Public relations would seem to necessarily involve hype, particularly in the beer industry where publicists need to try and differentiate between near identical lagers in order to make them seem special. This is even more so when you are one of the last on to a band wagon and need to make a me-too beer seem even more special than the beers that you are emulating.
The latest beer from Monteith’s is following a current trend of beers made from regionally sourced ingredients. The biggest difference is that it’s contained in a black bottle. Here they are ahead of what is shaping to be a trend, but still far from the first.
Even in that context, the release below is breath-taking in the extravagance of its hyperbole. About the only cliché that hasn’t been thrown in is that it has been brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot.
Of course, showering one beer in your range with extreme praise to elevate its particular credentials does raise some questions.
If you’re in a hurry, this seems to be a fair executive summary of quotes from the release below…
“I guess what makes this beer different, is that nothing is left to chance. We figured if we did what we’ve always done we’d end up with the same results. Having gone to such lengths to create a beer of singular quality, it had to be protected. Monteith’s Single Source comes in a black bottle because UV rays are the enemy of a good beer. They can damage it and alter the flavour. The black bottle is the best way to protect the beer, so it can be enjoyed as it was intended.”
If the logic of these quotes is followed to a conclusion, the only one that can be drawn from the media release is that the other beers in the Monteith’s range must be pretty slap-dash affairs that repeat past mistakes and are then knowingly left to be degraded by UV radiation.
I also wonder what the pale green glass of Heineken does to that beer, given that DB is partly owned by Heineken International N.V.
I haven’t had the chance to try this beer yet, but if the media release is anything to go on it’s a little too fizzy for my tastes. Shame they seem to be suggesting the rest of the range is a little ordinary, I might have had one of them instead.
Here’s the release in full.
Monteith’s Single Souce – A beer of singular quality
Monteith’s Single Source started with a simple idea: to create a beer that was traceable and true to the land it came from. The result is a beer that you can really get to know, down to the paddocks and the people involved.
Single Source is a revolutionary new beer that is derived from Charmay barley from a singular Rakaia barley farm and Southern Cross hops from a singular Motueka hops farm, each one a source of the very best ingredients. Finally Single Source is brewed at the Mainland Brewery in Timaru.
From the paddock to the packaging, everything about this craft beer has been selected for a purpose, as Tony Mercer describes; “I guess what makes this beer different, is that nothing is left to chance. It’s a bottle full of interest – the best ingredients, the most meticulous and passionate craftsmen producing it, and the best brewing processes. After a long, hard journey I’m pleased to release a beer that tastes of the land and the people that helped produce it.”
“We’ve looked at every single aspect of the beer; we figured if we did what we’ve always done we’d end up with the same results. We wanted to create something with real interest that reflected the influence of our unique land and climate. We wanted to be able to almost taste the locations the crops were grown in.”
Monteith’s Single Source is a bottom fermented batch brewed pilsner. Inside the pale, straw coloured lager is a flavour that begins with a soft bitterness building delicately with an aromatic balance of citrus and spice, ending with a sharp, dry finish. The result is a crisp, refreshing lager that is a traceable reflection of climate, land and craft that has a delicate aroma of lemon peel and pine needles, layered beneath a clean spiciness and soft herbaceous undertone.
Having gone to such lengths to create a beer of singular quality, it had to be protected. Monteith’s Single Source comes in a black bottle because UV rays are the enemy of a good beer. They can damage it and alter the flavour. The black bottle is the best way to protect the beer, so it can be enjoyed as it was intended.
- The last year has been an intensive search for the best ingredients. The first stage was finding the best hops and the best barley in New Zealand. Specialist growers were sought; the superstars of hops and barley were needed. Monteith’s found Bill Davey from Rakaia and Ian Thorn from Motueka.
- Bill Davey grows barley on his farm in Rakaia, he’s a meticulous man, and rumour has it that Bill’s paddocks are so immaculate, even the dirt is clean. Bill’s attention to detail is not lost on son Nick, who is learning to work the land alongside his Dad, following a long family tradition.
- The Charmay barley Bill provides for Single Source is grown under carefully tended conditions in a unique climate, where the nor-westerly winds that roam the Canterbury plains ensure the barley is naturally dried to retain an optimal 14% moisture level. Bill’s Charmay barley has been specifically chosen for the lasting freshness and distinct flavours it gives to the beer.
- The hops are grown by Ian Thorn in Ngatimoti. Ian grows Southern Cross hops, a specific variety that has been selected for Single Source because of a rare attribute; it provides both aroma and bitterness to the beer. Ian’s family have been growing hops on his property since 1928, and he takes great care at every stage of the process. People who know Ian’s passion for hops will not be surprised to learn that he actually sleeps next to the hops when they are drying during harvest, waking each and every hour to check for optimal moisture.
- Ian’s worked out that Southern Cross hops really like the microclimate in his garden. It’s one of those varieties that respond well to the cold so he grows it on the far side in the corner under the shade of the hill. Usually a selection of hops will be used in the brewing process, bringing different qualities to each stage. But the Southern Cross is a hop of many talents and because of its unique characteristics; it stars alone in Monteith’s Single Source. The result is a delicate aroma of lemon peel and pine needles, layered beneath a clean spiciness and soft herbaceous undertone.