not to fully wet our whistles), so you’ll have to pick up your fix of Virtuous online for now. Pound for pound, it’s the finest session beer ever. Go on, fight me.
Free delivery over £40 in LS postcodes / £50 rest of UK
Richard and Bryony have long since moved to their new premises at Brownhill & Co, but the spirit of Little Leeds Beerhouse lives on in the fridges and online. Expect plenty of European beers, a few interesting collabs, and a generous reduced section. And if you don’t like beer, why not check out their ceramics section?
Free shipping on orders over £50
Any brewery that thinks it’s hilarious to produce an unnecessarily cumbersome 99 pack of beer is fine by me. Fortunately, North Brewing Co are easy to like for numerous other reasons too, including their NHS discounts during lockdown, their array of local bars, and their brewery tours by the lovely Anja. The online shop contains their core range and an impressive array of collabs, as well as snacks, spirits, and some seriously awesome merch.
Free shipping on orders over £50 / £20 locally
If you haven’t heard of Northern Monk, you probably don’t like beer, or you don’t have ears or something. But Leeds’s most successful craft beer producers have got you covered with a variety of packs, subscription boxes and collabs, as well as some of the coolest merch around. I’m a massive fan of fighty 9% DIPAs normally, but Striding Edge – at just 2.8% - is genuinely awesome. Get yourself a few in.
I like a business that understands and caters to those times when you've absolutely got to crack open the wine and cheese you've just bought and drink it there and then. It’s like a reading area in a bookshop, or how Pulse and Cocktails is headquartered in Rotherham. By remaining faithful to the way the shop works, the online model provides something a bit different. Instead of browsing, email Simon with your preferences and budget, and he’ll put together something for you. It’s a great way to still provide the personal touch that makes Once Upon a Vine such a visitable place.
Email email@example.com to arrange a visit, a bespoke order, or a delivery
If you have trouble choosing things, Raynville is not the place for you. 900 beers from around the world, a bunch of wines and spirits, and endless Johnny Knowledges await you when you set foot in the shop. Now imagine that, but online, and without the effusive assistance of a man with a booze encyclopaedia in his head. Seriously though, have a browse. The selection is insane.
Collection, local delivery, free nationwide delivery on orders over £75
Stepping into Salt Beer Factory is like entering a massive futuristic warehouse full of booze and food and fun. It’s contributed enormously to a changing vibe in Saltaire and the brewery itself continues to go from strength to strength. You can get hold of their 8 core beers plus a range of collabs, but it’s the beer snacks range that really sets them apart. Jalapeño Biernuts? Texan BBQ jerky? Oh yes.
Click and Collect available, £2.99 local delivery (£5.99 nationwide)
Sure, beer and wine in the post is nothing new, but what about fancy cocktails? Watermark is one of Leeds’s best late-night venues – the atmosphere, the quality of the drinks, and the hilarious social media videos all set it apart from the competition. Cocktails in a bag though? I was pretty sceptical at first, but hot damn diggity dog, did my Rum Old Fashioned for 2 (for 1) hit the spot.
Friday local delivery, nationwide delivery imminent!
Along with Raynville and Anthology, Wilde Child makes up the Armley holy trinity for beer. You can swing by the brewery next to the gyratory to pick up your order and have a chat with Keir, or just get on the site and pick from one of 27 beers – quite a selection for a brewery of Wilde Child’s size. Expect punny beer names galore as well as several nods to Leeds United – not something I can personally condone at all.
Click and collect available, free local delivery
Of course, I’ve barely scratched the surface here. Leeds is absolutely brimming with brilliant establishments; All of whom contribute to making the city so special and all of whom deserve your custom during these tough times. Hospitality, in particular, is having such an awful time financially. So, what’s your tipple? Give a shout out to your favourites in the comments section below.