Thursday, 17 July 2014

Summer Beers from Meantime Brewery

This week's treat comes from Meantime Brewery, who sent me two of their summer releases to try, to see if they quench my thirst on all these swelteringly hot days we're having.

If you didn't guess already, Meantime are based in Greenwich in London (good name, eh?) and produce a range of  fantastic, flavourful and exciting beers - in 2013 they made 53 different styles!

Actually, over the past six months or so, they have become possibly my favourite London-based brewery thanks to me having their beers a number of times in Knightsbridge and in and around the Greenwich area. With their eclectic range they have shot to fame and have become the largest craft beer producer in our nation's Capital.

This time, they have been kind enough to send me two of their beers: the Yakima  Red and their Indian Pale Ale. Both of these I have had before on tap but never in bottle. It is safe to say I loved both of them, but it is always worth another look to see if the bottle made a difference! Here is how I got on:

Yakima Red

Just from the shape of the bottle you can see that Meantime like to be a little different. It reminds me of a town crier's bell. Makes we want to just grab it by the neck, shake it above my head screaming 'Hear ye!!! Hear ye!!' Obviously, I'm not going to do that.......... Maybe after I have drunk the nectar that lies inside.

In the glass it is a deep ruby, copper colour with a pristine, foamy head. On the nose you are hit instantly with citrus, hops, a lick of malt and a touch of aniseed. Really crisp, fresh and flavourful.
This isn't surprising, as it is made with five different hop varieties from the Yakima Valley in Washington State (hence the name), which help the beer really pack that flavourful punch.

On the palate it has great body, citrus sharpness of orange, nectarine and peach, with a light bitterness of malt and hops that helps to separate it from it's lighter styled friends. Brilliantly balanced with an amazingly long finish. Truly fantastic at 4.1% abv and a must-have for anyone interested in London Craft Beer. 9.5/10

Indian Pale Ale

From all the millions (literally, millions, I'm sure) of you out there that have read my beer reviews before, you should well know that IPA is not my favourite style of beer. Often, it is just an affront of hops on the nose and fore palate with little to back it up. This, however, could be the one that turns me. I've also done this properly, with a big, fat plate of chicken jalfrezi to accompany it.

For a start, the bottle has a Champagne-esque seal so the fun starts even before you have poured the thing! With a light 'pop' you instantly get a whiff of citrus, yeasty bread and that lovely hoppiness you get from Goldings and Kent Fuggles. Not overpowering - just enough to get you interested. In the glass it is an inviting amber with a steady burst of bubbles almost suspended beneath the smooth head.

Its real masterstroke is in the mouthfeel. At 7.4% this isn't for the lighthearted. But unlike so many IPA's I have had in the past, this extra alcohol makes a weighty, full bodied beer that sits beautifully on the palate. So many times I have been upset that a beer 'holds back' - this certainly doesn't. It even comes in a 750ml bottle for Christ's sake!

Once there, it bursts with flavours of tangerine, caramel and a light hint of sweet spice that makes this a truly stunning aroma. The creamy smoothness quells the heat of the curry brilliantly and compliments the many spices and herbs within it. Again, the finish is long and complex with bitter, sweet hops and crisp acidity. Simply put, the best beer I have had this year. 10/10.

Although Meantime's foundations lie in its beer, their tour and brewery bar/restaurant has also turned many a head within London. Trip Advisor rates it 5/5 and ranks it #32 out of 614 activities in London. That is nearly the top 5% of ALL attractions! You only need to read some of the reviews to get a feel of how fun, interesting and boozy their Brewery tours are!

It is on that note that I will be booking my place on the next possible Tour of Meantime Brewery just so that I can try both of these beers again as soon as possible. Take a bow, Greenwich.

P.S. Please send me the rest of your range. NOW!

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