Australia’s largest brewer, Fosters, makes one of Australia’s finest craft beers – Crown Ambassador de Luxe Lager. Ambassador measures up as “craft” on all fronts – quality, small production (4,000 to 7,000 bottles annually) and hands-on production by John Cozens and two brewing colleagues.
This year Cozens released the 2011 vintage, fourth in this series of high-alcohol, bottle-conditioned lagers.
It builds on the four previous vintages, adding what Cozens calls “layers of flavour” as he tweaks the style each year. In 2009 he introduced crystal malt to the blend, to add caramel and toffee notes. In 2010, a couple of hand-me-down oak barrels from Foster’s wine division added complexity, as well some unwanted characters to the blend.
This year’s release, incorporating handpicked galaxy hops from Bright, and a portion fermented new French oak, seems the most layered, pleasing brew yet.
Crown Ambassador Reserve Lager 2011 $90
Dark, cloudy, golden-amber Crown pours with a dense head and enticing aroma of floral-citrus hops and sweet caramel. Over an hour or as so it warms from fridge to room temperature, the silky textured brew s reveals layers of caramel and toffee malt flavours, spicy notes and both the flavour and bitterness of hops.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011
First published 14 December 2011 in The Canberra Times