When Meantime was founded in 1999, it was the biggest injection of funding for London breweries for 80 years. Having spent time studying for a masters in brewing in the world famous brewing school of Weihenstephan and travelling the world in search of good beer, founder Alastair Hook was determined to bring modern brewing back to the UK and reignite London’s brewing history.
Well, they’ve certainly done that. Meantime kick-started the surge of craft breweries opening in London and further afield, and they are now stocked in hundreds of venues across the capital and own four venues, the newest being the sleek Tasting Rooms on-site at the brewery.
There’s something really quite special about being able to sit and enjoy a beer just metres from where it was made. At the Tasting Rooms there are tanks of brewery fresh Meantime lager built into the bar, and each one of their extensive range of expertly-crafted beers is available either on draught or in bottle, with enthusiastic staff on hand to talk you through the them. Anyone who’s visited the Old Brewery will be pleased to know that there’s food, too. The menu is made up of pepped-up pub classics like an Aberdeen Angus short rib burger and fish pie made with Meantime London Pilsner, alongside more adventurous dishes of perfectly-executed, succulent pan fried scallops with Jerusalem artichoke puree, chorizo and caper butter.
Meantime is about more than brewing fantastic beer though; they’re also on a mission to educate people about it, to get customers to engage with what’s in their glass and understand what has gone into production. That’s why their brewery is open to the public with regular tours throughout the week. Starting from the Tasting Rooms, you’ll venture into the heart of the brewery where you’re given tastings of the beers in Meantime’s core range whilst listening to one of their charismatic beer buffs explain the history of the company and beer more widely, explaining the difference between the various styles that Meantime have to offer. Don’t worry though, you won’t feel like you’re back in a science lesson – the witty team strike the perfect balance between entertainment and education.
Classic tours run at various times throughout the week and start at £17.50 including five tasting samples.
Keep an eye out for their limited edition beers including Union Lager, Meantime’s first ever beer with a clean, malt character; Californian Pale Ale, with fruity notes of raspberry and orange and a malty sweetness; Fools Gold, an English summer beer that balances strong Citra hop flavours, a little bitterness and a hint of malt; and Fest Bier, brewed with the authentic Bavarian malt and yeast, this has a full bodied malt flavour with a long, clean finish.
By Sarah Kingsbury
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