I was really quite disappointed with Meantime's India Pale Ale when I tried it last year. Still, I've been roaring through their amazing London Pale Ale ever since, and they're a brewery of considerable repute, so there was no hesitation when a bottle of Meantime London Porter crossed my path recently.
Like the IPA it's an historical recreation, conditioned in a corked 75cl bottle, and weighing in at a respectably hefty 6.5% ABV. The colour is a gorgeous dark ruby which just catches the light, and is topped with a long-lasting creamy head. There's a touch of roastiness on the nose, but it's not until the first taste that the action starts. My first reaction is digestive biscuits: slightly sweet yet slightly salty baked graininess. But the flavour continues, hitting milk chocolate notes as well as mellow dryer roastedness. It's really quite a wonderful experience, with nothing metallic, phenolic, or otherwise off at all. The smoothness of the carbonation carries it all along beautifully. This beer is a definite hands-down world classic.
I'm heading back to London in early December, for the annual round of work things that happily coincide with Pig's Ear in Hackney. I'm determined to get some other beery stuff done too this time, and was thinking of heading eastwards to Greenwich. Anyone know if Meantime opens for visits?
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