Friday, April 28, 2006


Back when I first started drinking good beer, I think I told my parents one Xmas that I wanted one of those “Beers of the World” 12-packs you can get from Cost Plus or stores of that ilk. What a tip-top way to celebrate Jesus’s big birthday, right? Some 15-odd years later, those gift packs still pop up under the tree every couple of years. Now I mostly shun them, as they are typically made up of watery pilsners from Germany, Nigerian beer (!), and strange bottles of local brews from around the globe. This last batch from Xmas ’05 – well, three of them ended up on the sidewalk in front of my house when the box broke as I unloaded it from the car, 5 of them ended up in a “gift pack” I’m going to give my pals Chris & Clark next time I go to their house, and the other few? Two were half-drunk with the rest poured down the sink, leaving 2 left in the garage last weekend. Beckoning from the shelf was this nice-looking ale from New Zealand, a nation I was certainly predisposed to thinking was not among the world’s producers of outstanding beer. But the SPEIGHT’S GOLD MEDAL ALE exceeded my very low expectations. With a big plate of pasta, it was a terrific wash-down for a few minutes. It has an incredibly bold aroma and a really nice copper/amber color. I thought it was actually a little too full of “flavour”, and while it’s hard for me to say what that flavour was, I know it was dry and really tart. By the end of the bottle I’d had enough, but at least I know if I have to go to New Zealand (I wish!), there’ll be something for me to drink there besides kiwi juice. 5.5/10.


Anonymous said...

Isn't Steinlager from New Zealand. That is a good one.

Anonymous said...

The best beer made in New Zealand is brewed by Richard Emerson in Otago... but there's a large echelon of stuff between his extemely fine achievements and the likes of this Speights (which is near the bottom of the heap as a bog standard, mass produced draught, albeit with a loyal following amongst students and sportsmen of the south). See first Macs and Monteiths, e.g.