Beer for the Weekend: Meantime London Porter

meantime london porterAlthough the name of the beer is London Porter, the style is English Porter. Got that? Not that it really matters either way[1]. What matters is that the London Porter, an English Porter, from London’s Meantime Brewing Company is this week’s selection for the Beer for the Weekend for boldly delicious reasons. A throwback to the stalwart Porters that were the backbone of the Industrial Revolution, Meantime’s London Porter is your great-great-grandpa’s Porter. Thick, dark, and brimming with interlocking flavors, Meantime Brewing Company has given us a Porter that refuses to play little brother to the big, bad Imperial Stouts that give wedgies to the other beers on the shelf. The London Porter is the type of beer that one drinks while building bridges or shoveling coal into steam engines.

Unless you’re reading this in Australia, the “I’m so sick of winter” days have surrounded you and are holding you hostage – possibly literally in the way of snow piled up in front of your door[2]. The beer for this weekend needs the strength to push back against the winter doldrums and provide you with at least one reason to be thankful that it physically hurts to go outside. That being said, a Porter is probably not the first beer style that jumps to the mind when thinking of winter beers; the Imperial Stout is. I don’t know if that’s unfortunate or not; I don’t believe that it really matters. The divide between Porters and Stouts is an every moving line depending on the brewery and the individual drinking. Porters are often thought of, fairly or not, as the less robust, less flavorful, less bold little brother of the Stout. But, the Meantime London Porter is not your average Porter. Buy several bottles (they come in 750 ml bombers), curl up next to the fire with someone you love, and be thankful that you don’t have to cut the grass this weekend.

AROMA: Toffee is a very appropriate aroma considering that this is an English Porter from a London Brewery. But the wonderful smells do not stop at toffee. Sweet malts are the foundation that allows generous notes of caramel, dark fruits, and cocoa beans to spill through. The pleasant surprise is the citrusy hops that are present. Meantime Brewing Company’s London Porter has an appetizing and complex aroma that hints at better things to come once the glass hits the lips. 10/12

APPEARANCE: If opaqueness is a desirable trait for a Porter[3], the London Porter is highly desirable. The color of dark maple syrup, Meantime’s London Porter pours thick and frothy. The head is tan with excellent retention, leaving lacing in clumps that cling to the side of the glass. 3/3

FLAVOR: Referencing the mention above about the so-called and ill-defined Porter/Stout divide, the Meantime London Porter has bigger and badder malt flavors than the average Porter. Lots of nuts and cocoa dominate the flavor, but enough vanilla and piney hops pop through to make this a fairly complex beer. The malt sweetness is nicely balanced with a lingering bitterness. The finish is dry and pleasant. 17/20

MOUTHFEEL: A medium to full bodied beer that warms the mouth. The astringency is just right. 4.5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: The Meantime London Porter has been one of my favorite beers, much less Porter, ever since I first had it about four years ago. Rich and complex, the London Porter is deeply delicious and satisfying – especially on cold winter weekends. 8.5/10

TOTAL: 43/50

Outstanding (45-50), Excellent (38-44), Very Good (30-37), Good (21-29), Fair (14-20), Problematic (0-13)


[1] Drinking game idea – while reading this review, take a drink of the London Porter every time the word “London” is used in the review.

[2] If that’s the case, good luck getting to the store in order to buy some Meantime London Porter for this weekend.

[3] It is.


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