Beer for the cellar — Crown Ambassador and Coopers Vintage

Beer for the cellar?  You bet. On 30 June Coopers released its 2010 Extra Strong Vintage Ale – the tenth in the series following 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2009 – and on 2 August Foster’s released its third Crown Ambassador Reserve Lager 2010.

It’s a choice between the bling and dazzle of Crown’s gold-embossed 750m bottle at $90 (with a pair of purpose-built Riedel glasses for $129) or the no-frills 375ml Coopers 6-pack  at $20.

They’re clearly pitched at different markets. Crown pushes into luxury goods territory alongside, perfume and Champagne. It’ll even be served in Australia’s poshest restaurants – Quay, Catalina, Aria Sydney and Brisbane, Circa, The Prince and Grossi Florentino.

Coopers, on the other hand, comes in plain vanilla packaging saluting the company’s long, independent brewing heritage. There are no flashing lights here, just a straightforward appeal to beer lovers, particularly the Coopers faithful, of which there are many.

Without having sampled the 2010s, though, we can be sure they’ll both be top-notch, although very different brews – Crown, a high-alcohol lager, brewed in Melbourne under John Cozens; and Coopers, a strong, dark ale brewed in Adelaide under Dr Tim Cooper.
Bottles are on the way now, so we’ll report on the comparative tasting next week.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010