ShuffleDog has been anticipated a long time by your Questers. Even before we knew BrewDog were taking it over, we looked at this vacant space in the beautiful Crispin House and thought “that would make a great bar”.
This is the second BrewDog bar in Leeds, and it is trying very hard to be different from its cousin. There are two very different floors:
Upstairs is a sunny window-filled keg bar with no less than thirty-five beer lines and one cider. About half of them are BrewDog and the rest are guests. Most of the beers are strong (at least 6%) although we were very pleased to see Nanny State – our favourite non-alcoholic beer – on tap. Prices are high but you do get what you pay for!
Downstairs is the shuffleboard basement, with three full-size shuffleboard tables and three classic pinball machines (I’m informed that The Addams Family is one of the best). There are a few tables dotted around down here and it’s cool and relaxing compared with the heat and bustle of upstairs.
There’s table service everywhere (and beer menus!) so you don’t need to keep running up and down the stairs. And in a few weeks there will be a full food menu too (currently it’s just meat and cheese platters).
It’s really nice to see a new BrewDog in town: the first one definitely felt too small for a city like Leeds and this is more like what we’ve come to expect from BrewDog in other cities. And it’s a testament to how awesome Leeds’s culture is that BrewDog choose here as the place to innovate with this new bar concept.
Punk anti-establishment brewery Brew Dog (now the largest brewery in Scotland) continue their quest to dominate the UK beer scene in the most mainstream and profiteering fashion possible. Not content with their already existing overpriced and way too pleased with itself bar near the Corn Exchange, they have done what all true pitiless expanding businesses do and bloat, and multiply. So punk!
One of the biggest achievements of their campaign has not been the way they have lured young people in with successful branding (not exactly difficult), or how they have churned out craft ale with American hops, achieving the same average to good quality IPAs and Pale Ales as nearly every other craft ale brewer, it has been to further the notion that charging £6 for the privilege is ‘getting what you pay for’.
£6 in a bar gets you a Belgian tripel, a trappiste ale, an independent German wheatbeer or doppelbock, it also gets you some of the best stouts and porters from North America, and specialist beers from across the world.
But there is no reason whatsoever why BrewDog with its corporate structure price their real ales in Leeds accordingly other than pure greed. If you don’t believe me try accessing their ales in other parts of the country where they are 2, even 3 pounds cheaper. Buy Punk IPA at a Wetherspoons just for the sake of absurdity.
Meanwhile old fashioned real ale, which no-one disputes is made to just as high a standard, offering just as varied flavours remains accessible for a fraction of the cost, but isn’t saturated in marketing, and won’t win you the beard-stroking nods of approval among the BrewDog crowd, who after all, are just consuming a facsimile of a 15 year old beer scene that originated in a country that had long buried their brewing tradition until its resurrection in the mid-late 90s.
We make our own beers, we make them better, and we sell them cheaper.
You don’t get what you pay for. You pay double to buy into a brand and a myth, you pay double to belong to a crowd. How punk.