Coopers celebrates 150 years

In May, Coopers released a new ale, celebrating 150 years in brewing. It all began on 13 May 1862, when Thomas Cooper stepped up from brewing in the family bathtub to commercial production.

By the late twentieth century, Coopers had carved a niche for itself, selling bottle fermented ales, then home brew kits. Somehow, the company endured in family hands across decades of brewing industry consolidation, outlasting all the other independents. Then, despite its tiny market share, Coopers became our largest Australian-owned brewery last year, after SAB Miller swallowed Foster’s.

The 150th anniversary brew (selected by the late Thomas Cooper, says the label) is a bottle-fermented ale – but well removed in style from the other Coopers beers.

This is an opulent, fruity beer with a much stronger than usual (for Coopers) emphasis on hops – both in the citrusy aroma and assertive bitterness.

Coopers Thomas Cooper’s Selection Celebration Ale 355ml 6-pack $20
What a celebration – even long-dead granpa Cooper comes to the party. He’d be happy, though, as descendents Tim and Glenn Cooper brewed up a lovely ale for the firm’s 150th anniversary. It’s reddish coloured, fruity, with citrusy hops high notes, generously flavoured and finishing hoppy and lingeringly bitter.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2012
First published 13 June 2012 in The Canberra Times