Sunday, November 02, 2003

A thought

I have only been taking beer seriously for 18 months or so. Part of it has been that I have had a medical problem that means my stomach doesn't cope well with anything acidic, and beer is gentler on it than is wine. Part of it is that I have had to watch how much money I spend, and drinking beer - even good beer - is cheap compared to drinking good wine or whisky, which can be horribly expensive. Even the best beer only costs two or three pounds a bottle.

However, the nice thing is that I have discovered that the world of beer is rich and interesting.

Prior to leaving Australia, I drank beer from time to time, but didn't think about it much. I generally just drank middle of the road lagers, and more interesting beer less regularly. Although I had drunk Coopers occasionally, and it was clearly good beer, I had never thought about it much. It's much cloudier than Australian mass produced beers, and has a rather maltier taste than the lagers, although it isn't a wheat beer. It isn't ale, either, and although the bottled versions are bottle conditioned, they are much bubblier than English bottle conditioned beers.

However, over the last year I have been drinking lots of beer abroad, and I have been wondering just how the Coopers actually compares. Guides to the world's beers often list it, and say that it is very good, but my previous experience of it were prior to all the interesting beers I have consumed in the last while. However, I have still been known to bring the beer up if someone chose to knock Australian beer. "You should try this one. It's very good" is always a useful argument.

But, yesterday, I had the chance. I went to a pub in the Sydney neighbourhood of Newtown, and there was a replay of Australia beating India at cricket on the TV screen, and Coopers sparkling ale on tap. What more could I want. My memories and the beer books were correct. The beer was indeed very good. You should try it.

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