27. Monteith’s Summer Ale

Posted: September 30, 2009 in ale, International beer, traditional looking label
Tags: , , , , , ,

Monteith Summer Ale - BOTTLEMonteith’s Summer Ale
New Zealand flag - SMALL

Company info:
Monteith’s Brewing Co.


Bottle size sampled: 330 mL

Alcohol: 5.0%
Standard drinks: 1.3

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: I picked this up for AU$3.00

Label info: ‘Monteith’s Summer Ale takes its cue from late 19th century spiced beers. True to tradition this pristine bright gold beer is brimming with lively flavours, balanced by a touch of rata honey and four different malts, for  refreshing taste experience. Best enjoyed ice-cold with a wedge of orange or lime on a Summer’s day. Relax, savour and enjoy!’.

What the label really means: I don’t know how seriously I can take a beer that is advertising itself as being best with a ‘wedge of orange or lime’. As far as I’m concerned it’s one step up from ‘best consumed while wearing a skirt’. I’m here to drink beer, people, put the cocktails away.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: I really appreciate the simplicity of this label. It gives an impression that the label has been used for many years (perhaps a nod to the ‘late 19th century spiced beers’ on which the beer is based). I like Monteith’s use of scattered adjectives thrown amidst the title reading ‘enlivening’ and ‘honey spiced’. This could easily have gone into the ‘too busy’ category of beer label design but they have handled it beautifully.
I like the use of orange and yellow to emphasise this as the Summer brew, and I love the fun ‘Summer Ale’ font that just sings of a Summer garden sprinkler and ant-ridden picnics.

I give it a label rating of 8 out of 10. 

Monteiths Summer Ale - GLASS

AROMA: A really strong floral and honey aroma. There is something really familiar with this beer but I can’t put my finger on it…ahh yes! Ginger! (special thanks to the wife!). What a curious brew.

Taste: GLASS – A nice golden beer poured out into the glass and I eagerly took my first sip. When I did, I was a little confused over whether I like it or not….my first impression was that I was drinking a radler (being a beer mixed with lemonade, or soda – i.e, a shandy) and had to re-check the label. The ginger was really quite prominent and it was almost like a ginger beer, with a honey hit, as well as distinct traces of lime. I’m not sure I am convinced I like this as much as I hoped.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 6 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – Goes back a bit better from the bottle, and the ginger aroma isn’t as powerful. Despite the label suggestion, I do not recommend a wedge of orange or lime goes anywhere near this beer.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 7 out of 10.

A word from the wife: “Most delicious beer I have ever tasted…too easy to drink…”

She gave it a taste rating of 9.5 out of 10.

Accompanying food: I think this could really compliment a nice seafood platter. Either that, or pizza. Or just a good ol seafood pizza!

Best season to appreciate: Yep, you guessed it, Monteith’s Summer Ale is destined for the Summer months. And perhaps this is what threw me in my tasting today – it’s a cold evening. Perhaps I will revisit this brew on a hot and steamy Summer afternoon.

All-nighter beer? I think it is too fruity for me to drink all night. I want something a bit meatier.

NEXT WEEK: Sheaf Stout

  1. John says:

    Summer Ale is not what I would call a beer. If I wanted ginger beer I would go to the soft-drink section. Was checking this forum to see if it was a joke or if there had been a mix-up at the brewery. Only test we didn’t do was to drink the whole slab to check that it was alcoholic.

    Very flat as well, although seems to still go burp.


  2. Ben says:

    I tried their Radlier on the weekend. It was so good it might possibly be my beer for the summer months. However I will now try this limited release…i’m intrigued with the ginger.


    • BargeDave says:

      I prefer the Summer Ale to the Radler, but then my prejudices against fruit-juice in beer is well known. The Radler is actually probably the best fruity beer I’ve ever had and would definitely be refreshing on a summer day, and the Summer Ale even more so. Whether or not you’re a big fan, Monteith’s deserve a lot of credit for coming up with some unusual tastes in good quality beers.


  3. McLean not MacLean says:

    I went to Greymouth in New Zealand once in the height of Summer. It was freezing cold, the visibility was about five yards and it rained constantly. Someone told me later that the west coast of NZ is often like this. So perhaps it’s no surprise that when Monteiths tried to make a Summer Ale, it came out a bit twisted and back-to-front.

    However, you have to give them credit for spicing things up and doing something out of the ordinary. Monteiths also do a ‘Celtic Red Beer’ which is quite a decent drop.

    Very much looking forward to reading your thoughts on Sheaf Stout next week.


  4. BargeDave says:

    Had one of these on the sunniest day this week (not saying much in Adelaide recently) after I’d taken a fridge-cold one and stuck it in the freezer for 20 mins. It would definitely be very refreshing on a warm one as you come in from mowing the lawn (or having a 20 minute arguement with the mower, in my case) and need a coldie. Not sure I’d drink it all night but some will definitely love it and it’d be an interesting one to take six to a party and show off to mates.


    • Sniv Whettuce says:

      The post-mow beer is the greatest beer there is. Closely followed by the post-coital beer.


      • BargeDave says:

        It’s a rare thing for me to enjoy a post-mow beer Sniv, simply because it’s a rare day when my mower will do the decent thing and actually start. What a bastard.

        My wife would not be keen on post-coital beers, sadly. It would be good in the dark though. (Scene: total darkness. Wife: “Wow, how was that for you?” Silence. Then ‘psst’ sound of beer opening. Wife: “I really hope that was a beer opening and not anything else.”


      • Sniv Whettuce says:

        Tut-tut, Barge. Open the beer before the deed and plonk a silver spoon down its neck to maintain carbonation.


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