Coopers is the brewery synonymous with South Australia, and still remains the largest Australian owned brewery. On a recent trip to Adelaide, I was able to dive head first into their range of brews (there is more to them then their pale ale), and wasn’t going to let the opportunity go to pass on trying their 2014 Extra Strong Vintage Ale, an annual release weighing in at 7.5%.
The name Vintage suggests it must be good, a recipe handed down and refined over the years to the brewers of today, and this is evidenced in the pour, which gives it that “old” feel – a delightful dark amber colour, with a thick creamy head which leaves plenty of lacing down the glass. It’s a beautifully smooth beer in the mouth, with earth and piney hops coming through, backed up by a light malt backbone, which generates a bit of sweetness.
It may have a sturdy ABV compared to other beers, but it doesn’t come across strong tasting in the slightest, and is just a very well balanced English-style ale, which would be easy drinking in either summer or winter. It’s a shame it’s only a limited release each year, but that adds to it’s mystic and ensures it doesn’t get overrun by brewing practices which keep a larger batch fresh for longer.
Drunk: off tap