I was recently given the opportunity to visit the Meantime Brewery in Greenwich to take a tour of their brewery and take a sneak-peak at their tutored beer theory sessions, called "The Knowledge".
Meantime beers, founded in Greenwich in 2000 by Alastair Hook, have been a firm favourite of mine over the last few years and their spread across pubs in the capital and beyond has been very impressive to see. They take their ties to Greenwich very seriously, with the brand named after Greenwich's most famous export - time. This is taken even further with the fact that they grow some hops on the Greenwich peninsula, as such they can truly count themselves as a London producer (although the amount of hops they get from this site does make up a statistically small proportion of their overall supply). Like a lot of successful smaller-scale ventures in this sector they have been acquired by a larger group, in this case SABMiller (who count Fosters, Millers, Castle, Peroni and Pilsner Urquell as part of their portfolio), earlier this year. The early indications are that this will only aid Meantime in expanding their production and furthering their reach - which has to be a good thing!
We started with Meantime's London Lager (available from Majestic at £10.99 for six bottles). This is described by Meantime as the "quintessential English lager". What is noticeable here is the balance that exists between the hoppy and malty characteristics of the beer. This is a beautifully clean and pure lager, which comes from its unpasteurised production techniques.
Waitrose at £1.79/bottle). As you would expect from the name this beer has a nice dark red tinge to it which comes from the combination of British and German malts. The addition of American hops to this beer gives a typically tropical, fruity characteristic.
Last up was Meantime's Wheat Beer. The beer had that familiar banana bread aroma to it (which fills me with dread as I DETEST bananas), which Rod explained came from the esters in the beer. On the mouth it had a nice, soft feel to it. I don't think I'll ever be the world's biggest wheat beer fan, but this was a perfectly decent example.
Thank you to Rod and the Meantime team for a very enjoyable evening. If you would like to gain "the knowledge" with Meantime then follow this link.
Disclaimer: I did not pay for this session, the views contained within this article are, nonetheless, my own.