Up here in the Grim North there aren't many invitations to this or that beer-wise. Very few in fact. It's all about London don't you know? Thus, closely following on from my Budvar invite, through email came another, this time from London Brewer Meantime. I quite like Meantime and E and I have been known to hop on the DLR down to Greenwich and sup some lager in the Old Brewery. In fact I've written about it here from time to time - quite often in fact - and I still think fondly of North Frisian Lager which I wrote about here. I don't know why they didn't make a bigger thing of that, but maybe it was just too bitter for most. This invitation (for "a beer or three") was to the launch of a new beer and, oddly a piece of furniture. It also involved a tap takeover with a promise of several rarely seen Meantime beers. Sounded like a good do, so on another lovely Manchester evening E and I went along. It was all kind of downhill from there sadly.
It is never that promising when you arrive at an event and are ignored by the PR people. Thus it was, but after asking one or two of the T shirted lasses, we were checked off a list and given a couple of beer tickets. Worryingly and confusingly, the pub was still open to the public and an air of utter disorganisation filled the place. It soon became obvious that I was the only beer writer there. Everyone else seemed to be either Meantime Brewery, random invitees, or friends of the furniture man who had designed a bar seat for two which no doubt cost a fortune. See attached photo but it looks a tad uncomfortable. All types were mixed in with cash paying customers and only recognisable by presenting vouchers. We are arrived shortly after seven, but by nearly half past eight, there was no sign of any beer launch and my beer tickets had been supped. I sought out our hostess with the mostess and enquired about the beer launch. She said not to worry that it would be "soon". My request for further beer tickets was declined. Hmm. So we bought a couple of pints - no big deal - but it isn't usual to be invited by PR and then pay yourself.
Behind us a whispered conversation took place. A guy in a Meantime T shirt was hissing loudly that he couldn't do the presentation as he knew nothing about the beer, but nonetheless, without warning to the audience, he was thrust to the front and talked us through from slides, the new beer, which as far as I could make out, none of the audience had. It was well after nine by then. So out of curiosity, I bought us a couple of halves of the new beer - after all, it, with the chair, was the main reason to be there. It was nothing special, so as the News of the World would have said, we made our excuses and left. Well no excuses really. We just left before the promised grub was even laid out and went for a couple of pints elsewhere.
Now this may give morbid satisfaction for some, but actually if I want to spend my own money, I am unlikely to need or heed an invite from Meantime to do so on their beers. There seemed to be no shortage of beer tickets for the Meantime types - well those wearing Meantime T Shirts - who were shall we say, enjoying the beers rather liberally. If they were the target audience, then why invite me and a plus one and then not engage with us?
Now I thought long and hard about posting this, but hey ho - Good and bad. ("Freeloader gets Comeuppance" was my alternative title.) There wasn't the usual PR follow up either. Hope Meantime thought the PR Co value for money.
I liked the Meantime Pilsner, Winter Sun and the Stout. I can't remember the name of the new beer though, but it was rather ordinary.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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