Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Meantime College Beer Club Membership - The Perfect Christmas Present

Meantime College Beer Club Website

Meantime are delighted to announce the launch of the College Beer Club ( - the world's most exclusive beer aficionados' club.

Named after the Old Royal Naval College where the club beers are specially brewed on Meantime's Old Brewery brewhouse, the beers will be amongst the rarest in the world and once drunk will be gone forever.

The beers will be brewed as part of Meantime's forensic brewing project, which attempts to recreate and ressurect old recipes, old brewing methods and old ingredients. Innovative new beers and woold aged beers will also be featrued.

Each  month members will receive two individually numbered, corrked and wired, 750ml champagne bottles of that months beers, complete with tasting notes. Mebers get a introductory pack, containing tasting glasses, taste notes folder, beer styles guidebook, and a membership card that uinlocks a full range of member benefits, including a programme of events run with meantime key partners.

The first event will be a private viewing of one of Manet’s last great paintings, the Bar at the Folies-Bergère, 1882. Dr Barnaby Wright, the Courtauld’s Daniel Katz Curator of 20th Century Art, will talk about the painting, while Meantime will provide Club members with refreshment of a similar nature to that in the beer bottles famously featured.

To receive further details and to join the Club visit

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Beer Has Style

The British Guild of Beer Writers annual seminar took place the Meantime's Old Brewery last night. The seminar theme was 'beer styles' and Meantime CEO, Alastair Hook, Beer Academy Supremo, George Philiskirk and the newly appointed London Ale Taster, Steve Williams (pictured), all gave their own, and highly individual, perspectives on the topic.

Alastair argued that the brewing industry needed to learn from the example of the new world wine makers who used grape varietal styles to demystify wine and open a dialogue with the consumer.

George and Steve took a more pragmatic line, focusing rather on the dangers of  the over-rigid application of a burgeoning number of beer styles that threatened to confuse rather than enlighten the consumer.

The Q&A session at the end of the seminar showed that the issue is more contentious than one might initially assume, and  - like most things where beer writers are concerned - there were strongly held opinions both in favour of beer styles being a necessary mechanism to grow the beer market and those who preferred the status quo.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Tanks In - Outing Over

Like a scene from Toy Story 3 the big boys' toys - or brewery vessels as we usually call them  - have arrived at their new home and found found new toys waiting for them, and this time it's all better than before.
Don't they look all shiny and happy after yesterday's traumatic trip down the Woolwich Road?

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Meantime Moving - Bulletin Report

August 10th was another big day in the saga that is the Meantime Move. Today tanks started leaving the building in order to make the move to their new home in the slightly posher suburb of SE10.

A specialist team of riggers was on site early doors to move as many tanks as possible, taking three at a time on their flat bed lorry. As our video shows. they don't hang around. The first wave of 12 tanks have now gone leaving a further 17 to move later in the month, once they have been emptied of beer and the initial tanks have been reinstalled in their new home.

Friday, 23 July 2010

The End Of The Beginning

Many brewers might think that the last brew at a brewery was a sad affair. Not Ben Cash. When he got up this morning - which he does at the ungodly hour of 4 AM - he thought to himself. "This is the last time I will ever brew on this brewhouse. I know, I will put on one of my wife's skirts and dress up like an accident at a PostIt Note factory."

Ben, no doubt is looking forward to brewing at the new all spangly and shiny, easy to keep clean, fully automated, decently lit, warm, dry, dust free, state-of-the-art new brewhouse currently being road tested only a mile and a quarter away, but for some others who have been with Meantime throughout it's turbulent 10 year history July 23rd 2010 will go down as, to employ an old cliche, the end of an era.

We don't know as yet where the old workhorse brewhouse will end up. We do know it has served us well for a decade during which it will have produced close to 5000 brews. Some of these ended up winning medals and others have been enjoyed as far apart as Brazil and Brisbane.

Meantime is moving towards a new stage in its history. Everyone is looking forward to bigger, brighter, more professional, less chaotic future, where it is not freezing in winter and sweltering in summer, but down in the Union on a Friday night there will be plenty of moist-eyed nostalgia, beery reminiscence and fishy tales of brewing at in the old days at Penhall Road.

And why not? After all, it was not one of the world's prettiest breweries, but it did make some of the world's best beers.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Tanks For The Memory

As an unmemorable World Cup fades into the past, life at the Blackwall Lane brewery construction site is now focused, once more, on completion of the largest new brewery investment in London since Guinness built their Park Royal plant in 1933.
Sine our last bulletin more vessels have arrived, including new 200 Hl fermenters and maturation vessels, and a lattice of stainless steel pipe-work continues to snake ever more intricately around the newly painted walls of the brewhouse.

