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.