Another fine beer for the cellar
Cooper’s released their first extra strong vintage ale in 1998, not too long after Dr Tim Cooper turned from medical practice to brewing for the old family firm.
At a time of rapidly growing interest in so-called “premium” beers in Australia, Cooper blazed the trail for powerful beers capable of improving with bottle age.
Beer aficionados were well familiar with the concept. But Cooper brought the idea – and the beer – to a wider audience.
Cooper produced follow-up vintages in 1999 and 2000, skipped 2001, started again in 2002, missed 2003, produced another in 2004, missed 2005, then continued non-stop from 2006. He released the 2015 vintage this week. It’s available nationally in bottle and on tap.
The ale’s keeping qualities come from its rich maltiness, high alcohol, high level of hopping, and the anaerobic environment of maturation following secondary fermentation in bottle.
Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale 2015 355ml 6-pack $28
Cooper’s fifteenth vintage ale, continues in the fruity, malty, high-alcohol (7.5 per cent) style established by earlier vintages. However, the beer varies each vintage. In 2015 hops aromatics integrate smoothly with the ale’s natural fruitiness and the bittering level is higher. The assertive, lingering bitter finish works well with the deep, sweet, malt flavours.
Matso’s Lychee Beer 330ml $3.42
Brewer Marcus Muller developed this now popular hybrid at Matso’s brewery, Broome. Muller now brews at Zierholz, Canberra, but Lychee continues under his successors. Slightly reminiscent of the Belgian wheat style, Lychee offers fresh, light, delicate flavours with a little sweet kiss, courtesy no doubt of the lychee and elderflower in the brew.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 7 and 8 July 2015 in goodfood.com.au and the Canberra Times