A balmy Tuesday night in Greenwich. I'm at Stage 2 of Man-Flu as I plod along Royal Hill for an evening with Rod Jones of Meantime. The brewery is launching their 2013 iteration of Friesian Pilsener, and I've been invited to go along and try some.
There's already a small gathering waiting as I walk in. Rod is at the bar while the staff pours several pints of the golden-hued beer. I note the collective youth of the assembled scribblage (scribblage = a gathering of beer reporters). I don't feel old. That only happens at Brewdog bars, but Rod and I are giving a good few years away to the rest of the group.
Rod is an engaging compere, quickly taking us through the creation of the pilsner style, and the variations that grew up in other parts of northern Europe. He's knowledgeable on the culture of Frisia, the region that straddles the Netherlands and parts of NW Germany, which is the inspiration for this beer.
As Rod takes us along, we're sipping the beer and nibbling on a very nice buffet, provided by the Greenwich Union. My olfactory sense is badly impaired so I'm having real trouble getting the nose of this beer, but here's the Boggle Impression.
A pale soft gold with a creamy head, there's very little sweetness. Instead, the beer is dry and quite pleasingly bitter. That long dry finish clears and refreshes the palate and, for me, makes the beer very drinkable. I was tempted to draw comparisons with the Dortmunder style, and actually would like to see Meantime take that style on in the future.
As I write I don't have my notes in front of me, but it's a couple of additions of Tettnanger late on for aroma. I can't remember what was used for bittering. Maybe I'll add that info later.
Lager is being rehabilitated because our newer brewers are producing excellent versions created with care and respect. This beer spent 5-6 weeks lagering before being racked. Brodies has been producing their excellent London Lager, 6 weeks in the tank, a different beast to this beer, but complex and drinkable. Magic Rock Bearded Lady, Camden Town Hells... this stuff is getting out there, changing drinkers' minds about the style.
I still haven't tried Meantime Brewery Fresh. Rod says they're trying to put it into the Union, so something to keep an eye out for.
Thanks to Meantime for the evening of beer talk, and the grub and beer.