Fine Living | Need To Now

Time-limited luxuries

The club that cultivates the fine art of beer appreciation

Time-limited luxuries

December 03 2010
Victoria Woodcock

Beer appreciation: it sounds like a phoney evening class invented as an excuse for sinking a few jars. In the hands of Meantime microbrewery, however, it is an entirely serious, though no less enjoyable, endeavour in the form of the College Beer Club, which enables its members to “explore the realms of the brewer’s art”.

Founded in 2000, Meantime Brewery in Greenwich is known for the quality of its handcrafted bottled beers. Its new club for fans and aficionados is only open to 500 members, who will receive two bottles of limited-edition beer (in 750ml champagne bottles) each month. The beers will both recreate old recipes and demonstrate innovative modern methods, and arrive complete with tasting notes.

The first instalment will be its Imperial Russian Stout, which has spent the past 10 months brewing in wooden whisky barrels. At the moment it is, apparently and appropriately, tasting “like a liquid Christmas pudding”.

Adding to the high-art aspect of the club will be an events programme that kicks off with a private viewing of Manet’s Bar at the Folies-Bergère at the Courtauld Institute of Art, including a talk on the painting by curator of 20th-century art Daniel Katz.

The College Beer Club is being billed as “the year-long Christmas present for Mr Hard-to-buy-for”, but it could equally make a great gift for Ms Not-hard-to-buy-for-but-I-do-also-like-beer. After all, Meantime does count a Rasperry “dessert” beer on its books.