Monteith’s — a treat from NZ’s west coast

‘Plonk’ is a postage-stamp-sized liquor store squished into the southern end of Palmerston Lane, Manuka. When I first saw it, thirty years’ liquor retailing experience rated it too small to be viable.
But it’s still going. And the racks of bottle-your-own liqueurs seem to be giving way to an expanding, carefully chosen selection – driven, I’m told, by Dan Rayner, archaeologist and local amateur brewing champ.

Dan wasn’t there for the Schloss Shanahan pre-Christmas raid. But the haul, including today’s line up of six Monteith’s beers, should keep this column going for a few months. It’s worth a visit.
Like Australia’s Matilda Bay (Fosters) and James Squire (Lion Nathan) Monteith’s belongs to a large brewer but still makes outstanding and idiosyncratic styles from its breweries in Greymouth, Timaru and Auckland.

We found six Monteith’s brews at Plonk and paid a fair price of $3.15 for each 330ml bottle.

Radler smells and tastes like shandy, thanks to a dash of lemon juice, but it’s an undiluted 5 per cent alcohol and, though sweet, tastes zesty and fresh. Summer Ale, a spiced beer has a distinct note of ginger, offset by touch of honey.

Pilsner, a beautifully balanced lager, is roughly in the ‘Bohemian’ style with similar aromatic hops, if not as overtly bitter. The gentle, caramel-and- malt Original Ale with its mild hops bitterness is a treat.
-Celtic Red attacks pleasantly with strong, roasted-malt and smoky flavours – a good warm up for the deep, opulent, warm Doppelbock Winter Ale. Rich, chocolaty Hearty Black Beer completes the range.

Celtic Red attacks pleasantly with strong, roasted-malt and smoky flavours – a good warm up for the deep, opulent, warm Doppelbock Winter Ale. Rich, chocolaty Hearty Black Beer completes the range.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2008

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