Coopers Sparkling Ale and Original Pale Ale

Bottoms up from Down Under
By MIKE MILIARD  |  April 5, 2006

Coopers Sparkling Ale and Original Pale AleYou may have heard of an antipodean brewery that claims its name is “Australian for Beer.” But there’s another ale from the land of the wallaby and the didgeridoo that doesn’t need to resort to cheeky commercials and outsize cans to make its merits known. Coopers Brewery, founded in South Australia in 1862, is the commonwealth’s biggest remaining family-owned brewery, and the attention to detail shows in its quality beers.

The unfiltered Coopers Original Pale Ale , served in the stout 12.7-ounce bottle, pours a healthy orange-yellow with a faint lacy-white head and an appealing abundance of sediment floating beneath it. It smells much like it looks, with a pronounced citrus aroma paired with a touch of grassy essence. A first sip reveals that the hops levels are a bit more assertive here than you might expect: it’s dry — a little sour, even — with a tart lemony presence and a biting finish. It’s a little like a wheat beer, pleasingly bitter with a yeasty presence from its bottle conditioning.

A good complement is Coopers Sparkling Ale , a stately pale-russet color, but crystal-clear translucent. It, too, is a bit citrusy, although its dominant impression isn’t sourness but a honey-like sweetness followed by a slightly spicy herbal touch, finishing with a rounded, malty toastiness. It’s rich and flavorful, but still crisp — perfect for deck sipping as the evenings get warmer and longer (even as they’re getting colder and shorter on the other side of the world).

Available for $9 for a six-pack of 12.7-ounce bottles at University Wine Shop | 991 Mass Ave, in Cambridge | 617.547.3111.

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