The Old Brewery

Features

  • Tours Tours
  • Café and/or Restaurant Café and/or Restaurant
  • Clubs Clubs
  • Wheelchair Access Wheelchair Access
  • Dog Friendly Dog Friendly
  • Public Transport within 5 miles Public Transport within 5 miles

Tour details

Individuals & Groups

Tours must be pre-booked. Taken by head brewer Rod Jones, they last about an hour and finish with a beer tasting and food

Day

Mon-Fri: for 2-12 people, includes main course from the café menu

Evening

Mon-Thurs: for 2-6, includes three-course meal from the restaurant menu

Public transport

Train: DLR Cutty Sark, 200m; BR Greenwich, 500m
Bus: 129 N Greenwich Station towards Greenwich town centre & Cutty Sark
Riverboat: by Thames Clippers, from Westminster, Embankment & Tower Piers to Greenwich Pier

Course details

A Beer Masterclass, run with Greenwich Community College. Held once or twice a month, this five-hour course includes a tour of the brewery & lunch. Check under training tab of www.meantimebrewing.com for dates.

Opening times

All year

The whole complex is open between 10am-11pm

Café

10am-5pm

Restaurant

6pm-11pm

Bar

11am-11pm

Wheelchair access

all areas

Prices

Tours

Day: £25
Evening: £40
Minimum age: 18

Get in Touch

Tel: 020 3327 1280
Email: info@oldbrewerygreenwich.com
www.oldbrewerygreenwich.com

Twitter: OldBrewery
Facebook: Old Brewery Greenwich

The Old Brewery
Greenwich
London City of
SE10 9LW
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Following a 140-year hiatus, beer is being brewed again at one of Britain’s most naval historic spots, the Old Royal Naval College site in Maritime Greenwich. Meantime's The Old Brewery links seamlessly with Discover Greenwich, the newly opened visitor centre for the Old Royal Naval College site.  ‘In 1750, London was the centre of the brewing world,' says Meantime founder, Alastair Hook. It has been disappointing to see it losing its lead. I am happy to be able to put London back where it belongs.’

At the time the site, Greenwich Hospital, was home to ill and pensioned sailors, in the same way Royal Hospital Chelsea looked after older infantry. With beer a safer proposition than water, the Greenwich pensioners had daily rations of three pints for ‘restorative’ purposes. Local brewers supplied the ale, but sometimes there were problems with the brew. One particular occasion proved so disastrous that the governors had to pay out compensation to enable them to go out and purchase their own beers. Seeing this as unacceptable, the governors consulted their brewery-owning peers down the river at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

The result? The Old Brewhouse. Built in 1717, it continued in production until 1868. Now, however, the beer is back. Airy café by day and tableclothed-restaurant by night, anyone visiting before early afternoon is likely to see Jones shimmying up and down the stairs, keeping an eye on any of the many stages in the birth of a beer.

As well as modern beers such as Juniper Pale Ale, Alastair has plans for brews made to historical recipes unearthed during research at the British Library using ingredients such as ‘bog myrtle’ and ‘wormwood’.

Sitting in the café , a wave-like suspended glass bottle sculpture intended to help acoustics looks more beautiful than functional. Swathing the walls is a huge, colourful timeline charting the history of beer and Britain, not to mention a fair bit about that other London tipple, gin. We read how a ‘dissertation of drunkenness’ in 1720 lists 23 types of beer being sold in London, find that tax on Porter was raised in 1760 ‘to pay for seven years of war’, and witness how 10s of 1000s of breweries in the 19th century dwindle to less than 150 in the mid-1970s.

It’s not all doom and gloom however: we learn when hops first arrived, hear how Whitbread bought a microscope following a visit from Louis Pasteur, father of pasteurisation, and are brought up-to-date with CAMRA’s birth in 1974 and Meantime’s arrival in 2000.

Each dish on the seasonally-influenced menu has its own beer match. Some are even cooked in beer. And the bar next door is a beer hunter’s dream. A dozen draft taps are split between Meantime regulars and guest ales from England, Germany and Belgium. The sixty-strong bottle list is broken down into styles, from crisp light lagers through to full-bodied strong ales. With a strong Trappist and Belgian showing, England commands a third of the slots. ‘I’ve 30 years drinking and travelling experience,’ says Hook. ‘Putting together the beer list was the easy bit’.

Michael Jackson, the original beer hunter and founder of the Guild of Beer Writers, left Alastair his famed collection of beer memorabilia, and as a result the bar walls are adorned with beautiful bottles of all shapes, hues and origins.

As the weather warms, the walled beer garden swings into use. ‘Just like in Munich,’ says Alastair.

College Beer Club

See here for news of the launch of this exclusive club.

Visited Spring 2010