Move over wine, craft beer is enjoying its time in the limelight as the discerning drink of Londoners. Here’s how to become a hops aficionado…
WORDS: VICTORIA PURCELL
Shakespeare didn’t like beer, he was more of an ale man. That’s because, back in the day, ale wasn’t hopped, and beer was, and Will probably found it a bit ‘crisp’. Discover dinner-party trivia like this and more, as well as why beer is embedded in our culture as far back as ancient civilisations, with The Knowledge masterclass at Meantime Brewery in Greenwich.
No, this isn’t a course for aspiring black cab drivers, it’s part of Meantime’s series of masterclasses aimed at anyone with an interest in brewing. Sure, you’ve supped all the craft beers that London can throw at you, but how much do you really know about the grains, the yeast and the hops that have combined to create that gorgeous amber glow in your glass? How on earth do you ferment barley? You have enough vocabulary to get through a wine tasting, but what sort of musings should you be making about the IPA you’re drinking?
Devised by Meantime Founder and Master Brewer Alastair Hook alongside Beer Sommelier of the Year Rod Jones, The Knowledge is a comprehensive foundation in the professional production of modern craft beer.
‘Meantime has been at the forefront of the modern craft beer movement in the UK since we commenced brewing in early 2000,’ says Alastair. ‘Now, 15 years on,’ he continues, ‘we are one of the oldest and biggest craft brewers in the country and have spent a huge amount of time perfecting our knowledge of how to brew great beer. The masterclasses offer an informative, accessible and fun way for beer aficionados to expand their horizons, so that their experience and appreciation of the world’s greatest drink is even more pleasurable.’
The masterclasses offer a detailed insight into the theory of brewing the Meantime way
The classes range from beginner through to advanced, with additional evening classes covering an array of topics including How to Taste Beer, London’s Beer History, How Beer is Made, plus the fun, informal Beer and Cheese Matching course.
Rod, who leads The Knowledge, is a man who sure knows his beer. In a one-day masterclass (£90), he’ll put you through your paces on the various types of barley used to make Meantime’s brews, how to malt the grain, the mashing process, the science of taste and beer evaluation. You’ll also get to take a tour of the brewery, and test out your tasting abilities with Meantime’s range of brews that include London Lager, London Pale Ale, Yakima Red, Pilsner, IPA, Chocolate Porter, Wheat beer and more, as well as gaining an in-depth understanding of the world’s greatest beer styles.
Afterwards, hang out at The Tasting Rooms, the brewery’s very own bar, which has all the Meantime beers on draught and friendly bar staff who can chat for hours about the golden stuff. And don’t forget to exit through the gift shop, where you can pick up all sorts of Meantime swag from t-shirts to mugs and even beer soap.