Whether it’s the taste of modern craft ales, the historic charm of pubs like Whitelock’s or the history of Joshua Tetley’s brewery, one thing is certain: Leeds has a special connection to the beer industry.
It’s a subject enjoyed by comedy partners Larry Budd and Paul Dunphy, a couple who love bustling beer culture so much they wanted to celebrate it in podcast form.
Beercast – Leeds is a 10 part series presented by the couple which showcases the pubs, shops and people that make West Yorkshire one of the best places to have a drink. Not only do they speak to makers from companies like North Brewing Co and Northern Monk, they also advocate for “nano” or “micro” breweries like Tartarus or Piglove and their use of exotic ingredients from around the world.
“We wanted to do something that was really listenable given our radio background and we wanted to do it about beer in Leeds,” says Larry, a former BBC Radio Leeds presenter, of Chapel Allerton.
“But don’t make it too geeky,” adds Paul, 38, who lives downtown. “It was really important that we didn’t ramble on about the tasting notes forever.”
He continues, “The main point of the podcast is celebration first. It’s easy to overlook the importance of beer and hospitality to Leeds – it’s probably one of the city’s tenets, it’s one of the reasons you’d come here, although some people say it’s about the shopping – which it isn’t – So that’s a way of shining a light on it and saying, ‘Look how amazing this is, look at how much variety there is, look at how much everyone works together, look at how nice all are’.”
The series is halfway through and in the first episode, The Modern History of Leeds Beer, Larry and Paul talk to recurring guest Simon Jenkins, who wrote the Yorkshire Beer Bible, Beth Templeton, manager of Whitelocks Ale House, and Maz Terron Busteros from Leeds International Beer Festival.
Other topics they explore include women in beer examining how gendered the industry is, with conversations with Horsforth Brewery’s Emma Kerrawn and Rachel Auty, founder and director of community interest company Women on Tap.
The Beer and Food episode features an interview with Mayur Patel and Marko Husak, the couple behind Indian vegetarian street food restaurant and ventured into brewing, Bundobust.
In the meantime, Beer: Serious Business was incorporated into Springwell, the brewery and taproom of North Brewing Co in Leeds, with the company’s co-founder and director John Gyngell and marketing director Sarah Hardy.
Other themes are explored before the series culminates with Leeds’ Ultimate Beer Crawl, a journey through some of the city’s biggest pubs.
Producer and itinerant reporter Johnny I’Anson also makes his way to community projects like the Horsforth Hop Drop, where locals can grow hops to trade for beer at Horsforth Brewery.
Larry, 42, jots down a conversation the couple had with John Gyngell while he was creating the podcast.
“He thinks beer and hospitality and the bar scene is the history of Leeds. And you might look back 20 years from now and say, “Oh yeah, that seems obvious now” — but it seems like the right time to really celebrate. Because you always hear that phrase that ‘Leeds hide their light under a bushel’. I always hated that phrase because I just thought stop saying that and start yelling about it. So we try to just celebrate and have a beer at the same time – which is really exhausting.”
In episode one, recorded in Whitelock’s off Briggate, while talking to Simon Jenkins, they talk about how the contemporary Leeds brewery scene may have emerged from the closure of their most famous beer maker: Tetley’s operations in the city were closed by Carlsberg in 2011 after almost 190 years.
“You suddenly had a brewing vacuum and it just created fertile ground and I think there’s a case for saying Tetley’s departure was the best thing that’s ever happened to beer in Leeds,” says Larry.
The comic couple is known for sketches such as the Royal Television Society Yorkshire award-winning newsreader Nightmare, Every Political Debate Ever, shown on BBC Radio 5Live, and The ISIS Closing Down Sale, produced for BBC Comedy. In March 2020 they formed the production company Northern Imposters with the intention of developing scripted television and radio comedies.
“We’re getting really nice feedback from the brewing community and a lot of other craft beer influencers, if you will, follow and jump in and say, ‘This is a good thing,'” says Larry
“It’s been raised and people have written stories about brewing in Leeds, obviously it’s an interesting area and one reason we wanted to do it was to be able to dive really deep. Who will do 10 hours Leeds Brewing? Who is stupid enough to do that?”
The podcast was supported by Welcome to Leeds and Leeds BID. Marketing Director Martin Dickson says: “We are delighted to support this innovative and compelling project which is spotlighting one of our most important and thriving businesses.
“Beercast Leeds underscores the tremendous impact brewing has had on our city and our economy, while celebrating the diversity and amazing community spirit within the industry.”
The podcast is available on Spotify, Apple, Audible and other platforms.