Monday, 3 January 2011

Day 38, Beer 38 - Cooper's "Original Pale Ale"

Today's Beer

Name – Original Pale Ale

Brewer – Coopers

Classification – Pale Ale (Original!)

Strength – 4.5% ABV

Verdict - At A Glance

On the eye – Translucent English mustard. Only much prettier.

On the nose – Soy sauce drenched Portabello mushrooms and apricot jelly.

On the tongue – Actually a 'golden' type beer in certain ways – but truly out on its own in many others!

On the subject – Australia and Coopers, they've both been around for a good old while, but this brand shows no sign of relying on heritage alone. One look at the website demonstrates their obvious affection for all things 'now'...

On the market – Ought to be a lot easier for those outside of South Australia and Victoria. Got this at the fabulous and very new Real Ale Store in Newark, Nottingham.

On the

Full Review

To Australia now, and where better to start than with a nice large can of Castlemaine XXXX?

Or, how about a not so large bottle of Coopers Original Pale?

375 millilitres to be exact – a quirky old size for us northern hemisphere types.

But a better size, it must be said, than 330 millilitres... an amount which leaves us beer bottle reviewers with far less time to properly experience what might have been a very good ale if only we'd had a few more mouthfuls by which to reach a proper understanding.

Consider this an unsubtle hint to the 'shrinking bottle' beer industry. Whichever way you look at it, drop-for-drop we punters are all paying a bit more money for a bit less beer. The world of craft ale is rapidly turning into a global pub which only serves half measures. Me no like!

Anyway, the good news is that in fewer sips than I would have liked, I was just about able to discern that Coopers OPA is a rather fine brew.

It comes at you like a golden ale, hopped to the gills and light in the body, but it has plenty of extra tricks up its sleeve to set it apart in spades.

There's a richness of complexity which belies its light colouring, and there are enough lower pitched flavour themes to keep lovers of far darker beers more than happy.

There's also a clear sense of historical awareness in the make up of the drink, which lends it an oddly aloof air of dignified superiority. Its not quite a snob, but it does expect you to know which fork to use for the fish course.

I was in a bit of an overexcited hurry to crack this open having just got back from what is clearly the most exciting new craft-beer retail outlet in England, and I quite forgot that it comes bottle-conditioned. However, the sediment found herein is of the consistency of very fine dust, and is therefore no hindrance to the enjoyment – whether it winds up in the glass or not. The bottle-conditioning techniques employed by Coopers are an excellent model for secondary fermentation, as good as any I've so far encountered. Take heed, all those with gloopy yeast!

By the end of the (teeny weeny) bottle, I'd had a pretty fabulous (and pretty short) time.

A great Australian brand have produced an excellent beer - by the standards of any nation.

Here's hoping for a full sized version in the not too distant future – one which will ensure that us adults can join the fun, too.

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