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  • Writer's pictureLetters Wander

Another Melbourne House

Any good baker will tell you… a good sour-dough needs two things... a great yeast starter and time. The same is true for a good ale. Most traditional well-established breweries will have their own strains of yeast which may have been in use for many years… a unique starter makes for a distinctive ale… Tetley’s knew this. ⠀

In the 1950s, Leeds had a distinctive and delightful smell of ales cooking. The sweet and sour smells of hops and yeast swirled around the city as a duopoly of producers brewed their ales. In the south corner of the city centre; Tetley’s… and to the north; Melbourne ales. Long had the ‘bitter’ rivals competed for the crown of best tasting brew. It’s hard to believe now; with Tetley’s dominance in the city’s identity… but Melbourne Brewery matched Tetley’s in all aspects of competition, from sales to taste to amount of pubs. At their peak Melbourne owned over 250 pubs across Leeds… and the revellers that frequented them were vocal in their allegiance to the Melbourne Bitter taste over the Smooth of Tetley. ⠀

That was until the two… became one. In 1960 Tetley’s bought the Melbourne Brewery, its pubs and its yeast. Production slowly moved to the South Leeds site… the northern brewery was demolished and the original Melbourne yeast was destroyed… and so with it was the unique taste of Melbourne Ale.⠀

While their ale has gone forever… the Melbourne legacy lives on throughout the city on pub walls and in windows… look carefully at the drinking holes and you’ll no doubt spot Another Melbourne House.

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