Name – India Pale Ale
Brewer – Meantime
Classification – I'll just tactfully refer you back to the beer's name...
Strength – 7.5% ABV
Verdict - At A Glance
On the eye – Bronze. (In Olympic terms it really should be 'Gold', but I have to say what I see...)
On the nose – Deep, sumptuous and punchy malts. Hints of cocoa and treacle.
On the tongue – There's just no way in heck that I could ever reduce this beer into a couple of lines. (Read on..)
On the subject – The Meantime Brewing Co is based in London. Greenwhich, to be precise. And 'being precise' is clearly what these folks like to do. This beer alone should have been named India Precise Ale. Every detail, even down to the sublime bottle-conditioning, suggests a watchmaker's precision.
On the market – Fairly decent, with growing options nationally and globally. The brewery's online shop is more than adequate.
On the whole – 9.5/10
By that, I'm not referring to idiots with grudges, I'm talking about hard shelled, one-seeded fruits which have a certain acerbic tartness on the tongue.
This is what first strikes you about this drink.
The second thing which strikes you about this drink is that it is bewilderingly magnificent, and without doubt one of the greatest beers of our time.
In fact, this beer is so ceaselessly impressive that if it hadn't been served in this giant 750ml bottle – I feel sure I would have wept.
There is a swirling, sinuous richness to the feel of this beer which is utterly mesmerising, and there is an abundance of flavours at play here which borders on scientific impossibility.
The staggering complexity – the sheer variation in every new mouthful – soon begins to feel like the work of some enchantment or spell, a wondrous illusion of dark magic hypnotising the mouth.
Upon deciding to begin listing the individual flavours contained herein – I shook my head in mild despair – so utterly daunting would the task be of properly identifying them all.
Still, I did make a start, for what it's worth...
Honey roasted nuts, boutique Italian dry-cured ham, watercress, coriander, caramel, Dijon mustard, black pepper, granary loaves, cookie dough, Javan coffee, liquorice, limes, fudge, gooseberry, sweetcorn, black cherry pie... I could probably have just gone on and on tumbling them out until the pen ran out or the world ended, whichever came first.
It hides its high alcohol content ruthlessly, like some liquid stealth bomber, and it deceives you into taking repeated, frequent gulps without care.
It looks as good as an ale can look, and it issues forth an aroma far more delicious than an ale has any right to.
There's just nothing to fault about this one – and so very much to praise. It needs to be in that giant bottle, purely in order to prevent beer lovers worldwide from bursting into tears at the prospect of having too little of it to properly savour.
There will doubtless be an equal to this beer somewhere. Maybe even more than one.
But a better beer?
It's almost unthinkable.
I guess I'll leave the 'Perfect 10' slot free... just in case.