Friday, 16 February 2007

Beer O’Clock – Coopers Pale Ale

Sense on real beer in this week's Beer O'Clock post from Neil at Real Beer.

When I was last in Sydney I totally fell for Coopers Pale Ale. I’m not good with hot weather and so the frequent stops in cool, shady pubs were purely medicinal. Many of the pubs served only the cold, over-fizzed mainstream 'beers' like Toohey’s or Castlemaine (and interestingly, none sold Foster’s in the distinctive blue can…)

However, an encouraging number of places stocked Coopers Pale Ale on tap. This was a most wondrous and revitalising tonic.

I was delighted when it made an appearance on our shelves a couple of years ago but, like the winners of New Zealand Idol -- in which cases their disappearance was a blessing -- the sightings of Coopers quickly faded out of sight. Far from a blessing, and much unlike those “winners,” this beer was sorely missed.

Happily it has now returned, and in even greater numbers, and seemingly with much greater security of supply -- even if at this stage it is only available in bottled form. Thank your god for small blessings.

Coopers is the only privately owned and family controlled large brewery in Australia (despite a rather determined effort from Lion last year). It was founded by Thomas Cooper, a Methodist Preacher from Yorkshire, who made his first beer from an old family recipe to cure his wife’s illness in the 1850s. The beer become so popular locally that he established the brewer in the new colony of South Australia in 1862.

The irony is that Thomas Cooper the preacher frowned on dancing, card games and pubs even as he made thousands of litres of beer.

Coopers specialise in natural ales and stouts fermented with no preservatives or additives. Many are bottle conditioned with the yeast still in the bottle and the Pale Ale does have a light cloudiness as a result.

There is a story that you do not get a hangover from bottle conditioned beer because of the Vitamin B in the yeast. Sadly, this is not true. Not true at all. Goodness knows how such a story got about.

This Pale Ale pours an attractive slightly cloudy gold in the glass. It has a firm nose of orange and green apple which the body is robust and fresh with plenty of citrus and just a touch of vanilla. It has a delightfully crisp and bitter finish.

It’s a lovely drop, and now you don’t have to cross the Tasman to enjoy it.

Cheers, Neil

LINKS: Coopers Brewery
Society for Beer Advocates
The Real Beer Blog

RELATED: Beer & Elsewhere

1 comment:

  1. Here here! All the Cooper's beers are welcome in my house. Love the stonefruit nature of the house yeast.

    ps. any pub that Neil hangs out in is likely to be "shady". I'm not sure how "cool" they are though ;-)


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