Coopers Artisan Reserve


Coopers’ marketing people put together the best packaging!  The Artisan Reserve came in a box shaped like a book!

Disclaimer: Coopers sent me some of the new Artisan Reserve to try.

It’s been a very busy start to 2014 for South Australia’s Coopers Brewery. The family owned brewery ended 2013 having sold a whopping 72 million litres of beer, up almost 5% on 2012’s sales and a company record.

2014 will also see Coopers enter the booming cider market. The company has just signed an agreement with UK cider company, Thatchers, to keg and distribute Thatchers Gold (the second largest draught cider in the UK). Thatchers is also a family owned business and creates, in addition to its Gold, a range of single varietal and even vintage ciders. We all know that the Australian cider market is booming but unfortunately much of what is available is actually mass produced (see Max Allen’s excellent dissection of the cider market, published just before Christmas) so it’s great to see that Coopers has been able to enter the market by taking a different route.

And finally, 2014 sees the launch of Artisan Reserve. This is an unpasteurised pilsner, so it lines up well with Coopers’ bottle conditioned ales (such as Sparkling and Pale), which are also unpasteurised. I’m already a bit of a fan of the Celebration Ale so I was excited to try out this new beer.

Very generously, I shared one of my bottles with Andy, who is really the resident beer (rather than ale) expert in our household. Andy is already a fan of Coopers 62 (although he is not keen on the 355mL bottles!) and Coopers Lager is one of his ‘regular’ beers. However, his favourite beer of all is the Czech Budvar. As that’s a pilsner and Coopers has used Bavarian hops in producing the Artisan Reserve the Coopers offering was up against some stiff competition!

The verdict? Fortunately – extremely positive all round! The beer is dry, crisp and citrussy and, despite coming in at 5.5% alcohol, the beer is not dominated by the alcohol. We both thought it very similar to Czech pilsners such as Budvar and Urquell – which is high praise in this household.

The Artisan Reserve is widely available (cases of 355mL bottles retail for around $55) and you will see it in some bars on draught. During the week I spotted it at Regattas, where it was $6 for a schooner.

I know this, because I bought one!

Coopers Vintage Ale Launch Lunch

disclaimer: I attended the lunch as a guest of Coopers Brewery.

date of lunch: Friday 5 July 2013


You may recall that last year I enjoyed the Coopers Vintage Ale launch lunch at the Earl of Aberdeen.

This year I was lucky enough to be invited again, and, as a teaser, a beautiful box of the soon to be released Vintage Ale arrived on my doorstep the week before. It’s a tough life when you not only get a free lunch but also some free beer!

I almost had to miss the lunch this year* but luckily the planets lined up and lunch time saw me at the Earl of Aberdeen, ready to taste the new Vintage Ale, as well as a couple of back vintages.

Proceedings started in the bar with Celebration Ales all round and canapés in the form of chorizos wrapped in filo, baked and presented as cigars. Sausages wrapped in filo pastry should definitely become a ‘thing’!

This year, there was more dining space opened up for the lunch, as well as a seating plan. This was great because it meant the Coopers staff were spread amongst the diners and (hopefully) gave everyone a chance to chat to someone from the brewery.


The menu, put together by the Earl’s chef with Masterchef runner up, Michael Weldon, really focussed on using beer in food. To accompany lunch, we were served the 2007, 2009 and current release Vintage Ales. Entré (easily dish of the day, for me) was scallops and prawns, served with linguine and a Coopers Pale Ale beurre blanc. This was great: the scallops were huge, the seafood was beautifully cooked and I loved the presentation. The sauce had a richness to it which I guess came from the beer but it wasn’t overwhelmingly beer-y in anyway. The pasta also deserves a mention: it was perfectly cooked and delicious.

This was followed by a 2007 Vintage Ale sorbet. I was very indifferent to this but I suspect part of the problem was the HUGE portion. I’d expect a palate cleanser to be two mouthfuls at most but this was almost dessert size in proportion and I found the vanilla notes (also present in the aged Vintage Ale) really over the top.


Main course was beef cheeks – cooked in the current release Vintage Ale, naturally. Last year’s epic steak was a really tough act to follow (and seriously, everyone I know who went last year remembers that steak!) but this was a tasty and hearty meal – quite essential on what was a freezing (by Adelaide standards!) day.


Lunch wrapped up with panettone, served with (you guessed it!) Vintage Ale custard.

The lunch is held annually (first Friday in July – if you want to mark it in your calendar!) and is a great way to taste some back vintages of the Vintage Ale, as well as have a big lunch! It’s a lighthearted way to learn more about both Coopers and beer.

The 2013 Vintage Ale is available now, until sold out, at about $76 a case. Selected pubs will also have it on draught.


* Regular readers may know that my household includes a toddler. He has recently made an unscheduled, but thankfully short and successful (if that’s the right word!), trip to hospital. Everyone is home, happy and healthy. Having seen first hand the smile it brings to a small person in hospital, I’d encourage you to consider donating a bear to your local hospital. If the feel good factor isn’t enough, your donation will help raise funds for cancer research AND be a tax deduction.

Coopers Celebrates Bathurst

UPDATE:  Coopers has just extended its partner agreement with the V8 Supercars to the end of the 2015 season.

In the run up to this year’s Bathurst 1000 (4-7 October) Coopers has released a special Bathurst pack.

In the same year that Coopers celebrates its 150th birthday, Bathurst is marking its own milestone: its 50th anniversary.

The Bathurst Pack contains 20 cans of specially labelled Coopers Mild Ale and is only available in the run up to the Bathurst weekend.

Coopers is a major sponsor and the exclusive beer partner of the V8 Supercars.