There’s very little pressure like getting into a new relationship and having to celebrate your new bloke’s birthday a few weeks in. You can plump for a generic meal out to celebrate or take a wild stab in the dark at planning something a bit more interesting. And that’s how I ended up booking a tour around Meantime’s brewery in Greenwich. Referencing early Bumble conversations about craft beer and a first date that saw us supping pints of, well, everything, I was pretty sure I was on to a winner.
The tour prides itself on the fact that it is very much a tasting experience, with 80% of the time spent actually sampling the beer, followed by being shown around the brewery’s equipment. Voted second best brewery tour in the world, I was excited to see what lay in store and we took our seats in a room that is essentially a museum of beer. Beer bottles from all different time periods and countries filled shelves from floor to ceiling, with the bar prepped and ready to serve at the side of the room.
Our guide was Tom, a young Yorkshire guy who was hilariously suffering post-St Patrick’s Day but still brilliantly enthusiastic, regardless. He took us through the Meantime portfolio, giving the history not only of the brand but of the types of beers, all whilst throwing in facts and wonderfully inappropriate jokes along the way. A free pint was even thrown our way when he found out we were celebrating a birthday.
After 90 minutes of pretty consistent drinking, we were very merry and then entrusted to walk around the big, expensive brewing equipment. Don’t worry, we wore safety goggles! I wish I could tell you more about the process, but science isn’t my forté and as long as it all works well enough to keep brewing up delicious pints, I’m on board.
We wrapped up the tour with a final pint of my favourite, the Yakima Red, and a massive plate of chicken wings in order to help soak up sum of the booze. The bar is open to the public, even if you’re not booked in for a tour, and all the limited edition brews are available so it’s well worth the trek. The tour was educational without being pretentious and ultimately does what a lot of brewery tours don’t: they get you drinking the products! We had such a fun time, and as surprises go, I’m reliably informed that I did an awesome job!
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