On my recent trip to New Zealand and Australia I took the time to try various new beers I encountered along the way. Coopers is certainly well represented down under, to the point that Coopers is Australian for beer… not Fosters. Once back in the “Great White North”, I actually discovered that Coopers was carried by the local beer shops and brought it in to taste with the guys. When I tried it in Australia I felt it was a nice enough beer, Coopers Pale Ale was more enjoyable in comparison, but the bottles here of the Sparkling Ale were very different from what I tasted in Australia. It is a malty beer, with lots of carbonation and an opaqueness to it. Perhaps it was a bad batch, perhaps it didn’t travel well, but whatever the reason this beer was underwhelming and different from what I remembered only a few weeks prior.
Cooper’s Sparkling Ale is more like a typical mass-produced lager. Though brewed at a relatively smaller scale, closer to something like Okanagan Springs, Cooper’s is basically the Australian equivalent of something like Budweiser, Canadian, and Coors Light — light bodied, metallic taste, readily available just about everywhere (in Australia), mass produced, pasteurized, and preserved.
Like all low quality lagers, this ‘ale’ is best served as cold as possible. Flavours become more pronounced when a beverage is warmed (hence why quality whisky is typically enjoyed at room temperature), and this is one beer you do not want to experience the full flavour of. It’s the type of beer you want to use for beer pong, shotgunning, or just plain getting wasted, in spite of the added carbonation (the ‘sparkling’ aspect). If I had one in front of me, I would want to down it just to get rid of it; there’s no enjoyment from sipping a Cooper’s.
Kamran: 43.5 pts.
Firstly, to be fair, this beer was better in Australia. Secondly, it’s still a better beer than Bud, Molson, and Labatt products. It has a malty nose, almost a bit skunky even – perhaps due to travel or batch quality. It’s a light beer with a fair amount of carbonation to it. The sediment does make for a cloudy beer however. The flavor was of malt with the very, very faintest of hops hidden away. Similar to a lager in some ways to be honest… nothing too spectacular though. The finish was slightly bitter and short lived; weakest part of the beer in my scoring.
Considering that the only Australian beer I’ve tried before this was Fosters, I was pleased to see an improvement. That being said, Coopers Sparkling Ale shouldn’t win any awards for craftsmanship. I even struggle with calling this an ale, as it really doesn’t bare any resemblance to any of the fine ales we’ve already tried.
I must admit, the first to spring to my mind upon smelling this “ale” was beef-flavoured crisps. Either I was really hungry when I tried this beer or it’s just a microcosm for overall quality. In any event, I was able to detect some elements of citrus, after a fair bit of effort, so that helped salvage my opinion slightly. Nothing in the body is particularly appealing, as you’re greeted but what seems like a typical $2 pint at The Pit on a Tuesday night. The taste is far too malty for me, almost to the point of being sour, though this does dissipate as you progress towards the finish.
Despite it’s drawbacks, I’d still rather have a pint of this than a pint of Canadian.
Final Average: 46.5 pts