Wednesday, 13 February 2013
B is for Brewery
And we're back with the second instalment of our dating A-Z!
Last time, Frank and I kicked off the alphabet of quirky dates with Archipelago, an exotic restaurant deep in the heart of London.
While negotiating our strategy for 'b', it became apparent that anything involving beer (Frank likes his beer) would be a bonus, so we booked ourselves up for a tour of Meantime Brewing in Greenwich.
What's it about?
Meantime is a wicked little brewery in South East London, boasting the widest range of beers brewed in the UK. On one of their tours, you're treated to tastings of six beers, a tour of the brewery and an overview of the brewery's history and the process of brewing itself.
What we went for
As my mouse hovered over the booking button for the 'classic tour', I noticed something. Pie and pint night. Yup. If there was pie involved, that's what we'd be doing.
Sally - I like ale, but I'm not a die-hard fan. I anticipated a male:female ratio of 99:1, lots of testosterone, grunting and the general smelliness of being surrounded by boys. If I'm honest, I didn't hold out much hope for an awesome night, but I was curious enough to give it a go.
Frank - I’m a big ale fan, but this was to be my first brewery tour (as well as my birthday present from Sally), so I was really looking forward to having a mooch around, learning a bit about how beer is produced, and above all, enjoying some free pints!
Sally - as we walked tentatively into the brewery bar, we heard the booming cockney voice of our host, Alex, before we saw him - a giant of a man complete with skinhead, impressive facial hair and 'Londoner' emblazoned on his chest. Having welcomed Frank by putting him in a headlock and vigorously rubbing his head, I knew we were in for a ride....
Frank - A warm and friendly welcome from the staff on reception was a good start. And then Alex appeared. A human whirlwind, and the cockneyest cockney I’ve ever met. Forget the term ‘big personality’. If personalities were vehicles, then Alex would be a cross between a tank, the QE2, and a Boeing 747.
Sally - India Pale Ale. I'm not a fan of the bitterness of some of the deeper, stronger beers, so this beer was a winner for me. I also really enjoyed wandering around the brewery and learning all about the history. Alex sweated passion from every pore. My favourite moment was when he clutched his belly and yelled "I love beer. This is my trophy cabinet. There's no mortgage on this bad boy. It's all bought and paid for". Genius.
Frank - Alex stole the show. His enthusiasm for what Meantime does is infectious. But there is also no doubt that their beer is absolutely top-notch. From the several beers we were allowed to try, the Yakima Red and India Pale Ale (weighing in at an impressive 7.4%) were my two favourites, and I’ll be buying a few bottles of them to enjoy at home.
Happily go without
Sally - the walk from Maze Hill station in the rain. That was a bit rubbish, but I had no complaints about the tour itself. It was ace from start to finish.
Frank - We had food included on our ticket, and it was perfectly fine, but I don’t think it quite justified the level of added expense. Paying a lot less for a non-food ticket (which is what most people did) represents better value. But I’m nitpicking a bit there to be honest.
It makes me want to…
Sally - tell the difference between different kinds of beer without looking like a complete ninny. While everyone else commented on the aromas and palate, I just thought to myself "yup, it's beer".
Frank - Join Alex for a night on the beer (Meantime beer, obviously) in his local (the Union in Greenwich). Something tells me he’s quite experienced at that sort of thing.
In a nutshell
Sally - we had a brilliant time at Meantime, helped by the fact that Alex was an absolute legend that had us in stitches. We didn't feel lectured at, and it was great having someone so passionate letting us know the score. I was impressed by the cleanliness at Meantime, and the pie at the end was to die for. I would definitely come again and have been recommending it to all my friends.
Frank - A fantastic evening that I’d recommend to anyone who fancies trying some beautiful, flavoursome beer, and finding out a bit about how it’s made. And even if that doesn’t float your boat, an evening in Alex’s company is worth the entrance money alone!
Win or fail?
Sally - 4/5 only somewhat downgraded because I'm not a beer fanatic, but I really had an amazing time and learnt a lot. Plus I hear they do a ribs night...
Frank - 5/5. Great beer + an ale anorak with a sense of humour and an unbridled passion and knowledge for his subject = MASSIVE WIN
Other options we considered
Bee-keeping, burlesque or bubble tea.
And speaking of dates, have you got plans for Valentine's Day tomorrow?
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