Barley grown in the Murray Mallee of South Australia and a new combination of hops are key features of Coopers 2019 Vintage Ale.
Drinks Trade tried the new beer – the 19th in the series of Vintage Ales that commenced in 1998 – at celebratory event in Sydney today.
Coopers Managing Director and Chief Brewer Dr Tim Cooper took guests through a special tasting of the brew at The Arthouse Hotel.
Coopers Vintage Ales traditionally are strongly driven by hop selection, and the 2019 version continues this theme by highlighting Mosaic, an American hop variety that has become one of the favourites of the craft beer world since its release in 2012.
Mosaic has been paired with Cascade hops, which results in apricot, citrus fruits and pine aromas complementing roasted malt, nuts and toffee notes on the palate, enhanced by a clean bitterness and a smooth velvety finish.
Cooper said that Compass barley from the Mallee region had been chosen to produce the malt for this year’s Vintage Ale.
“Compass barley is hardy and high yielding, allowing the brew to deliver a hefty alcohol content, yet still retain a fine malt sweetness,” he explained.
“Judicious blending with a dark crystal malt has given this year’s Vintage its alluring copper hue, and a rich, creamy head. This beer drinks well immediately, but will evolve and develop over time with bitterness levels gradually receding and sweet malt and toffee flavours emerging.”
Last year, Coopers used malt from single origin Westminster barley grown on Kangaroo Island.
Like all Coopers ales, the 2019 Vintage Ale undergoes secondary fermentation and natural conditioning. Coopers 2019 Vintage Ale retains an alcohol level of 7.5% ABV.
Coopers Marketing and Innovation Director Cam Pearce said only a limited quantity of kegs and cartons were available and Vintage Ale lovers should act quickly to ensure supply.
“Seasonal releases of beer have become popular in recent years with the craft movement,” Pearce said. “Coopers has been bringing an annual seasonal release to market for the past 20 years and we are proud to continue this with a greater focus on the seasonal aspect and the origins of the ingredients.”
Coopers 2019 Vintage Ale is priced from around $90 per carton, or around $30 per six pack of 355 ml bottles.