Nope, you haven’t read this post before. On August bank holiday weekend Meantime held yet another Brewfest at the Old Brewery, situated in the grounds of the Old Naval College, Greenwich.
My experience of Brewfest earlier in the year had been a mixed bag of feelings, namely to do with the price. Once again, tickets were £20 and this included one of their Aspen glasses, 6 1/3 pint tokens and a programme.
The surroundings of the Old Brewery are beautiful, there’s no denying that, and on a summer’s day there’s nothing nicer than sitting on the grass, watching the boats go by and sipping a cold pint (or a third of one anyway).
There were a great selection of beers on the go and it was a struggle to make a decision. I won’t review all of them here, but there were a few that stood out for good and bad reasons.
I wanted to make sure I grabbed a Meantime special while I was there. Unfortunately they only had one, which was a bit disappointing. Surely if a brewery holds its own beer festival they might want to have a few exciting numbers on tap? (Basically I’m just bitter that they don’t have any more Californian.) Anyway, I plumped for the one available…
Meantime and Chase Distillery’s Botanical (5.7%)
“Wow, this smells like bread pudding batter!” I exclaimed at first sniff. “Yes” said the man next to me “and cinnamon and gingerbread too”. So yes, this is the sort of beer that gets you talking to strangers as you try and work out the complex aroma. Clean, crisp and nicely carbonated, it was just a little too herbal for me. Nice to sniff, but not to sup. Can see G&T or vodka and lime drinkers enjoying this though.
Founders Brewing Company’s Founders Porter (6.5%)
Beautifully dark and smooth, but with the texture of a milk stout. Coffee beans and silky smooth chocolate come through strongly while still remaining mild and drinkable. This tastes nothing like its 6.5% label.
Brooklyn Brewery’s Brooklyn Blast! (8.4%)
A warming alcohol heat hits you as it runs down your throat, but it also manages to retain a balance of citrusy bitterness and sugary sweetness. A thumbs up for this bad boy, but you couldn’t put too much away.
Siren Brewery’s Soundwave (5.6%)
Siren are right at the top of my list right now. They have some proper crackers and this is one of them. Absolutely packed with mango (I’m obsessed with the stuff so was instantly hooked), it’s fresh, fruity and with a faint grapefruit bitterness to it. As I wrote in my tasting notes: SO GOOD. Stand out beer of the day and I can’t wait to drink it again.
I also had a lovely Rodenbach Grand Cru and the only tasting note I have is a huge heart that I drew across the page. Pure quality and I can’t get enough of the stuff.
We had a great time; the staff there are always excellent, the music varied and the surroundings beautiful, but, once again, I felt that £20 for a glass, 2 pints and a programme was rather a lot. Not only that, but I’m going to have to dedicate a cupboard in my kitchen to Meantime glasses at this rate! Perhaps in future there could be different ticket levels? I’d certainly forego a glass if some food or more beer tokens were included; particularly as punters aren’t allowed to use the glasses during the festival anyway.
Good job, Meantime, but I’m a tough customer.