Tag Archives: Lager

Cooper’s Sparkling Ale

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.

– Tristan


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.

Nose: 10
Body: 14
Taste: 9
Finish: 10.5

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.

Nose: 14
Body: 12.5
Taste: 17
Finish: 9

Tristan: 52.5


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.

Nose: 15
Body: 10
Taste: 12.5
Finish: 14

James: 51.5


Final Average: 46.5 pts

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Coney Island Lager

The Coney Island Lager, produced by Shmaltz Brewing — an authentic Jewish brewery from New York — is a (hopped) lager that utilizes Czech pilsner yeast and multiple strains of malts and hops. Along with other Schmaltz beers, such He’brew: The Chosen Beer, this lager is Kosher!

– Kamran


One sniff or sip of this ‘lager’ and one immediately thinks of India Pale Ales. Though I’m unsure of what the IBU (International Bitter Units) for this beer is, I’m sure it’s high enough that it could be classified as an IPA; however, due to the bottom-fermenting yeast being used, it must be known as a lager. Regardless, it is much hoppier than so called IPA’s such as Alexander Keith’s, which should itself be called a lager.

The Coney Island Lager should really be referred to as a hopped lager, comparable to Czechvar — which uses similar yeast, malts, and hops — Phillips Eternal Optimist, Lighthouse’s Overboard Imperial Pilsner, and Okanagan Springs Hopped. As such, I find it much more enjoyable than your typical lager — there’s more complexity and flavour!

With a pleasant, citrusy nose, solid hop profile — replete with robust aroma hops — crisp finish (no lingering lager aftertaste, just a consistent floral bitterness), and relatively light body, the Coney Island lager is a great beer, and not a huge step for a lager-boy who wishes to expand their beer horizons.

Nose: 21
Body: 20.5
Taste: 22
Finish: 21.5

Kamran: 85 pts.


With its unique labeling, we were not exactly sure what we were getting ourselves into when we selected this beer for our tasting. Certainly once we started dividing it between the three of us did we realize we had found something that certainly changed our perceptions of what a lager could be. The rich colour, the sweet balance of 8 malts (Specialty 2-row, 2 types of Pale Ale, Marris Otter, Red Wheat, Cara Munich 60L, Light Munich 6L, Vienna 4L, Flaked Barley) and 6 hops (Warrior, Amarillo, Cascade, Tettenange, Saaz, Hallertau) this delicate balance was held together by the Czech pilsner yeast used by Shmaltz Brewing. It has a bitter and crisp taste mellows out on the palate to a nice smooth, slightly hopped aftertaste. Certainly it would be a beer worth exploring again in the future.

Nose: 20
Body: 18
Taste: 20
Finish: 18

Tristan: 76 pts.


If you went to Coney Island, I’m assuming you would find 2 things; this lager and the iconic Ferris wheel made famous by 1979 film The Warriors. Here’s the kicker…I actually thoroughly enjoy both!

As Kam mentioned above, this really should not be calling itself a lager. Judging by the scent this beer greets you with, which is a surprisingly strong array of hops leading to a pleasant aroma,  Coney Island Lager should really be  Coney Island IPA. The body also does not adhere to the name, as it combines a dark appearance with a smooth texture to create a rather heavy beer that could easily fill you in two or three bottles. The taste is also heavily reminiscent of an IPA, with the hops from the aroma carrying over into the flavour, creating a very bitter, slightly citric tang. The finish continues the IPA style textures, with the citric flavours carrying for around a minute before fading. All in all, a very nice ‘Indian Pale Lager’ which may act as a good starting point for anyone unfamiliar with IPAs. Definitely recommended.

Nose: 23
Body: 21
Taste: 20
Finish: 20

James: 84 pts.


Final Average: 81. 66 pts.

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