We’d argue this is one of the strangest beers ads in the world, and you’ll possibly agree.
Monteith’s Pointers pale ale has been plugged in ads and billboards over winter.
“At Monteith’s we chose to take on the challenge of creating the most drinkable pale ale possible, with a distinctively cloudy yet golden complexion and tropical fruit aromas. New Pointers pale ale. We’d argue that it’s the most drinkable pale ale in the world, and international beer judges possibly agree. It just won gold.”
Possibly agree? What judges? What gold? Faint praise, Monteith's.
Zoom in on that TV commercial and you’ll see a gold medal from Monde Selection. The usually-savvy Beertown.NZ hadn’t heard of this competition, and so I contacted Monde Selection to learn more. And, because Monde Selection doesn’t publish its results online, I asked for a copy of them too. I also asked Monteith’s brewer DB about the award and the ad.
The competition is the 55th World Selection 2016 of Beers, Waters, Soft Drinks and Non-Alcoholic Beverages. Monde Selection is a private quality rating business based in Belgium.
“Founded in 1961, Monde Selection’s mission is to test consumer products and grant them a bronze, silver, gold or grand gold quality award. This quality label, awarded by a totally independent professional jury, offers the consumer and the producer numerous advantages. No less than 3160 products, coming from over 82 different countries, are tested each year in the following categories: Spirits & Liqueurs; Beers, Waters & Soft Drinks; Food Products; Diet & Health products; Cosmetics & Toiletries; International Wine Contest (patronised by the OIV).”
Monde Selection is not a specialised beer competition in the same type as the World Beer Cup, Australian International Beer Awards, New Zealand Brewers Guild Awards, or even the SOBA National Home Brew Competition. For one thing, the beer category is part of a wider beverages competition that includes soft drinks and water. For another, it doesn’t use style guidelines.
DB’s Simon Smith: “There are no differing categories as the judges are assessing the quality, and do so by, analysing and taste testing brews alongside each other. Their aim is to detect any quality faults, in taste, clarity and foam for example; and any of which would mean you fail to get any rating.”
And Pointers Pale Ale certainly did get a rating, a Gold Award in fact. But the Gold Award is not the top prize in Monde Selection. This year’s event gave out more than 200 Gold Awards, and 77 Grand Gold Awards, 4 Jury Prize Nominations, and one Winner – Dagon Extra Strong Beer from Myanmar.
There’s another reason for DB’s uncertainty about the “judges possibly agree” thing. DB entered three beers this year – Heineken Light, Pointers Pale Ale and Monteith's Red IPA. Heineken Light and Pointers each won a Gold, and Monteith’s Red IPA won a Grand Gold.
Whatever the international beer judges possibly agree, they do agree it wasn’t the best beer in the competition, it wasn’t even the best Monteith's beer there.
But you have to hand it to Monteith's for being bang on-trend with beer styles – Pointers “distinctively cloudy yet golden complexion and tropical fruit aromas” came out months before Garage Project’s Party & Bullshit cloudy IPA made such a huha at last month’s West Coast IPA Challenge.