London’s brewing scene has come a long way since Meantime first fired up its coppers back in 2000. With colourful upstarts like Beavertown, Brixton Brewery and Pressure Drop leaning towards unusual styles and experimental flavours, the Greenwich brewery’s line-up of pale ales and porters has slid toward the conservative end of the city’s beer spectrum. Recent ownership re-shuffles (which, as of last week, see Meantime now owned by Japanese beer giant Asahi) certainly haven’t helped.
That could all be about to change with the launch of The Pilot Series – a new run of one-off, limited edition brews sporting some seriously niche flavours.
First onto the taps is Rye-PA – a 6 percent IPA that’s brewed with rye malt, giving the beer a darker colour and a spicier, more complex flavour. Other beers announced so far include Ctrl-Alt – a German-style altbier with a bubblegum aroma and a deep orangey flavour; Feisty Cali Belg – best sipped slowly thanks to bracing prickle of chilli heat; and Sunset – a 9 percent red ale and easily the most unique and moreish of the bunch. After these four, a new beer will follow every two weeks, with any that go down particularly well considered for a second brew.
So, whether you see the Pilot Series as a cynical shot at brand realignment or a genuine commitment to beer innovation, there’s no arguing with the results. Try some for yourself at the Meantime Tasting Rooms in Greenwich, buy some online or make tracks to one of the following pubs:
In the meantime (hah!) check out our pick of London best craft beer pubs.