Wednesday, January 11, 2006


No Mean Time

At the rather pompous-sounding address of Royal Hill you will find The Greenwich Union at no 56. It is one of two pubs of the Meantime microbrewery in Greenwich- the other being the recently opened Brew Wharf near the Borough Market. With around ten different Meantime brews on draught, and a similar range of imported quality beers on bottle it is surely an attraction for a beer tourist to London.

Not that Greenwich needs another attraction- it is already packed with some really magnificent architecture, including the National Maritime Museum, the Queen's House, and of course the "home" of the prime meridian, the Old Royal Observatory, making it a top spot on any tourist's list.

But if you get tired of all the grandeur, you can always head for a Meantime; the Greenwich Union is open from 11 am on weekdays and from 10 am on weekends. It looks rather ordinary from the outside, not much different from the Young's pub next door, but inside the bar extends into a nice, contemporary winter garden. Cool Britannia rules even on Royal Hill.

What better place to enjoy a Meantime India Pale Ale, this strong and hoppy beer designed to survive the crossing of the earth's other mid line, the equator, twice and still keep up the spirits of Her Majesty's troops a good century or two ago. With its robust 7.5% ABV, the Meantime India Pale Ale is probably more in line with the brews shipped in the heyday of the British Empire than the weak IPAs finding their way out of most English breweries these days.

The colour is hazy golden, almost peachy, under a decent white head. The aroma is pronounced citrussy. The flavour is quite bitter, though with an underlying malty sweetness. Lots of grapefruit and with a good body this IPA is refreshing and with a lot of character.

The winds may have changed, but there is still no reason for having a mean time in Greenwich.

Thank you for useful info. I will surely visit Brew Wharf the enxt time I'm in town. A welcome addition to the Thamesside crawl, and with so many ales available, I may not get further!
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