Summer Brews

The full ‘Summer Brews’ article was published in Bartender Magazine’s October issue.

Don’t think for one minute that we are telling you what to drink this summer. If you like sitting out in the sun clawing through a pint of Guinness on a balmy 35 degree day or cool down after tennis by knocking the tops of a few high a/v Belgium monsters then not a problem, go ahead – ill catch you later with a pint of cider and a bag of crisps.

But lets face it, the beverage you decide to take to your mates BBQ is something lads deliberate about for hours (cumulatively) over the summer months and  I often find myself drinking out of a wine glass in order to fully appreciate what I have chosen.

A good rule that I have found when it comes to cider is if your thinking about having a glass of white wine, then it might be a good opportunity to try a cider instead. A crisp lean cider with lovely fruit characters and great balance could be a certain replacement for the ubiquitous glass of NZ Sauvignon Blanc. Why not give it a go?

“If you turn up to the post game cricket gig with a case of low-carb blondes you’d better be in good company because a lesser man could come apart at the seams.”


Gareth Duncan, beer aficionado and manager at Firefly Neutral Bay has worked in some of Sydney’s top beer venues and was manager for Darlinghurst’s Local Tap House, (2010 Bartender Magazine Bar Awards Winner: Best Specialty Beer Venue). He helped me out with some suggestions when deciding what to look for come the sun.

Thanks for your time Gareth – Do you think there will be a demand for Cider this summer?

“I believe that cider will explode on the Australian market this summer as it is becoming more and more popular. As better quality Ciders become available and more craft brewers and breweries take up the challenge to produce a quality cider we will see the public react positively.”

So when would be a good time for someone to try a cider if you’re used to drinking other beverages?

“Cider is perhaps less of a dinner drink and more of a sunny afternoon socializing drink or a change of pace when on a session. I would generally say that cider drinkers would tend to move to wine over dinner.”

What guidelines could be helpful for some summer brew recommendations?

“As for beers Golden Ales will be a hit as will anything floral. Also popular will be lighter style wheat beers. Anything cold, crisp and lighter on the palate will be a hit when the mercury goes soaring.”

Food and Cider/ Beer Matching Combo’s

Cider: A rule you could follow is that when you think you should reach for a glass of white wine – try a cider instead. Ciders (either sweet or dry) would match well with lighter meats, fish and salad and have a few on hand when you’re eating a spicy Asian dish.
A great beer to enjoy with lighter foods; try with a summer salad and fish
Wit Beer:
A great beer to enjoy with steamed muscles or Alaskan king crab
Knock back a chicken schnitzel, chips and a salad or some fresh caught salmon.
Pale Ale:
Out and out a winning match with a burger: The real all rounder.

Cider Categories:

  • Apple: With a wonderful sweet base to work with, apples produce fresh, vibrant ciders full of life and zing. Often served with a full glass of ice it is becoming increasingly common to see them around Aussie pubs.
  • Pear: Commonly known as ‘Perry’s’, pear cider is made in a similar way to apple cider. Especially common in Normandy and the Anjou region of France it also has a long history in Britain. This refreshing style is worth hunting down although traditional ‘Perry’ areas in Britain have declined throughout the last century as orchard areas are drastically reduced.
  • Sweeter Cider: Just as with wine a cider will be sweet if there is residual sugar left following fermentation. While a cider may have some fruit sweetness to it – it might be more ‘off-dry’ than sweet so taste thoughtfully.
  • Dry ‘dolce’: Like most bone-dry Aussie Rieslings these ciders are a great sipping drink for any occasion and should be a good accompaniment with food or as an aperitif.

Beers Categories:

  • Wheat: Brewed with a large proportion of wheat, these beers can also have a decent amount of malted barley in them. Usually top fermented, with wonderful smooth, refreshing flavours.
  • Pilsener: Widely known style of Pale Lager. It takes its name from Pilsen where it was developed in the 19th century. There are no AC or DOCG guidelines for its production, so there are many variations.
  • Lager: The majority of beer consumed in Australia falls under this label and it’s known as a great refresher, easily acquired. Many lagers use cane sugar adjuncts which add little flavour and can actually thin out the body of the beer. – opposite to smaller produced beers using no adjuncts that have fuller richer flavour.
  • All things ale: Brewed from malted barley using warm fermentation a balance of sweetness and bitterness should be evident.

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