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August 11, 2008 | by  | in Opinion |
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Monteith’s Turns 140

While many of the brewers in the big commercial plants are quite happy to do the same thing over and over again (a bit like maths students), most craft brewers have very short attention spans and are always looking for something new to interest them (just like sociology students).

This is not necessarily a bad thing. Because the more adventurous brewers are always keen to expand their beermaking horizons, drinkers get to experience a wide range of more exotic beers which might otherwise never have seen the light of day. That said, the beer itself does tend to see the light only very briefly just before being consumed.

This week, I’d like to focus on two new beers from the good people at Monteith’s. Now, I have to stress that the fact they flew me to the West Coast to enjoy two days of their most generous hospitality has absolutely not influenced my feelings towards these simply marvelous libations.

I was so concerned about a possible conflict of interest that I consulted a lawyer who was personally recommended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. That lawyer assured me I had done absolutely nothing wrong and that the usual course of action was to rabidly attack the media. So here goes – the Salient Editor does, from time to time, appear to be a bit of hippy in his appearance. That will have to do.

Released just as the weather turned particularly arctic, Monteith’s Doppelbock Winter Ale (6%) is a strong, dark, slightly spicy beer. It is designed to be warming and revitalizing. I’d serve it with a roast or some very old blue cheese and crusty bread. To really get the best out of this brew, make sure it is not too cold. The best flavours and aromas only really burst forth once the chill is gone.

To celebrate their 140th birthday, Monteith’s will be releasing Monteith’s 140 Pale Ale (5.2%). This is a very limited edition beer brewed at the original brewery in Greymouth. I loved the fact that this fantastic little brewery still uses coalfi red boilers and open fermenters which have sadly all but disappeared from modern breweries.

The 140 has a punchy, fruity nose and a firm, citrus body. The finish is surprisingly bitter and is the highlight for me. While some of us have already sampled a few pints, it will be available in bars from August 19 and on the store shelves from September 1.

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