Monday, March 16, 2009

Desert Island Smells

There is no better way of spending a rainy day than a nice game of Desert Island Smells. The game is prompted by the simple question - if you were cast away on a desert island which six smells would you take with you? I have my own personal half-dozen carefully chosen, bottled and stoppered, and packed away ready for whenever I go travelling : just in case. I was reminded of one of the six on Friday afternoon when I was in Leeds with a bit of time on my hands.
Dedicated lovers of breweries will know that last November the international brewing conglomerate, Carlsberg, announced that it would shortly shut down the Tetley Brewery in Leeds. The brewery, which dates back to 1822, currently produces both Carlsberg and Tetley beer. Production of Carlsberg will, in future, be concentrated at the firms' Northampton Brewery. A question mark still hangs over the future of Tetley bitter.
So finding myself in Leeds with time on my hands I decided to walk down to the Tetley Brewery and check that it was still open. It is many, many years since I was there last and Leeds has changed beyond all measure over recent years, particularly down by the riverside. Therefore I was not all that sure which way to go, but soon found signs to Brewery Wharf and followed them down between blocks of flats and plate-glass offices. Brewery Wharf eventually came in site but it was nothing more than a collection of hotels, restaurants, shops and offices gathered around one of those meaningless modern sculptures.
But I have played too many games of Desert Island Smells to stay lost for long. A quick sniff told me that the brewery - wherever it was hidden - was still open and that today was a brewing day. A few twisting passages later and the steel, glass and concrete gave way to a majestic brewery. If only it was the offices and flats they were pulling down and not the brewery. Soon, very soon, this part of Leeds will not look the same, nor will it smell the same.

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