It was never going to be easy for Coopers.
With the brewery’s 150th anniversary this year, it makes perfect sense to release a new beer to celebrate that milestone.
But their recent track record with new brews hasn’t been good. I’m thinking of 62 Pilsner and their low-carb beer Coopers Clear (but to be fair I don’t think anyone has worked out how to make a low-carb beer that isn’t awful).
Marking 150 years of brewing is a big occasion and you’d think it would call for a big “Wow!” beer. But Coopers doesn’t do “Wow!” beers. Aside from the two mentioned above, Coopers brews beers that have been unfairly overshadowed by the output of newer craft breweries.
Unfair because Coopers could claim to be among the first craft brewers in Australia and also because some of their beers – the sparkling ale and stout – are damn good.
So what does Coopers do for their Celebration Ale? Stick to what they know, or make something “out-there”?
Well, they’ll have a bit each way. Their Celebration Ale – with three varieties of hops – leans more to the American hop-happy sort of beer rather than the English ale style we’re used to.
But it’s not an American hop bomb. This red ale is dominated by a nutty flavour, rather than the fruity or piney hop notes I’d expected.
It’s a bit of a confusing beer – and one that’s going to disappoint people expecting big things from a 150th anniversary ale.
Would I drink it again?: Yep, I sure would. Like Coopers’ other beers (their old ones, not those ordinary new ones) it’s straightforward and reliable. Sometimes that sort of thing gets overlooked in the craft beer world’s love of “impact” beers.