Pipes in a brewery invariably end in valves and given the size of the brewery there are only two methods of managing the large numbers of valves needed. You can either train octopuses to brew, or  - since no textbooks actually recommend this - you can automate the brewhouse.

Accordingly the pipe-work has to be matched by control systems, so a parallel network of cabling is being installed and linked into the computer system that will control the whole brewhouse. The octopuses will therefore be kept purely for backup purposes.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Taking The Eye Off Football

The Guardian newspaper's online section wanted to run a piece on the World Cup and the beer being drunk by football fans before the competition closed.

They thought that given the majority of the beer drunk during the tournament was fizzy industrial rubbish they wanted to feature something that wasn’t. So they came to Meantime and produced a very intelligent piece.

It seems like they forgot something though. Apart from the introduction, how many references to the World Cup can you count?

Friday, 25 June 2010

Will World Cup Derail Meantime Brewery Fitout?

Worried directors of the Meantime Brewing Company headed down to the new Blackwall Lane site recently to assess the situation when the World Cup threw up the worst of all possible fixtures for the company. The England-Germany clash on June 27th.

The brewhouse vessels are now in, and two teams of welders - 8 Britons and 8 Germans- are working away feverishly between fixtures to weld and fit no less than 10 miles of stainless steel pipe work that are needed to connect all the vessels in this fully automated brewery.

So far rivalries have been fairly friendly with health and safety compliant fire resistant national flags indicating the areas of strict demarcation between the various working areas. Competition between the teams so far has been confined to the two camps respective radio station choices.

The Meantime board are concerned that all this could change on June27th. Meantime Brewmaster, Alastair Hook, explains the company dilemma. "If England win we get our beer mains, gas and steam working in time for the commissioning date of 12th July. If Germany win we will get the brewhouse up and running, but naturally neither will work without the other. The best result for Meantime and its thirsty customers would be a match postponement until the end of July’."

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Tight Squeeze No. 2

Meantime Brewing Lauter Tun Install from Meantime Brewing on Vimeo.

Having had a tight vertical squeeze with our hot liquor tank on June 3rd, the following day we opted for a tight horizontal squeeze with the lauter tun.

Everyone was worrying about making sure that the mammoth 4.5 metre diameter brew vessel did not hit the walls, that they forgot that it also shouldn't hit the floor.

Meantime Team Time

Now that Meantime's new brewery in SE10 is starting to take shape we thought it was time that the staff from our old premises at Penhall Road, came for a bit of an advance preview, which took place on Monday 7th June. The new vessels were closely inspected and pronounced very exciting. The Meantime team left greatly fired up and looking eagerly to the day in the next few months when they can move into their new offices next to the shiny new brewhouse.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Meantime Get Into A Tight Scrape

There was a tight moment at Meantime Brewing's new premises on June 3rd when the largest vessel in the new brewhouse was hoist into position. At 250hl ( 25,000 litres or 42,000 pints)  the tank was only two inches clear of the brewery ceiling, so it was touch and go if it would sit on its plinth. It did.

Most of the remainer of the brewery vessels are being lifted into position this week, and then there follows six weeks of electrical and pipework to ensure that Britain's newest brewery is ready to go at the touch of a button.

Meantime Brewmaster Alastair Hook, stands atop the new 4.5m diameter Lauter tun, prior to its installation (left) and inspects the platform where the new lauter tun will sit.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Meantime's New Brewery En Route

Excitement mounts at Meantime upon receipt of a set of photos of our new brewhouse leaving it's Bavarian birthpace of Chieming for its new Greenwich home. Two lorries and a low-loader set off on May 31st and are due to arrive at Blackwall Lane on Thursday this week. Low-loaders with the larger brewhouse vessels will follow (pictures to follow) and a futher lorry with the nuts and bolts will depart later in the week.

The new brewery floor is finishing it's curing process and the last of the tiles are being laid in order to be ready to receive the new vessels.

More news soon.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Foot on the Floor

Work proceeds at breakneck speed at Meantime's new brewery site. Our new drains and load bearing floors are now in and curing ahead of the tiles being laid and the brewery itself arrving in three weeks.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Flawless Floors and Perfect Pipes

Our pictures show work on Meantime's new brewery progressing apace in both Blackwall Lane and Bavaria.

