The fortuitous April weather was merely just the start of a fabulous evening, as the day dawned on the next electrifying chapter of Elite Event goodness in Leeds, and gently hazed into eve. Rather than springing into April showers, yelpers arrived in the almost Spanish sunshine as dusk approached the Yelp Cures What Ales You Elite Event at The Hop, situated under the atramentous and inspiring Dark Arches of Leeds.
*Pictures 1 and 4 taken from Eleanor Snare
As folks began to pile in, assembling in the specially designated VIP area under one of the railway arches, the anticipation began to grow. Wild speculation began as to which delights would be sampled, whilst the remainder of the Elites arrived and had a good old natter and a mingle.
To open the event Tom Baker, manager of The Hop, ascended to the space ready to begin the proceedings. After several trips to transport the most generous samplings upstairs, Tom gave a brief introduction to the Ossett Brewery, detailing its history and growth from where it began to where it is today. Following on from that, tasting notes, and the beer 'cyclops' no less, were handed amongst attendees to introduce our initial tipple of the evening; the Yorkshire Blonde.
As folk started to sup their most-benevolent half pint tasters, the next samples were hand-pulled, giving ample opportunity for chats and giggles. In a flash the next liberal lashings of ale half-pints were transported upstairs, this time the Pale Gold, and before long the tables were overflowing with fabulous beers. Whilst many a-yelper tried out the sniff-and-sample method to discern the delicate ingredients, for the most part it became about the quaffing and the socialising!
Following on from the tastings came a most abundant feast of pie. Each yelper was gifted an entire pie, complete with a veritable embankment of creamy mashed potato, stockpile of mushy peas and more gravy than you could float a boat with. As folk lined up to collect their bounty, in an impressively orderly queue, the delicious smell of Rhubarb and Pork and Chicken and Black Pepper pies, to name but a few, wafted through the air. Then came the familiar sounds of satisfaction and mastication, as everyone began to tuck into their tea – some lucky few even re-visiting to dispatch a second pie!
As if that wasn't enough ruddy fun, The Hop bestowed one final half-pint sampler on all the guests, just in time for the finalé of the evening: The Pub Quiz. Whilst everyone enjoyed their Big Red ales, quiz teams were assembled readied for a session of general knowledge, current affairs, picture rounds and more in the Yelp Cures What Ales You pub quiz. As well as learning such delightful facts, as to the etymology of the word 'Avacado' and which city in the UK was the first to introduce the electric street lamps, yelpers enjoyed a silly and social end to the evening. All props go to the winning team, for their fabulous victory, pipping the runners up to the post by a single point. As well as the pride of the win, one lucky yelper from the winners took home the magnificent prize of a Leeds Rhinos Jacket.
Fully pied, fully pinted and fully privy to such erudite wisdom, a few stayed on to savour the remaining ambiance and a post-elite pint, as others left on their merry way. A huge thanks goes out to Tom Baker, The Hop and the Ossett Brewery for not only being generous hosts but for being so utterly lavish to boot. A massive thanks also goes out to Matthew Kitchen, for his wonderful photographs of the night, which can be viewed here on the official Flickr. Don't just take my word for it though! For the complete lowdown, straight from the yelpers mouths and local blogger Eleanor Snare: look here and here for the reviews already coming in!
'Hats off to Yelp and The Hop for a most generous tasting session. We got to help ourselves to a pie and lashings of mash, mushy peas and gravy, awesome; I'm a real sucker for pie and peas with extra mint sauce. I love ale, but I'm no connoisseur, so it was handy to have some tasting notes on hand too. All in all a great event and I will definitely go back to The Hop for beer and pie!' – Benjamin W
And until next time, I'll see you on the Yelp side. (Pie-eyed and fancy-free!)