It's a strange, heady smell that greets my nostrils as i walk into North on this autumnal wednesday. Bratwurst. Yep, thick, sizzling sausages sitting alongside tall glasses of every shade of ale you could imagine. This is North Bar's Oktoberfest.
Trust those forward-thinking chaps at North to bring this great little slice of Bavaria to he heart of Leeds; a positive godsend for those of us who can't afford to go to the real thing. In he name of research, i get stuck in.
Its strange reviewing a bar that i spend so much time in - and i was thinking about not doing it at all. But despite my obvious love for North, the only city bar I consider 'my local', i don't want to ignore the seasonal festivals that they take great effort to put on -and Oktoberfest is a success, purely for that reason. These guys want it to happen; so it does. They do it because they know thier customers want it.
That's enough of the gushing - onto the beers. First up I sample an Oktober brew by one of my favourite brewers, Paulaner. Its long, smooth and unbeleivably refreshing. Pale, but not too sharp. Of all the normal 'Oktoberfest' style brews, this is easily the easiest to drink. A little too easy, actually! Another hit for Paulaner. (Watch out for the Paulaner - heavy beer tent at the German Market around Christmas time!)
Next up, another old fave - Erdinger. Again, tempted by the promise of a seasonal brew from the Munich-based brewery. Again, a gorgeous amber wheat beer, very smooth, but with a much more pronounced kick (5.7) abv. Very drinkable, very good with the aforementioned Bratwurst.
The beer list is extensive - i can't imagine many places serving Hofbrau or Spaten tonight. The staff pour and pour, smile and serve in a true German fashion. The place fills, and the lights fade. Another night begins at North, and the conversation, lilting in and out of the music, is invariably about Beer.
Oktoberfest @ North runs until the 7th October. For further info, see the North link.