It is traditional in British breweries for floors to be somewhat uneven and the drain is usually located at the highest point in the room in order to provide work for a man with a squeegee. At Meantime we are determined to break with convention. Our drains will be at the lowest point on the floors which - and here is another revolutionary bit - will be designed to carry the loads that will end up on them.

The drains are now in, concrete is now being poured ( 4 Concrete trucks a day for the next two weeks). Tiles will start to be laid in a week.

Meanwhile in Southern Bavaria craftsmen at Rolec are labouring away on the new Meantime brewhouse to ensure that the kit arrives in London on schedule in three weeks time.

More news as it happens.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Make a Meantime Mayor

Do you want to be the Mayor of Meantime?
If so Check In to the Old Brewery on Foursquare?

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Meantime at British Food Week

Meantime were delighted to be approached by famous London fish dealers, Chamberlains, to be their preferred partner for British Food Week. All week until St George's Day the Chamberlains' team will be outside their premises in Leadenhall Market offering up their famous fish and chips, washed down with Meantime.

If you can't get there beforehand, make sure you drop by on Friday to sample the St George's Day special. "For Cod, Harry and St George!"

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Boris Says Beer

London Mayor, Boris Johnson, officially opened the new Discover Greenwich centre yesterday and with it Meantime's new bar-brewery, the Old Brewery.

In an uplifting and characteristically Borisian speech, he proclaimed Greenwich his favourite place to take his family in all London. He went on to conclude that the lesson that he had learned from looking around the exhibition space was that Britain owed its maritime prowess, not to the discovery of the sextant, not to Henry VIII's foundation of the navy, not even to Greenwich's lucky situation on the Prime Meridian. It was, he said, entirely down to beer. Consequently it was hugely fortuitous that a brewery had been laid on as part of Disvover Greenwich to enable visitors to celebrate this incredible fact.

So saying he then departed to pour an official mayoral pint of London Pale Ale in the Old Brewery bar, before being shown the new brewing plant by Meantime founder and brewmaster, Alastair Hook.
The culmination of a 15 months gestation, the Old Brewery, is Meantime's flagship venue, expressly designed to remind Londoners and tourists alike that London was once the 'brewing capital of the world', and that London's beers not only travelled around the globe but shaped the face of brewing the world over.

This is made plain in the very fabric of the building, with the three story brewery against the north wall being flanked by a timeline detailing the history of brewing in London.

In addition to its regular houise beers - Hospital Porter and Kellerbier - the The Old Brewery will be home to the College Beer Club, a fixed membership connoisseurs' club dedicated to 'forensic brewing' in order to resurrect extinct beer styles, rediscover lost brewing techniques and recreate beers made with long forgotten ingredients.

If you would like to register your interest in becoming a member of the College Beer Club please email

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Old Brewery Fires Up After 140 years

Meantime Brewmaster Alastair Hook (right) and Old Brewery brewer, Rod Jones have had a busy few days of late firing up the copper in our new brewhouse at the Old Brewery, Greenwich, to make sure we have beer for our grand opening on March 22nd.

It's been a fun but fraught time as they familiarise themselves with the brand new equipment, which is literally bristling with valves which (if left in the wrong position) can easily leave the unwary brewer wondering why the copper is empying while his wellies are filling up.

First beer brewed on February 27th was our Old Brewery 'house beer' Meantime Kellerbier. At 4.6% ABV this traditional Franconian style is completes its maturastion in the cellar from the vessel from which it is served. The same would have been true of the original brews produced on the site between 1717 and 1860 when the site was occupied by the brewhouse of the Royal Hospital for Sailors.

The first brew was a low key affair as there was a rather greater need to concentrate on getting it right than there was on celebrating the return of brewing to this historic London setting after a break of 140 years. Fear not, however. There will be celebrating aplenty once the new brew is declared ready to drink.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Meantime Informs the Financial Markets

Financial guru's  looking  for the hottest industry analysis got words of wisdom from Meantime last week when Bloomberg sent their cameras down to Greenwich for a news feature on the strength of the micro sector.
Follow this link to hear the thoughts of the Brewmaster and some of our regular customers too.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Meantime Masterclasses

Training is a big part of what we do at Meantime. It's all part of our mission to communicate beer knowledge to as wide an audience as possible.

Our new Old Brewery premises at the Royal Naval College provide us with an ideal opportunity to broaden our beer education activities to as wide an audience as possible.

Consequently we are launching a new 'Beer Appreciation Masterclass' in association with Greenwich Community College.

