Northern Monk, Bombay Dazzler
"combining the best of traditional monastic brewing values with a progressive approach to ingredients and techniques”
The Domesday book from 1086 records the brewing of 70,000 gallons of ale by monks at St. Paul’s Cathedral, and that Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire once brewed 60 barrels of strong ale every 10 days. It is this rich brewing history that Northern Monk takes their inspiration from, explains Russell Bissett who founded the Leeds based outfit in 2013.
“We’re committed to creating the highest quality beers combining the best of traditional monastic brewing values with a progressive approach to ingredients and techniques” Russ tell us.
The Old Flax Store
Their home then is a rather fitting Grade II listed former flax mill, based in Holbeck Village (“the spiritual heart of the industrial revolution” Russ says proudly), a short walk from Leeds city centre. The operation is spread over three levels with the brewery on the ground floor and a refectory, serving up some of the best grub and grog in Yorkshire, on the top floor looking over this great city. Having cracked the format, this weekend Northern Monk will be opening the doors to its second UK taproom, located in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
Any visit to the Old Flax Store is almost certain to include a friendly encounter (this is Yorkshire after all) with one of the Northern Monk team. Brian Dickson and Colin Stronge, widely regarded as two of the most talented people in brewing, lead the brewing and production side of things.
With a name like Northern Monk, championing this part of the country; its heritage, creativity, people and landscape, is clearly a large part of the team’s raison d’etre and they do that largely through a brilliant project called the Patrons Project. Northern Monk patrons are an extension of the 18-strong team at the brewery and they include illustrators, photographers, filmmakers, artists, musicians and athletes who are all championing the North.
The view from the refectory
One of those patrons is an exceptionally talented illustrator called Drew Millward, who created the artwork for this week’s beer, Bombay Dazzler. Russ introduces it...
“It’s our take on the classic Belgian witbier. It riffs on the style's characteristic spice profile and takes it all the way back to the motherland of spices. The original recipe for Bombay Dazzler was developed as the world's first Anglo-Indian craft brewing collaboration between Northern Monk Brew Co. and Mumbai's Gateway Brewing Co. We continued refining the recipe with Bundobust to pair seamlessly with their renowned Indian vegan street food. As Bundobust grows their empire, we stepped up the game with Bombay Dazzler and brought it to the core range where it belongs.”
It’s gently spiced with ginger, cardamom and coriander, which sit on top of a light, funky, sessionable Wit beer. To be served cold with your favourite curry.
Bundobust in Leeds