Coopers Sparkling Ale
Adelaide, South Australia, $14 (approx)
I love beer. This is probably a pretty good thing as Australians are considered a nation of beer drinkers, yet in reality they often drink pretty average stuff. Internationally we are represented by some bad stereotypes and there's much more to Australian beer then pint cans of Foster brewed under license in the UK. Australian boutique breweries are starting to emerge and a whole hoard of home brewers, like the infamous Fat Nick Harrison, make pretty good stuff, yet there are also a couple of good, large scale, commercial enterprises. Family owned Coopers is one such exception who is battling the trend of mass produced generic beer. When I saw stubbies of their Sparkling Ale in Taste I got very excited.
Sparkling Ale is a heavier, fuller flavoured beer that the website claims has been brewed following basically the same recipe since 1862. It is top fermented, contains no artificial flavours or preservatives and is bottle conditioned. The beer itself is a rich golden, amber colour and looks exactly like beer bloody well should. The bottle conditioning process means that each bottle contains a flotilla of obvious sediment - whether you roll the beer to disperse these chunks into a cloudy haze or leave them lurking around the bottle for a 'sparkling' beer with final big gulp is often debated. Coopers Sparkling Ale has a full fruity smell with noticeable hops and big, hollow, but not overwhelming froth. It tastes ... well good, with an obvious fruitiness, with a slightly bitter palate and hints of mellow hops in the background. This beer is still wet and refreshing and unlike some of heavier ales that you need a knife and fork for, this really is a drink that manages to merge flavour with refreshment.
Australia is not just about superb wines; give Aussie beer a go and get stuck into a Coopers 'red'.
Visit brewery website