Review #22 – Coopers Best Extra Stout

Tightarse Tuesday time again, and just for something different I’ve gone for another bottle of Coopers. This time it’s the Best Extra Stout*, as opposed to the Happy Super Pale Ale or the Superlative Triple Ultimate Porter. Silly names aside, it ticks two out of three boxes so far. On special at $5.49 for a big bottle it’s certainly cheap, and at 6.3% it should pack a bit of a punch. So, is it any good?

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Review #19 – Coopers Sparkling Ale

Urk…is that what I’ve been drinking for twenty years?

Name: Coopers Sparkling Ale

Style: Golden Ale/Blonde Ale

Brewed by: Coopers Brewery (Regency Park, South Australia)        

Alcohol: 5.8% abv.

Price: $5.49/750ml bottle

From: Khandallah New World

Woohoo! Tight-arse Tuesday!

I’ve been drinking this stuff for nearly a quarter of a century now. I have been known to say in my more belligerent moments that this is the best beer Australia has produced. That plainly isn’t the case of course but compared to the rancid bilge many Australians erroneously call beer it’s astoundingly good. Coopers occupies a strange middle ground between independent and mainstream, between craft and mass production. Very consistent for something that is bottle-conditioned and has no additives or preservatives, comfortably in the budget range, thoughtfully sold in big bottles perfect for home brewing, it’s definitely one of my go-to beers. And yet in all that time I’ve never, ever, poured in into a glass, taken my time and really tasted it. I wonder why that is? Continue reading

Review #8 – Rogers’ Beer

Rogers’ Beer (Amber Ale (?), 3.8%). Little Creatures, Fremantle, Western Australia. $4.20/330ml bottle.

Full once, full flavour with lower alcohol isn’t just an empty slogan.

For the pedants, this beer was named for two people called Roger and the apostrophe is indeed correctly placed. Also, no particular style is specified on the label or the website but I’m pretty sure it can’t be called a pale ale as some would have it. It is what it is, and comes with a high reputation. Continue reading

Review #7 – Stone & Wood – Pacific Ale

Pacific Ale (Golden Ale/Blonde Ale, 4.4%). Stone & Wood, Byron Bay, Australia. $8.65 per 500ml bottle.

This one is surprisingly good.

It’s probably a bit late to be returning to the Australian beers, seeing as it’s now Waitangi day and I really should be getting on with the NZ brews waiting for me in the fridge. This one is worth doing though. It has just topped this list of the best Australian craft beers of 2011 which probably says more about the drinking options in Australian than anything else, but as it hails from Byron Bay, my old home turf, this one feels kind of special. Continue reading

Review #4 – Fat Yak Pale Ale

From the label: “This garage engineered beer is golden in colour and has sizable floral aroma. We added hops to the kettle early and late to balance the bitterness, while dry hopping late in the fermentation delivers some big citrus and fruity hop character. Drink it any time of the year.”

Matilda Bay Brewing Company, Fat Yak Pale Ale (APA) – 4.7% abv., (Dandenong, Vic., Australia). $15/6 x 345ml bottles.

I’m trying to like this one, I really am. I can only assume I managed to acquire a less than stellar batch (the quality of this one has apparently varied fairly widely over the last few years) but it’s not easy. The aroma has a slight citrus note but there’s something fighting it that’s a bit fruity and funky, passionfruit maybe or ripe banana. It looks fine though, the colour is a dark golden amber with a slight haze and a thinnish white head that clears to a filmy ring within a minute. The mouthfeel is crisp enough but pretty thin with moderate carbonation. The aroma oversells it and it’s a fairly flavourless brew. Very slightly on the hoppy side perhaps, though a malty sweetness does come out toward the bottom of the glass. It fades to a subtle dry and bitter finish. I can’t actually say it’s a poor beer, but I find myself wondering why I’m drinking it when I can find stuff that’s better, more interesting or cheaper and on occasion, in a glorious subset of happenstance, all three. Continue reading

Review #3 – Coopers Vintage Ale (2011)

Looks awful, tastes great

Cooper’s Vintage Ale – Strong English Ale, 7.5% abv., (Regency Park, South Australia). $4/375ml bottle.

To celebrate Australia Day in a slightly more productive way than starting a fight down at the beach or wearing a puke-stained flag like a cape and bleating Oi Oi Oi at passersby, this will be the first of a six-pack of Australian beers I’m testing out over the next week or so. There’s lots of good reasons to start with Coopers – it’s a fiercely independent brewery with what I remember from my misspent youth as the best quality beer in the budget range. Plus most of my homebrew bottles and kits over the years have come from this company. We go back a long way. Continue reading