This one day course is designed to give you a broad understanding of the methodology of brewing and the major beer styles of the world, as well as in depth background into the historical, social and culinary context of beer in the UK.
The course will include a tour of our new brewery as well as a special beer and food matching lunch, all under the direction of one of our qualified brewers.

The first course is set to run on April 16th 2010, and full details of fees and enrolment can be found on the Greenwich Community College website.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Awning Spawning

One of Meantime's favourite customers, the Beehive off Baker St, London W1, got a bit of a make over yesterday, with the fitting of the first ever Meantime branded awning.

The Beehive, owned by legendary restrateur, Claudio Pulze, sells astonishing quantities of Meantime beers, so it was only fitting that the Crawford St fine dining pub was the recipient of the first example of a new direction in Meantime's marketing support.

Our handsome new awning will prevent Meantime beer waming too rapidly when it's sunny, or becoming diluted when it's wet.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Piping Hot Piping

Work is proceeding apace at the Old Brewery. Two weeks ago our brewing plant was delivered. Last week it was hoist into place on its supporting gantry. This week the stainless steel welders are connecting it all together, and the plan is that by Friday if you put water in the tank at the top, you won't get water on the floor at the bottom.

Slowly but surely the brewery space is starting to take shape, but the pressure is still on the retail team. The invites for the big opening have been sent out and the RSVPs are coming back, and there is still a lot of work to be done. The hare, in other words, is running.

It's not just a question of what you can see either. There is a lot of pieces of kit that are out of sight. Key amongst these are the cellar tanks which will dispense our draught beers up to the bar. These operate on a compressed air system allowing beer to be dispensed without the use of extraneous CO2.

Friday, 29 January 2010

An Aged Beer For An Old Brewery

Our picture shows Senior Brewer, Silas Gyamfi (right) and Production Brewer Lee Cash hoping to get the 'Angels' Dram' after racking the first beer intended for Meantime's new brewery, helpfully called the Old Brewery (see Wednesday, 27 January 2010).

With the clock ticking on the opening of the Old Brewery, and the usual chaos that surrounds the opening of a Brewpub/bar, the cunning plan was to get the signature beers ready somewhere else, i.e at our main brewery. The problem of oak ageing is that it takes, er, forever. The cellars at the ‘Old Brewery’ came in to our possession on the 4th Jan, so, quiet simply this beer is a 'dish we prepared earlier'. Today we racked seven 200 litre casks of Strong London Porter into a dispense tank for conditioning and blending with young porter, as was in done in the old days. The trick is to get the blend right in the dispense tank. Basically the Old Strong Porter (aged for 12 months) is blended with a younger, lighter version which softens the ‘smokiness’ and enlivens the beer. The resulting 8.0% ABV beer will be known as Hospital Porter, as a reminder of the fact that the original 1717 brewhouse on the site was there to make the beer for the pensioned sailors of the Royal Naval Hospital.

The old beer is tea-flat but full of leathery,coffee and chocolate like smoothness and complexity. It is also strong on ‘smoke’, (what brewers call 'phenolic'), a product of the peated whisky that permeated the oak over ten years of silence on the island of Islay in North West Scotland, before the casks found a new home at the other end of the country. From here on the beer will bottle condition and mature further with age. It will debut on the 22nd March at the Old Brewery.
Alastair Hook

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

The Old Brewery's New Brewery

There was much excitement at Meantime on Monday (January 25th) when new brewing plant arrived from Italy, ready for installation in our forthcoming bar /restaurant/ brewery at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich.

The new plant, built by Italian fabricators Velo, will be installed in the Old Brewery, part of the £6m Discover Greenwich refurbishment of the visitor facilities for the Greenwich World Heritage Site.

Brewhouse arriving from Italy

The brewery, which will be opened by London Mayor, Boris Johnson, on March 22nd, is located on the site of the original 1717 brewhouse, built to supply the pensioners of the Royal Naval Hospital, and the bar area will occupy the existing brewery building, built in 1836.

Meantime will be brewing an extensive and eclectic range of beers on this new 10Hl plant. It will produce new innovative experimental beers as well as recreating historic brews and researching old brewing techniques. The brewery will also be the source of beer for Meantime's new College Beer Club, an exclusive, capped membership beer aficionados' club, whose members will receive regular limited edition quantities of these possibly never to be repeated beers. The Old Brewery will, in effect, be the clubhouse. Anyone interested in CBC membership should send a email to.

The Old Brewery, Greenwich, is only the second brewery to be found on a UNESCO World Heritage Site. he other is the Eggenberg Brewery in the historic centre of the Czech town of   Český Krumlov.