I don’t know what this says about me but I’ve done a sizeable number of brewery tours during my precious time so far on planet earth. Nearly half of those tours were …pretty terrible. Long, boring, freezing cold and a distinct lack of free booze. An alcohol-free brewery tour. It’s offensive. So, signing ourselves up to do the Meantime Brewery tour in Greenwich didn’t set me on fire with excitement. Sure, I could learn about how beer’s made – again. I can wander around their tin foil village of vats and drums – again.
So along we went.
Let me start this rundown of the Meantime Brewery tour by telling you that, despite all of the above, this tour was, hands down, pints down, pants down, the best god damn brewery tour I’ve ever been on and I knew I’d be writing that after the five minute introduction we had …about health and safety.
Look, you weren’t there man, you don’t know.
The ingredient which made this tour particularly strong and hoppy was a powerhouse of an addition called Jethro. Jethro was a young jack-the-lad-type dude who represented the Meantime brand in every way it should be represented. He was well-versed in all things beer, he was in control of what was essentially a large group of boozy beer-lovers and, most importantly, he was hilarious.
The terrible tours I’d mentioned before involved stumbling around industrial equipment in the freezing cold for ages, to the point where you don’t give a squat about grain anymore, you just want some godforsaken beer. Then, there was Meantime Brewery.
You start the tour in their tasting rooms with five different beers to drink: Music. Ears. The beers weren’t full pints, but were big enough so that by the third glass, we were having a lovely time. Then, whilst you’re sampling, Jethro talks to you. Everything he had to say was really, really funny. At one point I actually had laughter tears – though that might have been to do with the ongoing beer samples.
Laughter beers, more like.
It was highly engaging and super-interesting, with about a million amazing beer facts. I stashed everything away in my pub quiz brain log. Five drinks later and a nibble on some grains, we were leaving the room to walk around the brewery. To my utter shock, we’d been in there for about 75 minutes, being talked at. It was the quickest, most enjoyable 75 minute speech I’d ever endured – in fact, it kind of felt like Tom and I were with a mate, in the pub, being told a really funny story over a few beers. I guess that’s what they’re going for.
It was his job to represent what has become one of London’s most loved breweries to a group of strangers and he smashed it. Fortunately, he wasn’t the only one who was smashed. We walked around the brewery, saw the big silver vats, learnt more amazing things, then went off into the night to drink more Meantime brew – not before buying a souvenir magnet from the gift shop though. It’s a seriously hard brewery tour to beat and, until we find a better one, we’re saluting Meantime’s tour as BEST BREWERY TOUR EVER. Cheers!