As the weather finally takes an upturn and a few rays of sunshine warm the cockles of a Greenwich heart, a young man’s (and several young women’s) fancy turns to…
…beer. We’re quite well-served in this part of the world for microbreweries – the excellent Mean Time (another time) in Charlton and the highly entertaining Zero Degrees in Blackheath.
What could be more civilised than a brisk stroll across the heath on a sunny Sunday afternoon and sitting around a Montpelier Vale pavement with a pint of Lovely? Zero Degrees brews their own Lovely in giant copper vats that look like something out of Professor Brainstawm’s lab, which you can view behind glass windows. It’s all very clean and clinical (which frankly you’d want if you were going to drink the result) and I never tire of actually seeing it all happening (slowly) before my eyes.
They do various types of beer several of which are ‘specials’ – usually the fruit ones which I’m told can be a bit on the sickly side – but I guess it’s horse for courses…
Inside it’s ok – but can get a bit busy and noisy, mainly due to a combination of the giant screens which either show music vids or sport – and the sheer number of folk in there.
In the two eating areas – one with low chairs and tables, the other much more formal – they make decent pizzas and pastas which are good for group meals and outings where you don’t need to discuss anything important. It’s very sociable – and most of the occasions I’ve been there have been birthday party/work outing type things for which it’s perfect. I wouldn’t recommend it for a first date, unless you realised as soon as you’d said ‘yes’ that it was A Bad Idea. In that case it’s ideal for a first date – you can eat nice food, drink nice drink and smile politely before making a quick exit. Around the bar itself there tend to be more of your traditional beer drinkers, which sometimes makes it difficult to get to the bar, but is generally worth the wait.
Many people chose the ‘takeout’ option where you can buy a 5 litre keg ( £ 15.50)to either take home or enjoy on the heath. These are metal and heavy, with plastic handles which although seem easy enough to transport across the heath on your lovely evening stroll, will soon start to cut into the strongest hand. Get a bus. Really.
I only realised that the Blackheath Zero Degrees wasn’t the only one (I’d assumed a clever pun on it being cold beer and at the Meridian) when I looked at the website. There are also branches in Bristol and Reading. Pah.
But the beer still slips down nicely, I understand, on a lovely sunny afternoon in July…