I've always liked Ossett Breweries' beers - they do a great line in pales, and their beers always satisfy in a non-complicated, typically Yorkshire way. The Hop is their latest foray into real estate, and I dropped by yesterday evening after work to see how they were doing.
The Hop's a nice space - vaulted ceilings and the (strangely comforting) occasional rumble of trains overhead courtesy of the Dark Arches location. Downstairs boasts a faux-pub decor, whilst the extra seating upstairs is welcome, given that it's practically standing-room only at the bar.
Onto the beer. Ossett's standards are all here, rebadged and all shiny and new. Silver King and its stronger cousin Excelsior are great pales, sherbety in mouthfeel and grapefruity on the nose. Yorkshire Blonde does what it says on the tin, but Big Red impresses. Very red in colour, this ruddy, deep-flavoured ale provides a tastier diversion from pale overload.
Nestled beside the Ossett beers are guests from Roosters (more pale), Great Heck, and Goose Eye's wonderful Over & Stout, and the fridges boast the usual roundup of Belgian, American and German bottled gems.
So, it was a night for Pale fans, without a doubt. And what do I think of The Hop? I like it; a little more variation on the bar would be appreciated, but pale ales, like Roosters, are Ossett's style of choice. The place is bustling, and there's a lot of people in here, all drinking ale. That's a good thing, no mistake. The Hop is a welcome addition to the pubs and bars of Leeds in my book, and it's location serves as a handy pitstop on the way down to the River Aire run. Kudos, too, for using the Dark Arches. We should be making more of this beautiful, unique space - and hopefully others will follow The Hop.
Apologies for my crap photos. It's a very gloomy bar, especially at 18.00 on a friday night. Bring on the sunshine!!