Prologue: It was the dawning of a new decade, we were looking for an ale that would be appropriate for the expected hot evening. We selected the trusty reliable Fat Yak (which I will review one day, I promise).
When a Beer wanker is having people over for drinks he must provide a ‘experimental beer; and a ‘fall back’ beer, The fall back beer that everyone will like, but isn’t too commercial, lest it ruin his beer wanker status, beers such as Fat Yak, Coopers, and Little Creatures fill this role nicely.
So with the fall back in hand I then looked a little further along the racks at Dan Murphy’s. Far enough along to see Monteith’s Summer Ale. I turned to my girlfriend and said “We like Summer, and we like Monteiths, could this be the special beer for this evening?”
She agreed, I assume only because she knows that if she shows the slightest hint of doubt I will be sent into a tailspin and spend the next half hour starring at the rack paralysed by the fear of making the wrong choice.
Appearance: When I think summer I think light coloured beers. So when I poured this in the glass and it had a dark honey brown shade I was surprised. I then decided to read the label, It told me that it was infused with honey and spices. The colour made sense then.
First impression: I’ve dropped this question of late because not many beers have a smack you in the face first impression. Upon the first sip of this I was amazed however. It tasted almost exactly like ginger ale. I asked Jord what she thought “Ginger Beer’ was the response. Then Frewy, again ‘Ginger’ was the answer.
Taste: An amazing beer because it doesn’t really taste like beer at all. In fact we gave it to a confirmed hater of beer (ironically called Brewer) and even she liked it. That’s because it’s almost sweet, incredibly refreshing, and so easy to drink that it is completely sessional.
Packaging: The Monteiths packing is very consistent across the range of beers, It’s nothing special, but the consistency allows me to choose any of their beers with confidence, which is smart marketing.
I note this is the complete opposite to breweries like Matilda Bay and 2 Brothers do, with individual brands for each beer, which is a interesting question. Do you want to create loyalty to the brewery (regardless of the style of beer) or do you create loyalty for individual beers.
Food suggestion: Really well marinated BBQ would be fantastic with this. The bottle suggests you can drink it with a wedge of orange, Corona style (except you know, tasty)
Random Wikipedia Fact: Monteith’s is produced in Greymouth, which is on the West Coast of the south island of NZ. It was a family owned brewery until DB Breweries (think evil corporation) took it over. They decided they would close the brewery and move production elsewhere. They did so on the 22nd of March 2001. only to reopen it 4 days later after the locals got just a little bit angry about it. I love people power in action.
Of course now the beer is so popular it gets produced in Greymouth, Auckland and Timaru.
If you ever find yourself in the South Island I suggest catching the train from Chistchurch to Greymouth, One of the best train trips in the world. Greymouth itself is kind of boring, but you could maybe fit in a visit to the brewery.
Drinking Location: Can I suggest a balcony in North Melbourne with a view of the NYE fireworks, and bit like this one……
Ranking: A Jug Please
The long bow Youtube clip: Courtesy of a friend who spent the Christmas break in the land of the long white cloud. A case of too many Monteiths….