I don't know if everyone is over pop ups yet. I'm certainly not - although I am certainly no barometer for what is cool or not. In fact, when the email from James at Red's True BBQ dropped into my inbox inviting me to come down and try out the Brooklyn Brewery Pop-Up Dive Bar, I spent the next half hour thinking about how cool my life is, and how my 16 year old self would have been shocked and amazed at the kinds of things I get up to nowadays. Which probably just proves how uncool I really am.
The Brooklyn Brewery x Red's True BBQ pop-up dive bar though? Possibly the coolest thing that's happening in Leeds right now. Moving to Leeds has opened up a whole world to me - the world of real ale drinkers. Whilst I was fully aware of wine connoisseurs, but I have discovered that as much love and care is displayed by the fans of real ale and beer. Sadly, it's not the drink for me; however much I try, I can't get past the bitter flavour. So I enlisted the help of Paul and Joe to help me test out the dive bar and all its wares.
Situated on The Calls, in an old abandoned building, the Brooklyn Brewery dive bar has all the trappings of a hipster pop-up that people like me can't get enough of. Bare, industrial walls, strings of bulbs casting a soft glow on the surroundings, piles of kegs providing the only decoration and a view across the Aire that you'd usually pay a few bob for. On one wall stands the bar, with a variety of beers to try; the bar operates on a token system with each token (£4.50) paying for a drink. Depending on the strength of your beverage of choice, you receive a half pint, 2/3rds or pint. On the other side is Red's True BBQ with an ever-changing menu of slow cooked meats. A match made in heaven? I should say so.
Between us we sampled all of the beers - although I struggled through mine due to my aforementioned lack of affinity for ale. Don't get me wrong though - I could tell that it was high quality and was sweet enough to keep me happy. I opted for the Cuvée La Boîte whilst the boys worked through the rest of the menu between them. Paul's favourite was the Pennant, whilst Joe preferred the Blast!. They gave me some notes, but I've managed to lose the envelope that they wrote them on. Suffice to say, there were manly nods and murmurs of approval all round.
For me though, the highlight was the food. We opted for the pulled pork burger, served with a tangy coleslaw and a creamy apple sauce. Pulled pork, like pop-ups, is having a bit of a 'moment' in the foodie world and it seems you can't move for restaurants offering their own version of this fashionable food stuff. Red's True BBQ, though, serves up a triumph of a pulled pork burger - they're not just playing at this because it's trendy. Meat so soft you could sleep on a bed of it, smothered in just enough sauce to add flavour but not so much that the pork was over-powered. It was truly a thing of wonder. You may have read my thoughts on Red's True BBQ before; whilst I was impressed with the fare, I was sceptical that it was worth the ridiculous waiting times that have become par for the course at this popular restaurant. This, however, was the perfect way to sample their wares and comes highly recommended from me.
On a Wednesday it was lively enough, and we actually bumped into a group of friends who are well-known as real ale lovers - not ones to sup on inferior brews. They know their stuff, so I'm pretty sure that if you're also in it for the beer, you won't be disappointed. The dive bar is actually only open for another couple of weeks, so if you fancy it yourself, it's time to get down there now!