Meantime Brewing Company - Weizen Double Bock
- Alcohol by Volume: 8%
- Serving Temperature: 50–57° F
- Suggested Glassware: Tulip, Snifter, or Bordeaux Glass
Take your time with this monthly selection—an impressive and complex weizenbock from Meantime called Weizen Double Bock. It’s a delicious sip, and benefits from slightly elevated temperature. (As humans, we should probably take more time to focus on the things in front of us anyway…) This pours a deep and murky-dark brown with golden edges. A light-brown head remains well retained and leaves a thick edge of shoreline bubbles. This is a hefty, richly colored pour with a soft amber hue. Despite light foamage, this has lively carbonation levels.
We’re huge fans of a well-made weizenbock, particularly in the vein of things like Schneider Aventinus, Weihenstephaner Vitus, and The Livery’s Wheat Trippelbock (and its glorious bourbon-cask-aged version). There are just so many welcoming points to this sort of style: here, a deep caramel fills out the aroma; a robust, clove-like note provides a peppery edge reminiscent of hefeweizen; and ripe red fruitiness seems quite ready to fluff your pillow. A fresh cut of good green apple and vanilla assist in the nose, generously. This feels fresh, a ripe-fruit character working great beside those caramel and brown sugar notes underneath.
There’s a caramel-apple angle to this overall, a classic pairing played out in beer form, but the pepper and clove, that fruit and lively CO2 as well—they all keep this quite present. The aroma’s glorious, especially with time to warm. We kept going back, that vanilla and pear and apple and caramel playing out beautifully alongside one another. (For us, the “double” aspect of weizenbocks is often assumed, and we wondered, is this the ever-elusive “quadribock”?)
Not really. We would, though, be among the first to consider getting behind such a concept. That candy-apple duality kept calling us back. A vibrant mouthfeel here: prickly carbonation, fresh-cut apple, some balancing white pepper present. Firm bitterness keeps this steered well throughout: mineral notes, herbs, a chomp o’ pine. That herbaceous quality expands in the nose as this warms. We eventually found touches of basil, mint, and fresh-mown grass.
Which may seem strange, in the context of weizenbocks (or quadribocks, or whatever newly introduced style-monster we now have a small hand in creating…). This is good—caramel, clove, brown sugar, and fresh fruit: pear, apple, banana; all fitting perfectly. The deep notes tend to pull the hardest, with viscous caramel that seems to coat (but never does; hat tip to CO2) and vanilla fitting natural and seamless beside the fruits. Meantime’s Weizen Double Bock is one of those beers that will generally find wide praise pretty much anywhere one’s inclined to open it, offering up firmly built banana, clove, white pepper, and rich caramel.
Do feel free to set bottles of this one down for a year or more, sampling along the way. We would encourage popping a bottle every six months or so, keeping an eye on oxidation. Pair it with roasted or grilled pork, using the weizenbock’s caramel midsection to your benefit.
Meantime has been changing the face of London’s brewing culture for nearly 15 years now. Founded by Alastair Hook and company, the ambitiously craft-oriented brewery set up shop on Penhall Road in Greenwich. Their first pub, The Greenwich Union, opened in 2001 and (at the time) was the only London pub to sell none of the macro national brands. The quality of the beer, and dedication to traditional British styles, would serve them well over the years.
By 2002, their pub was shortlisted for national Pub of the Year awards by publications such as Time Out and London Evening Standard. In 2004 Meantime was the lone British brewery to medal at the prestigious World Beer Cup, taking three medals for their Vienna-style Lager, Munich Fest Beer, and flagship Union. Many, many medals followed. Meantime’s Scotch Ale and London Porter earn particularly high marks over at RateBeer for those respective styles.
The London Porter, in particular, is regularly cited as an exceptional example of that historic style, recreated from a recipe dating back to 1750. Porter and London brewing culture very much go hand in hand, and a generous dose of Fuggle hops in Meantime’s version matches well to that beer’s 7+ malt additions. It’s crisp, roasted, a hint smoky—with a bitter, dark-malt aspect balanced nicely by a touch of caramel. (If you’ve not tried it, do yourself the favor.)
It proved challenging to pick which Meantime beer to feature this time around. The Yakima Red, weighing in around 4% ABV, offered a fresh burst of Yakima Valley hops atop a crisp backdrop. Meantime’s Coffee Porter (the first UK-brewed beer to have the Fair Trade logo attached to it) employed Bourbon Arabica coffee beans from Abuhuzamugambi Cooperative in Rwanda, to great effect. (Plus the aforementioned beers, etc.) We found ourselves heading back to the Weizen Double Bock, though, which offered an exceptionally hearty wheatiness, rich yeast characteristics, and a seemingly kaleidoscopic, caramel-rich midsection. As we have seen it described, “Like the classic German beers of this style, Weizen Double Bock is a big, arresting beer with […] a full, round body. It’s fruity and delicious without being sweet.”
We found that to be very much on the mark. Ditto for the suggested pairings of putting this beside sauerkraut and highly spicy fare. This German-style wheat beer from London offers a layered malty middle to temper the heat, and a careful fermentation keeping pinpoint focus.
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