I have seen the London Porter from Meantime at places like Bevmo and Whole Foods for quite some time now. However, I normally am not inclined to buy something that I have never heard of in 750 ml bottles. Fortunately, on my recent trip to the Beverage Warehouse in Marina Del Rey, CA, I found 11.2 oz bottles of the London Porter (The size likely has something to do with the fact that Meantime is in London, England). One immediately was placed in my basket.
The London Porter is a deep brown with a slight lean towards maroon. On the nose, it is almost as if this is not a malty beer. The aroma is mellow and light, only a slight amount of caramel malt notes are noticeable. DO NOT LET THAT FOOL YOU.
The subtlety of the London Porter's aroma is simply a disguise for a robust, full-flavored, complex porter. As soon as the beer touches the tongue, one's mouth goes wild, trying to decode the cryptic array of specialty grains that comprise this porter. According to Meantime, there are at least seven different varieties of grains that go in to the London Porter (I am not sure what "at least means" here, I would hope that they know exactly how many types go in the brew, but are choosing not to disclose this information).
The array of malts gives a multitude of sensations in the mouth. One notices the dryness of the beer along with a hint of smoke flavor at first. This leads me to believe that one of the seven is a smoked malt. However, this is quickly consumed by the fullness of the beer. By "full" here, I mean oatmeal stout full. It is big and rich (this is not intended to be a reference to the country music stars, however, I do like some of their songs). This subsides and one is left with a lingering smokiness on the tongue that is quite pleasing, even for a lover of hops like myself. To get the full effect of the London Porter, allow it to warm a bit, say to about 50°F. I would try it though first right out of the refrigerator so that you have something to compare with.
The bottom line: A surprisingly delicious porter from a country that is not well represented in the microbrewery scene.