Once the Brewery Tap for the old Meantime Brewery.
The Old Brewery is so close to the finish of the walk, from Westminster Abbey to Greenwich, that it would be remiss not to include it in Beer Notes. It should be the perfect place to stop, just through the first gates on the right, after the Cutty Sark, and up towards the Palladian World Heritage Visitor Centre – it is some setting.
The entrance to Greenwich’s Old Brewery Pub and Restaurant is along the colonnade on the left or, through the Visitor Centre where the doors open up to an eating hall that could have been part of the University. All industrial chic with copper barrels and pipes and gauges on one wall that invoked memories of its past life as the Meantime Brewery Tap, when it brewed its world renowned ‘craft beers’ on site.
Walking between the tables leads to a rather sparse room with a bar, a basic drinks server that did little to welcome me with no chairs or tables in which to sip a quiet pint.
It is not quite what I expected after a longish hot walk.
I am not a fan of craft beer (it is normally served too cold for me and reminds me of those distant days drinking Tartan Bitter before I knew any better) but the beers that Meantime brewed at the Brewery Tap were acclaimed and on my bucket list to try but I’ve delayed too long.
Bought out, sold out, Meantime is now part of a conglomerate and the Brewery Tap is Young’s with Young’s Best, a Hawkes Urban Orchard Cherry Cider and normally a guest on offer together with the rows of craft beers and lagers that leave me ‘cold’.
But the secret of the Old Brewery is the outside courtyard. Umbrellas and tables and a continental feel on this hot day with snacks, from the standard Young’s menu, ordered from the bar and perhaps this is the reason for all those cold beers.
Towards the river and through to the colonnade, there are more tables and chairs set for dining and overlook the lawns where once there was a perfect view of the river before Zizzi’s and Nando’s took root during 2012, best to look inwards.
Weekends are busy and full, being so close to the river, and it is a time when seats and tables are difficult to find with people eating and drinking, sharing wine, enjoying an elegant restaurant to while away an afternoon. Such a scene is reminiscent of some fashionable Parisian hotel in St Germain and a few remembered ‘just retired’ lazy days in the summer of 2004 and similarly, the Old Brewery is perfect for what it is and gives just the right sense of occasion.
A pub, not really, despite my predilection for Young’s – indeed, the website makes no mention of beer but food, rum days, Pimm’s days, whisky days and they all seem a better fit for the Old Brewery than catering for groups of hot walkers eager to talk about a good day’s walk.
I may need to walk a little further for my pint!
Beer Notes will be published in 2019 as a ‘must have’ accompaniment for the discerning walker on ‘Walking 1066 Harold’s Way’ – the Old Brewery, once the brewery tap for the old Meantime Brewery, will be No 16.
The Old Brewery is less than 100 metres from the route of 1066 Harold’s Way.
Food: Yes Accommodation: No
The Pepys Building, The Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London SE10 9LW
Tel: 020 3437 2222 https://www.oldbrewerygreenwich.com/
PS: As a footnote, the Thames path between Greenwich and ‘the Dome’ is a series of diversions that avoid all the new building on the riverbank. For Meantime fans, the diversionary route takes you past the new Meantime Brewery, shop and tap with space for tasting but remember that there is a way to go before Lesnes Abbey and I am sure that the weight of full beer bottles increases the more miles you walk.