There is a current trend towards breweries producing sharing bottles of some of their stronger beers, this allows them to push the boundaries of strength while avoiding having expensive looking small bottles. Meantime IPA is one of the more readily available of these new beers and has caught my eye on several occasions, when it was on special offer in a supermarket I decided it was worth a try.
Nose is caramel, citrus orange peel. The initial taste is rich fruits, raisins and plumbs this moves into a malty middle with an overtone of bitterness. There are top notes of pine resins and bitter citrus orange peel, the malt fades to leave these bitter notes and a rich caramel flavour. The tang of the hops lingers in the mouth with a bitter spiciness.
Meantime IPA is interesting as an IPA, it has the higher strength at 7.4% which I associate with the strong hoppy “real” IPAs but has a much more fruity character which you could compare to a strong ale.
The choice of hops makes this beer the beer a bit interesting. The use of English hops to keep it historically authentic means that Meantime IPA has none of the grapefruit or tropical fruit flavours of comparable IPAs such as Thornbridge Jaipur or Bristol Beer Factory Southville Hop instead it has a strongly bitter citrus hoppyness amongst the malts. These hops do tend to create these flavours and they really compliment the strong ale like malty middle and bring some rich fruit flavours to the beer.
I would not say that Meantime IPA is like the beers I would usually enjoy but I really do like it, I often find that strong ales are a bit too fruity and sticky whereas Meantime IPA is much more refreshing and you can taste the hops. As this beer is quite strong it needs to be enjoyed carefully, at first I did not realise it’s strength and maybe drank it a little too quickly, thus showing how smooth this beer is.
As a sharing bottle, Meantime IPA, will work well. If you want a stronger beer with a meal and would like to share it out then this format works. In regular sizes beer bottles this beer might be a little strong and I would guess would seem expensive, but as a sharing beer it is much more reasonable.
The only issue I might have with sharing this beer is that it poured about three medium glasses, I myself would have liked more than I had, but that would have meant depriving my guests. For most individuals this single bottle would be too much.
I really liked Meantime IPA and will definitely be having another at some point, whether I share it or not is another matter.