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!

FruChocs World Recipes

ChurrosLand3thmbchurros with FruChoc dipping sauce

I’m always keen to wave a banner for South Australian goods, services and individuals. And I am also something of a food television programme junkie. Even the ones I don’t like, I find myself watching (although, at the moment, that may have something to do with the dearth of quality television …).

Cast your mind back a season to Channel 7’s My Kitchen Rules. I was convinced that there was no way that the two South Australian teams would be ‘allowed’ in the final but I was wrong, and Nic and Rocco fought it out against Leigh and Jennifer. Leigh and Jennifer triumphed and Leigh Sexton is now working with iconic South Australian brand, Robern Menz.

Leigh will be putting together recipes that explore the “flavours of the world” – all using the mighty FruChoc. So think croquembouche (France), churros (Spain) or kourabiedes (Greece).

The recipes will be available on the Robern Menz website.

And if you can’t hit the kitchen immediately here’s some trivia to digest.

Did you know that interstate the iconic FruChoc is actually known as a Menz Choc Apricot Ball? A mouthful, maybe, but true!

The Kytons Fruchoc Hot Cross Bun


disclaimer: I was sent some of these hot cross buns to try. I did share them.

Easter is just around the corner. Seriously. It’s super early this year. Petrol prices have risen. I daresay Haighs is packed with shoppers already and no doubt the supermarkets are overflowing with the annual panic buying that accompanies a four day long weekend.

So if you’re not a baker but you are out buying, Kytons Bakery and FruChocs have paired up to create a truly South Australian hot cross bun. You get the spiciness of the hot cross bun, combined with both chocolate and the peach and apricot flavours of the FruChocs.

Quite obviously a hot cross bun for the sweet tooths and/or die-hard South Australians in your life!

The hot cross buns are available in all Drake and Romeo Foodlands and you may well spot them in many other IGAs or independent supermarkets.  There is also a pop up store at West Lakes.

Both RobernMenz, which produces FruChocs, and Kytons Bakery, are locally owned companies with a very long South Australian history between them. So make sure you push your hot cross bun money towards these businesses.