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?