A very early start this morning. I went to an ANZAC dawn service on Manly’s Corso. I wasn’t alone. I reckon another 700 people ranging from young kids to 80 year olds braved the early hour to pay their respects to our fallen soldiers. I must admit I was puzzled by the start time for the “dawn” service (4.25am), when sunrise wasn’t until 6.23am. A quick text exchange with a mate who had been in the army explained that the first Australian hit the shore of what is now ANZAC Cove at 4.25am. That Australian died. The service was solemn, reserved and respectful. One can’t but be moved by the lone bugler’s tune hanging in the air. It’s hard to read about the Gallipoli campaign, an exercise in utter futility, without getting emotional. It’s undoubtedly fused Aussies and Kiwis together and serves as the way to honour the 100,000 plus Australians that have died in war (still dying).
Respects paid, it’s time to raise a glass. Fortuitously, I had a stubbie of a new variety Monteith’s. Their Autumn Amber Ale is a single batch brew that is a terrific blend of malt and hops. Quite a fan of this one. ANZAC Day is as much about the Kiwis as the Aussies, so cheers to NZ on this day.
Lest we forget.
Many moons ago, this correspondent talked about the Maori Chief on these pages and promised a few photos from inside the joint. A promise is a promise and whilst it is almost two years after said promise was made, here are some snaps.
The Maori Chief is a South Melbourne classic. So historic is the Maori Chief that a fellow by the name of Malcolm Hutchinson wrote a 59 page article on the heritage values of it. It’s signage claims that it was established in 1867, though Mr Hutchinson’s essay claims that the current construction probably dates from 1886. No matter – it’s old. Whenever it was built, it looks like the facade hasn’t been painted since it was built. That said the facade is magnificent. You can look at the external plasterwork for ever. The Maori Chief that adorns the corner part of the facade is mighty, but there’s even better examples inside.
Inside, there’s an eclectic collection of paintings and adverstising. Kiwi beers represent about 50% of the taps with Tui East India Pale Ale and two varieties of Monteiths alongside the ubiquitous Cartlon Draught andother macros. Some of the advertising is Monteith inspired, but there’s also retro Carlton stuff as well. It is the artwork however that is the most fascinating. There’s a collection of Gauginesque paintings of semi-clad women, that border on tacky. It’s the collection of Maori Chiefs that really standout. There’s a wood reliefs, ink drawings and a remarkable print of the most regal Maori Chief of all. It all makes for a wonderful environment to sink a couple or three.
There were no uniques for me at the Maori either on @Untappd or these pages, so today’s beer is unrelated to the visit. I’d had this stubbie of Innis & Gunns Whiskey Cak Ale. This is a Scottish Stout that is aged in rare Irish whiskey barrels – “Oak agedlike no other beer”. I’m not sure whether the alcohol content is influenced by the oak aging or it was powerful when it went into the barrels, but this is a hefty 7.4%. It is a spiritous drop and is a rich as a rummy Christmus pud. One for winter, which is now thankfully next year.
A very clever stunt from a relatively small brewer in NZ. The idea is from one of the smartest ad agencies going around.
When consumers find a dead mouse or body part inside their food, it generally causes a lot of noise on TV, online and in social media. That got Colenso BBDO thinking about how they could get such attention for their client, New Zealand cider company Monteith’s.
In a stunt for the ages, the agency put a few twigs inside bottles of cider, and waited for the customer complaints to start pouring in.
Once enough buzz was achieved, the company issued an apology: Sorry about the twigs, folks. But that’s what happens when the fruit in Monteith’s cider comes from a tree, not a can.
Two beers from NZ today. Boundary Road Brewery in Auckland has recently been bought out by Asahi and makes a weird combination of macros, beers under licence for giants like Kingfisher and Tuborg and some interesting looking craft beers. Unfortunately, BotF’s first experience of a Boundary Road Beer, was a bottle of NZ Pure. It looked underwhelming, but if I see something in a bottlo that I haven’t tried, then I’ll get it. Fortunately, I only bought one. The website description gives you an indication – “subdued malt backbone overlaid with a subtle hop character” – a copywriter’s best attempt to say we’ve stripped all flavour out of this one. Purely forgettable.
It’s a shame, because it looks like Boundary Road has a sense of humour, which can go well with beer. Their craft beer range looks distinct and amusingly named (Bouncing Czech for a Pilsner). They’ve also amusingly taken aim at Monteiths, who have tried to trademark Radler. This move by Monteiths has caused a degree of controversy in the beer world. Some argue it is like trademarking the word lager, but apparently the trademark only applies in New Zealand. It seems like heaps of trouble to go to for what is effectively a shandy.
Speaking of Montheiths, they’ve named their latest beer – Sparkling Ale. This is kind of ironic, because there is an Australian beer that is quite iconic with a similar name – Cooper’s Sparkling Ale. Fellow BotF correspondent, illiards has heard the view expressed that Cooper’s Sparkling Ale is so unique that it deserves its own style. Beer Advocate, which is a reasonable authority on these matters, doesn’t have it separately listed. @Untappd, which is rapidly developing a massive database, also doesn’t feature Sparkling Ale as a style. If Cooper’s Sparkling Ale is the benchmark of a style – then Monteiths is so far removed it is misappropriating the name “Sparkling Ale”. Yeah – it is an ale, it has bubbles – but that is where the similarity ends. It’s novelty begins and ends with its 500ml bottle – but that is it. It is a macro and not a distinctive beer – unlike its namesake.
For those of you that may not be aware, Foursquare is a mixture of loyalty and competition wrapped up in location awareness for your smartphone.
Put simply, you “check-in” to establishments – pubs, restaurants, coffee shops, your dry cleaner, work, the beach or if you’re lucky enough 1st Choice Liquor at Naremburn. Each check-in earns you points and you compete with your friends for the most points. If you lead the ladder for check-ins at a particular venue then you become the Mayor. Mayors sometimes get special treatment like free coffees or a little something extra on a particular ”Special Offer”. Which brings me back to 1st Choice Liquor at Naremburn.
I’ve just been up there for the fortnightly “shop”. As you enter there’s a Foursquare logo in the window with a reminder to check-in and claim this week’s deal. Fortunately for me the deal this week is 50% off any 6 or 4 pack of beer. Magic! A 6 pack of Monteiths Golden Lager for $7. It doesn’t get much better than that. (For the record they were out of Fat Yak due to this week’s special!)
I haven’t even got to the best bit yet.
At the check-out the chap behind the counter knew everything there was to know about the offer, happily cut 50% from the cost of my 6 pack and informed me that there will be a new one next week and I should stay tuned to 1st Choice on Twitter as they often ask the Twitter fraternity what they would like to see on offer for the weekly deals. How brilliant is that!
All I can say is that it’s great to see a retail outlet embracing technology like this and making sure that the staff know exactly how to use it and upsell it’s benefits to customers.
Are you listening Gerry Harvey?
So, I am a big fan of Monteiths and their brewery tour looks cracking.
However, the Pilsner was a bit of a let down. It had a pleasant European flavour but was not very malty and had a slight metallic aftertaste. If your correspondent had not earlier reviewed Wicked Elf Pilsner or Pigs Fly Pilsner the Monteiths may have fared better. The benchmark in this category has been set very high.