Speight’s Gold Medal AleNovember 1, 2003 Otago, New Zealand
Otago, New Zealand
Imported by: New World Beverage Co.
Place: Newport Beach, CA
The Speight’s Brewery was founded on the South Island of New Zealand in 1876. Gold Medal Ale was given its name after winning an award at the Melbourne International Brewing Awards over a century ago, and the beer remains an important emblem to Southerners.
Alcohol by weight: 3.2
It’s good finally to see a flavorful offering from New Zealand. Speight’s, an old brewery with Yorkshire roots, is now a part of a large conglomerate that makes mostly “me too” beers. As ales go, it is decidedly on the light side, with a deep golden color, light-colored head, and shyness of hops. The mouthfeel is clean and refreshing with a good malt and hop balance. We enjoyed it with fresh Alaskan shrimp salad and mushroom caps stuffed with artisan goat cheese.
- Charles Finkel
Golden amber with a pleasant and fruity caramel malt aroma. Refreshing palate and quenching light body. Maintains a malt and hop flavor worthy of another quaff. A rare find that is light in body, relatively low in alcohol, and balanced with real beer flavor. This beer survived the long journey from New Zealand in great shape. A great summer ale and session beer worthy of calling it “friend.”
- Charlie Papazian
This New Zealand beer is brewed by the Australasian giant Lion Nathan, best known for Steinlager. Speight’s of Dunedin dates from 1876, but has long since disappeared. The beer has a pale copper color with creamy malt on the aroma and a hint of licorice. There’s a sappy, woody character to the palate, but the beer dies quickly in the finish, with just the faintest hint of hops. In spite of being labeled “ale,” I suspect it’s cold conditioned. It’s a pleasant beer but not one to set the Tasman Sea alight.
- Roger Protz
Founder of Merchant du Vin and the Pike Brewing Co., Charles Finkel is a pioneer in the marketing of craft beers in America.
Author of the New Complete Joy of Homebrewing, founder of the Great American Beer Festival and a Beer Examiner at www.examiner.com, Papazian is a leading voice in beer and brewing.
Roger Protz is the author of Complete Guide to World Beer and 300 Beers to Try Before You Die. He is a respected beer authority and editor of the CAMRA Good Beer Guide.