Kirkstall Brewery, Dissolution Extra IPA
Kirkstall is one of the busiest suburbs of Leeds and has a brewing heritage stretching back to the 12th century when Cistercian monks founded the still beautifully preserved Kirkstall Abbey on the banks of the River Aire. The Abbey complex included a brewhouse and a forge. Their beer, however, was probably only drank by the monks. Selfish buggers.
It wasn’t until 1833 that Kirkstall had it’s own commercial brewery that distributed more widely. Situated on the banks of the Leeds Liverpool canal, Kirkstall Brewery’s beers were highly regarded throughout Yorkshire and the North East of England. Business was going so well that they acquired a chain of tied pubs, built an impressive free trade business, had offices in London and exported to Australia and New Zealand making use of the canal system to transport their beer to the coast for loading on to ships for export. They purchased two Leeds breweries in the late twenties and early thirties before being a taken over themselves by Dutton’s of Blackburn in 1936. They later became part of Whitbreads who closed the operation in 1983.
Kirkstall Brewery stood empty and unused for several years until it was given a new lease of life in the late 1990s, becoming Kirkstall Brewery Student Village.
In 2011 Steve Holt launched the new Kirkstall Brewery within spitting distance of the old one. The MD of Vertical Drinks, a specialist beer importer and the man who brought Sierra Nevada to the UK, he was undoubtedly the best man to bring brewing back to Kirkstall.
Dissolution IPA is the pick of their beers. Inspired by an export ale produced by the original Kirkstall Brewery, Extra IPA is strong (6%), full bodied and dry hopped to create what I think our good friend Chris Hall might describe as a juicy banger. We could give you poncey tasting notes, but in a nutshell it’s like sucking on a Werther’s Original in a pine forest and then having a grapefruit dropped on your head. Tonnes of flavour, yet smooth and balanced, it’s got everything you’d want from a standout British IPA, with a few American hops (we think Simcoe, but that has been neither confirmed or denied) thrown in for good measure. At 6% it could be quite dangerous but being the responsible folk we are we’ve only put one in your box.