Experts share their favourite holiday tipples around the barbie

Tony Mercer, of Monteith's, is the latest head brewer in a West Coast craft brewery that dates back 143 years. Not surprisingly, his tastes in food run to the local specialties too.

The brewery is now open for tours and tastings, so that punters can see and smell the best of the craft.

The brew I'm favouring this summer is:

The Monteith's Brewer's Series Imperial Pilsner because it hits the spot every time. It is particularly crisp and refreshing and the mellow malts work well with the four hop varieties in the beer. But I would say that as I brewed it!


Best served:

I drink it from the bottle, especially when at a barbecue, but the Brewer's Series are 500ml larger bottles so can be enjoyed just as well out of a glass.

And goes best with:

I love the Imperial Pilsner with Blackball Salami Company's venison sausages. These sausages are a local favourite down here on the Coast and they are my all-time favourite. Of course a whitebait pattie never goes amiss on the barbie down this way.

The best barbecue guests are:

I'm definitely in charge of the barbecue. It's the perfect place for sharing a few yarns with mates and having a beer while cooking. I wouldn't challenge another man's barbecue zone if I went to someone else's house - some things are definitely sacred. Monteith's beer has been matched with food for many years now so is a natural accompaniment. It is one of the reasons I personally get so much enjoyment planning new brews, thinking about making beers with food matching in mind as well.

My formula for a successful barbecue is:

I'm a traditionalist and prefer the wood-fired barbecues. But I have had to move with the times and so I have a gas-fired barbecue these days at home. I much prefer the smokiness of the wood fire though, so my dream barbecue set-up would be to have a stand-alone, wood-fired, brick barbecue. I will get it one day.

My never-fail barbecue recipe:

My wife, Karen, makes a great tamarillo chutney (the recipe is a family secret) which works very well with those famous Blackball venison sausages. She is always in charge of the salads so we are a good team and enjoy having friends over, but she also is pretty handy with the marinades, which she claims are the secret of my barbecue success. Her marinated lamb chops would be my second choice to the venison sausages. And the secret to any good barbecue is of course having a good beer to enjoy it with.