Many a dream has been lost in the bottom of a pint glass, but Greenwich brewers ‘Meantime’ are crafting beer drinkers’ dreams with some of the best ales ever brewed in our capital city.
The resurgence in London craft beer has been lovingly embraced with a warm beer-bellied bear hug and not only by the UK, but also by drinkers in the States. Thankfully, the explosion of ‘the craft’ is showing no signs of slowing, with recent figures from the craft beer festival stating that there were 7.8 million craft beer drinkers in the UK alone. Strong evidence there is a hefty thirst for the good stuff.
Meantime is not without some very good company too including The Kernel, Camden Town Brewery and healthy stalwart of the scene, Fuller’s to name only a few. Meantime for me however are the kings of the keg, because not only do they brew a beautiful rich pint (I’m getting responsibly addicted to Yakima Red) but they’ve crafted an equally solid brand.
I’ve never been a fan of any brewer’s penchant for flowery names like ‘Waggle Putter Pansy’ or ‘Fusty Owl’s Talon’ so it’s a relief to see Meantime utilising a refreshing ‘it does what it says on the tin’ approach to attract a new generation of craft beer connoisseurs. It’s working too. Case in point: ‘Fest Bier’ brewed in the same way the Bavarian’s do and then drunk to celebrate the Autumn harvest festivals. This no messing approach alongside a very functional font which adorns their bottles, trucks, kegs and chrome taps alike, makes for a very approachable and drinkable experience. More importantly, you won’t feel like a pretentious strokey-beard-type uttering the name of your favourite Meantime tipple at the bar.
I also discovered between sips of their very fruity IPA whilst ‘researching’ this blog, Meantime Brewery Tours are a stoutly positioned forty-four out of over five hundred activities to do in London on Trip Advisor. No surprise, when you’ve got the likes of Big Al (the human whirlwind) at the helm. The passion that exudes from his pores is palatable and if you check it out, you’ll see what I mean.
Now this is all very lovely and sycophantic but it’s for good reason. They’re managing to expand their market with a raft of different flavours and still reap in the awards. They also banter with their audience successfully without it feeling fake. In comparison, take the awful Guinness branded content exercise recently where they forced ‘being with your mates’ on an unsuspecting British public and were subsequently dragged through the streets and beaten with a rubber hose for it. Lesson learned: don’t condescend to your audience by telling them something you think they don’t already know.
It’s refreshing to finally see a brewing force majeure offer a real alternative to the branded lagers we’ve been downing for nearly a generation. Meantime mature their lager for longer, it’s not pasteurised and it just works. A London company being top of its game is also something I’ll definitely raise a glass to with my friends. We’ll also carry on enjoying their beers (responsibly, of course) because nearly all of us have never met a Meantime we didn’t like.