The Daily Brews

Summer's here - well, almost - and that fact presents me with an opportunity to recall a favourite saying: Never take beer, or life, too seriously.

I mean, beer isn't the be-all and end-all of everything, is it? If you feel like a beer you drink one. If it's the middle of winter you might like that beer to be a darker version. If it's in the middle of the heat of summer, you might prefer something lighter such as a pale ale or a pilsner. If you choose to drink a stout at a barbecue, then that's OK too.

So all you oh-so-serious beer drinkers shouldn't pooh-pooh what are known as summer ales. These are the beers that are refreshing brews, designed to be downed when the weather is hot.

As such, they are typically lighter in colour and flavour and even alcohol content, and usually with some sort of fruity background such as lemon, orange, peach or apricot. They're nice, and their fans say they are ideal for summer occasions such as barbecues, picnics or days at the beach.

Monteith's Brewing Company has just introduced its summer ale for 2012-13, and the brewery's marketers describe it as a fresh, bright and lively beer made with lightly kilned malt, with ginger for a bit of spice, and finished off with a touch of rata honey. They recommend the ale should be savoured ice-cold with a wedge of orange.

So how to try this out? I decided to choose a warm evening after work, go hard mowing the lawns, then sit down and savour the job done with one of these summer ales, complete with the wedge of orange.

The Monteith's certainly was refreshing, but my taste buds did have some difficulty locating any ginger or honey. Truth be told, I have tasted other summer ales that have been far fruitier than this particular brew.

It's a good beer with a 5 per cent alcohol content, which is up there, and its taste is, well, very much like a pale ale. So my advice is to not take this beer too seriously. Try one when the weather gets hot and see if you can taste ginger or honey. And do the taste test barefoot. Rob Maetzig

Taranaki Daily News