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As we hear exciting news of a posh new Meantime beer hall in Greenwich (the Old Brewery) a quick report on our recent weekend visit to their original brewery tap, the Union, seems timely.

We go at least once a year and there’s always something different — often for the better, sometimes for the worse. On this occasion, it was very much on the up.

They’ve improved the range of German beer with a range from Schönram, enthusiastically sold to us as a “great german microbrewery — sort of what we’re aspiring to”. We tried the two on tap. The dunkel was the real deal — like something from a German country beer garden — sweet, malty and almost fruity. In the end, however, it was a little tired and plasticky. The Pils, though, was truly fantastic, with grainy, bready malt flavours and minty, herbal hops. The best we’ve had in Britain.

As for their own range, the stout was not in good nick, flat and a bit sweet. Tasted a lot like our homebrewed stout, and helped us to pinpoint what’s wrong with it — not bitter and crisp enough, with too much Marmite flavour. We also gave the Smoked Bock another go, having not been impressed before, and this time, we loved it. It was like a mellower, more sessionable Schlenkerla. There’s more than smoke going on, with plenty of dried fruit and caramel flavours too.

Meantime Helles was also on good form, and we agreed that we could definitely imagine drinking litres of this in a beer garden.

We’ll definitely be visiting the Old Brewery soon.