Name – London Porter
Brewer – Meantime
Classification – Porter (Stop sniggering! What else could I put?)
Strength – 6.5% ABV
Verdict - At A Glance
On the eye – Darkest brown meets darkest pink on an utterly blind date.
On the nose – Sumptuous, yet understated dark berries, ruby port and licorice.
On the tongue – A delightfully fruity, smoky, and generally wonderful 'authentic' porter.
On the subject – Meantime are on the march. They've recently hired a new CEO in the shape of Nick Miller, a former managing director for global players SABMiller. This move can safely be interpreted as a statement of intent. Expect growth. Lots of.
On the market – Pretty decent national availability, and set to increase rapidly for the above reason. Online options include Cave Direct.
On the whole – 8.5/10
On the whole – 8.5/10
I've yet to begin a review in that way, and for various reasons I had intended never to do so.
Chief among those reasons is the fact that – as opening lines go – it's fairly rubbish. But having tried for a good while to talk myself out of it, the reality is that writing the word delicious was the most representative way of summing up how I felt.
I mean, being delicious is what this beer does, so why not say so?
Smoky, smooth, packed with dark berries and soft spices, this is a marvel of a dark beer experience. Further flavours include delicate high citrus notes, black treacle and soft cinnamon – and it's all held together by a remarkably elegant cocoa/licorice central theme.
I did panic during the pour after realising that this 75cl giant comes bottle-conditioned. Anyone can tell you that these beers need to be poured in 'one smooth action', but few glasses in my collection have quite the space for a full wine bottle sized portion.
Simple mathematics therefore dictate that no amount of careful pouring is going to prevent the inevitable 'disturbance' of this sediment, and I was fully expecting to awaken yet another 'yeast beast'.
But then I remembered that this was a Meantime beer. Of all the companies currently bottle-conditioning their ales, this London company are right up there with the very best in terms of execution. Their equally-enormous 'IPA' has already demonstrated this to me in considerable style.
Any sediment in these bottles is fine and powdery, it's in very modest amounts, and it consequently remains largely unseen and unproblematic. All the yeast succeeds in doing is adding to the 'condition' of the beer (exactly as required) without ever upstaging the drink experience. I was able to sit both of these large bottles back down and re-pour with no noticeable ill-effects. Try doing that with most other bottle-conditioned beers on the market!
(Actually, please don't try doing that. If only for the beer's sake.)
Meantime can do no wrong in my eyes. Today's beer is merely another beautifully brewed, beautifully presented product on their hugely impressive list.
Rather oddly, this drink kept bringing to mind the traditional Tuscan aperitif 'char-grilled cherry bread' which, as far as I'm aware – doesn't actually exist.
This beer made me wish it did exist, because I suspect it would be pretty damn delicious.
Yeah, that's right, you heard me...