Whether you need to lay yourself down or give a friend a hand up, this brew is perfect for a conversation about how to be a ‘bridge over troubled water’ for a mate.
Origin – Hurlstone Park, New South Wales
ABV – 5.0%
Size – 375mL can
Style – Amber Ale
They called it the river that died of shame, with the common joke for those living on its banks, that if you fell in, you'd dissolve. Its water had become a cocktail of diesel, mercury, battery acid and cyanide - so toxic, the fish died, and the birds fled. Yet it wasn’t always so. When Captain Cook found the river in 1770, he described it as a "fine stream of drinking water”. Indeed, in the late 1800s, the river was thick with swimmers. Its rich history includes a connection to brewing, both past and present with St Peters brewery Willie the Boatman, named after William Kerr, a Scottish convict who rowed A.B. Sparks and his visitors across the Cooks River in the 1830s to enjoy a refreshing ale in his Tempe home overlooking the waterway.
With a little help, not only is the river on the up, so is the craft beer scene that surrounds it with Cooks River Brewing becoming the latest to join the likes of Willie the Boatman, Batch and Stockade. Like the watercourse itself, the helping hand for Ben Hamilton and Nathan Eason who founded Cooks River Brewing came from individuals generous with their time. Having won the opportunity to brew a batch commercially at Frenchies through a homebrewing competition, head brewer Vincent De Soyres charitably offered so much more than a few pieces stainless steel, getting beside the lads to perfect an American brown ale recipe that lads had been painstakingly working on for years. The combined effort was clearly worth it, with their debut beer going on to join some extremely illustrious company in Peter Lalor’s Top 20 beers of 2019 in the Australian.
Although it's been a whirlwind since then, juggling their newly found professional brewing careers with day jobs that actually pay the bills, the duo has managed to release another two beers, the most recent, this Amber Ale. Following in the footsteps of the brown, it’s an American style twist on a traditional English amber. Deep in copper colour, the double hopping with floral Centennial and spicy Chinook during boil and fermentation serves up a distinctive aroma of citrus and pine with a hint of sour grapefruit, that's balanced perfectly in the mouth with a malt base and late dry bitterness.
Thankfully it's not made with Cooks River water, else it may have dissolved my insides rather than just my thirst!