What are the beer necessities?

The nor'wester has blown all day. The lawns are mown. The late afternoon light is tinged with gold and it is time to light the barbecue. You really need (not want) a cold beer. Ewan Sargent offers a few options.


- A crate of Monteiths Original Ale, 4%.

There's something about a heavy wooden crate of 750ml bottles of draught that gives you goosebumps of nostalgia and anticipation. It's a proper sized bottle. The taste is earthy and faintly caramel. It brings back memories. It's a retro beer and it smells like an old pub. Good though. A beer for a hay bale, if I had one to sit on.


- Sapporo, 5%

A Japanese beer brewed in Vietnam, exported to Australia and ends up in my fridge in Christchurch, New Zealand. Something to think about if I could be bothered. But I'm not. I love the keg-like shaped can. There's only 600ml in it but it seems like an American frat house party is about to launch, whatever that is. The beer's light golden, more smooth than punchy. It's restrained and mellow for a mellow day.

- Tsingtao, 4.7%

This caught my eye a while back when it was selling for $2. But I've bought it ever since for the super fresh, bright, faintly sweet, uplifting, tangy flavour. Drink it really cold because it just bounces back even more bright and chirpy. It's always approachable, always cheap and always satisfying. It's my favourite for a hot day pick-me-up.


- Estrella Damm lager, 5.4%

Yum, this is a real winner from "Barfthelona". It's golden and has a rich malty taste that makes you think it would solve hunger problems as well as thirst. I loved it and a single 330ml bottle went down far too easily. It's not light and bright, more mature and deeply satisfying. I must admit this Spanish drop surprised me.


- Harrington's The Rogue Hop, 5%

It's got a creamy, laid-back pilsener thing going and then citrus hoppy kick comes in over the top. It's a great beer to settle into a session with. Not too demanding, interesting enough but something that feels good enough to keep flowing. Sort of like a hippie hop, maybe?

- Yeastie Boys Digital IPA, 7%

A real sweetie. Of all the beers, this feels the most sophisticated with the beautiful balance of rich malt and full on hops. Of course that extra 2% of alcohol helps flesh it out and the buzz climbs in a little quicker. It's too rich to follow lawn-mowing. More a special treat when the evening has cooled.

- Wigram Mustang Pale Ale 5%

Wham bam. The hops are in the house and they have taken over. The beer soars on citrusy resiny hops and it's like jumping into a cold pool after sitting in a too-hot pool like I did in Rotorua recently. The fresh and bitter hit brings you alive. Great for putting a dusty hot day to bed.


- Moa Beer is the first craft beer to be served on Air New Zealand. And it serves customers in "bespoke- designed" aluminium bottles. "We have no plans to offer anywhere else, it's just a special little thing for Air New Zealand," said an email. Nice.

The Press