Ah, my favourite type of beer. If you think it's a beer style I'm talking about you're barking up the wrong tree. Free beer is my favourite type of beer, and I've been sent some from Meantime. They have started cranking out some beers from their recently installed pilot brewery.
I've met the brewer Ciaran Giblin a few times, and it's nice to see he gets his name on the label.
Now on to the beer. The carbonation is on the low side, and the aroma more malt than hops. But in the taste the promised tropical fruit flavours of American hops come through, complete with a sweet caramel malt background. It's billed as an Imperial Red Ale, which I must admit is a bit of a new one on me, but it comes across like a barley wine made with American hops. No doubt American Barley Wine has already been defined as a style by the BJCP. When American hops feature in a beer I'm used to them dominating any other flavours. Cranking up the caramel malt flavours was interesting, but on balance I'd say trying to make the beer more balanced didn't entirely succeed, as it's a bit too chewy for a hoppy beer. It's very interesting to see Meantime breaking out from their rather reserved normal output though, and I look forward to seeing what else they come up with on their pilot plant.
Disclaimer: the fact I know the brewer and was sent the beer for free makes my review totally biased.