It’s been awhile since we’ve reviewed an Australian beer here at The Brew Club, so I thought it might be a good time to check something out from the land of Oz!
Today, we’ll be reviewing our fourth beer from Australia, Cooper’s Brewery Sparkling Ale. Looking back over our Australian beer section, we’ve previously reviewed a premium lager by James Boag’s compliments of our Aussie friend Coops, and then Coops reviewed the Blue Tongue Premium Lager and Outback Brewery Chili Beer for us as well. This Coopers Ale weighs in at 5.8% ABV, and is in considered an English Pale Ale.
Now usually, I’ll let an ale sit for ten minutes or so outside of the fridge in the glass. I like to allow ales to lose some of that ice-coldness in an effort to get some more flavor, and perhaps to let the ale breathe a bit as well.
According to Coops, Australians LOVE ice-cold beer, and letting an open beer sit for 10 minutes is nearly impossible to do. From what I understand, the beer drinking process in Australia is 1) bottle opened, 2) bottle stuck in a Beer Cozie 3) beer consumed 4) rinse and repeat as necessary. Generally, that’s cool, but I’m talking science here!
First, lets look at this ale. While its considered an English Pale Ale, it looks very much like an unfiltered wheat beer but darker. Its a cloudy, orange color that when poured created a foamy, pure white head that disappears in a minute or two. Once the head is gone, there is nothing in the way of foam left on the beer, and there is no lacing whatsoever on the glass.
The other thing I notice immediately is that this beer is full of sediment. According to the bottle, Coopers Brewery uses a “centuries old top fermentation method and natural bottle conditioning, resulting in a characteristic fine sediment forming at the base of the bottle.” This is absolutely true, there’s a good layer of ‘stuff’ at the base of the bottle that when poured into the glass remains suspended in the ale, but it slowly settles to the bottom of the glass. This ‘stuff’ in the bottle, I think, is yeast. This sediment is fine to drink with the beer, it won’t hurt you, but its interesting to see. It reminds me of how the Maudite Ale looked.
The Coopers sparkling ale doesn’t really smell a lot like a wheat beer though. It has a malty yeast smell, some hops come through and a touch of citrus and alcohol make it to my nose as well. Its not particularly exciting or (I’m sure) memorable – but there’s nothing offensive about it either. Good ordinary. How’s that?
In the taste department, I was a little surprised because while the look reminded me of a wheat beer, the taste isn’t wheat beer at all. Not overly citrus but it was still somewhat tangy with a little bit of citrus overtones and a sharpness was present, compliments of the hops and carbonation. I also found this ale to have a slightly bitter and grassy-ish taste that I picked up toward the finish and into the aftertaste. In addition, this Coopers Ale finished quite dry and the aftertaste later turned to a nice light citrus.
Overall, the Coopers Sparkling Ale has a very clean taste, and it has no pretensions of being something fancy and exotic. With the warmer weather coming up, I’m thinking this Coopers Ale might even make a good ‘Lawnmower Beer’. Its refreshing in that way – not heavy, a little bit sharp and quite crisp actually. Good for the BBQ too I think. A refreshing kind of beer.
I’ll give the Coopers Sparkling Ale 3 stars.
Now, if you’ve been reading The Brew Club for any amount of time you’ve seen the ads for the Coopers Microbrew Kit here and there. Yes, this is the same Coopers brewery that makes the Coopers Sparkling Ale that we just reviewed. As a matter of fact, Coopers makes a Sparkling Ale kit that allows you to brew this very beer in your home with their Microbrew kit. Pretty cool!
Coopers also has a bunch of other beer kits like a Mexican Cerveza Kit and a European Lager kit so you’re not stuck with the same batch of beer time after time. If you end up getting the Coopers Microbrew Kit, you better be ready to drink a lot of beer! That sucker brews 6 gallons per batch, but at least we know the Sparkling Ale is pretty good!