Name: Meantime London Lager
Bottled/ Draft: Bottled
Colour: Pale gold
Head: Bubbly but with a short lived head.
Mouthfeel: Lots of bubbles, but not horribly fizzy.
Taste: A tasty lager, with a little more malt, plenty more hops and overall more *flavour* to it than the big names.
Comment: Meantime are one of the leading lights of the lively London brewing scene, having been one of the first of the "new" breweries to open, just over a decade ago. They've been picking up awards and accolades for their beers ever since. A lot of their range has a distinctly European taste but they are very keen to underline their roots, so London Lager joins the London Porter, Stout and Pale Ales in their range.
Don't let the lager in the name put you off; this isn't the insipid, fizzy water lager of the big brands. This is a proper beer that lets the flavour of the ingredients shine through and wears it's European heritage with pride.
As I usually drink my beer at cupboard temperature (our larder manages to sit at a low to mid teens temperature almost regardless of the changing of the seasons, which is handy), my first taste of London Lager was not in the traditional 'chilled' lager style. It has the normal lager fizz, but not negatively so (it is, after all, a lager!); it has a distinct if gentle malt, and a distinct hoppy bitter end that adds a pleasant complexity that is rather less normal.
To give it a more 'lagery' tasting, I also stored a bottle in the fridge. Drunk cold, the malt is more subtle but still there, and the fruity, almost grapefruit hoppiness is still in evidence. It's as refreshing as a cold lager should be, but there's something more to it than you'd expect from more mainstream offerings.
I'm not a complete real ale snob - I usually have a box or two of lager lurking around (Tusker and Asahi at the moment, if I'm not mistaken) because not every night is a real ale night. I'll be happy to add a box of London Lager to the shopping list too.
Name: Meantime Coffee Porter
Bottled/ Draft: Bottled
Colour: Dark, but more of a ruby ale than a porter in look.
Head: VERY lively (it literally exploded out of the bottle); pours with a big head, settles down (once you've cleaned up the kitchen from opening it) to a fine, thin but lingering head.
Mouthfeel: On the light side for a porter, a little harshness of bubble, surprisingly.
Taste: A strong tasting ale, with definite coffee undertones.
Comment: A curious beer this; on the one hand it delivers exactly what I'd expect; a robust, strong tasting ale, deep dark malts and a perfectly balanced coffee tang. On the other hand, I'm not sure this is really dark enough to be a porter. It's a delicious beer, it's just not quite what I was expecting from the label.
Interestingly, it appears from their website that Meantime agree with me, as this now appears to be listed as simply "Coffee Beer"