Between visits to Brighton last weekend and now Essex, we’re quite the jetsetter these days. You may remember Essex from such beery adventures as the rare and very tasty St. Sylvestre 3 Monts Bière de Garde.
This time let’s pack a bottle of something from closer to home, and once again call upon the help of friends in working through this formidably-sized, champagne-corked bottle of one of South East London’s most famous beers, Meantime IPA.
Meantime IPA pours a deep, rich amber colour with a modest dose of white froth. The aroma is initially a somewhat unpromising combination of root vegetables and wallpaper paste, but as it warms and breathes a little things become more fragrant.
This is an exceptionally flavoursome beer, with prominent zesty lime notes and big piney, oily resins from the hops. Indeed there’s a huge amount of bitterness in there, but it’s successfully balanced out by the malting.
I’d say the Meantime IPA seems to strike a really nice balance between the English and American styles of IPA, with the warm, sweet malts of the former combined with the big citrus hops and higher ABV payload of the latter.
Indeed, at 7.4% this is a big, strong beer, but there’s no harsh alcohol burn. Instead there’s just a huge mouthful of chewy flavour and a long, long finish.
Meantime IPA is actually a great beer, and I’m not sure why I don’t drink it more often. I guess the fact that it’s kind of rare to find on tap, or in a sensibly sized bottle, might partly explain it, but it’s definitely one I’ll pick up again.
I’m also slightly curious to find out how this one would age. Whilst the usual advice is to drink a hoppy IPA as soon after bottling as possible, something about the malts in there, and perhaps the champagne cork sat on the top, suggest this one could mature quite intriguingly.
Facts and Figures
|Meantime Brewing Company, Blackwall Lane, London SE10
|India Pale Ales
|Whole Foods, Glasshouse Street, London W1B