Back in 2011 and 2012 I reviewed a couple of Porters from London’s ‘Meantime’ brewery for The Brewclub.
Meantime, you might recall, are based in Greenwich, in the south-east of London, just a few hundred yards from the Greenwich meridian, from which ‘Greenwich Meantime’ and all global time zones are calculated. I was fortunate enough to enjoy a tour of the new brewery in the summer of 2011 and have been pleased to witness ‘Meantime’ taps appearing in London bars.
London Pale seeks to replicate the tradition of 18th Century pale ales, London Pale Ales were the basis from which India Pale Ales derived, and we know where that all ended. These pale ales proved so popular that brewers were forced to import hops from the United States to meet demand for those new, hop heavy, pale ales.
London Pale pours a rich, golden colour, with a pure white head that clings to the side of the glass as it slowly fades.
The nose is subtle, hints of pears, peaches and honey rather than ‘in your face’ citrus. That’ll be the blend of American Cascade and Centennial hops, with Kentish Golding hops for balance.
Meantime’s brewmaster – Alastair Hook – learned his craft at the Heriot-Watt School of Brewing and Distilling in Edinburgh, then at the Weihenstephan Brewing School in Bavaria, so he knows a bit about balance.
The flavour, well it’s another of those well-balanced new/old school blends. The peaches and honey are underscored with toffee and bread, a most pleasing balance. It’s refreshing, but not overly ‘hoppy’; as such, and at a ‘sensible’ 4.3% ABV it would make an excellent ‘session’ beer, and somehow more ‘honest’ than some of the beers I’ve tasted recently that were designed to be ‘session IPAs’.
I followed this – for comparison purposes of course – with a bottle of Thornbridge AM:PM. And while the Thornbridge was crisper and hoppier, I think the London Pale would make for a more satisfying session.
As such I’m going to give Meantime London Pale four Brewclub stars.