COOPERS XPA

Dust off the shaker, pick a few limes, track down some Glacé cherries and grab this cold craft – it’s perfect for cocktail hour conversations.

Origin – Regency Park, South Australia
ABV- 5.2%
Size- 375mL can
Style- Extra Pale Ale

It was back in 1862 when an old stonecutter named Thomas Cooper discovered his talent for brewing by accident, creating his first-ever batch of beer as a tonic for his ailing wife. And, as they say, the rest is history, with Australia's first craft brewer a household name pretty much ever since.

Over the decades the family-run brewery has built a reputation upon not only its beers but also its homebrew kits, with plenty of the brewers releasing beer commercially in Australia today having played around with one at some stage in their brewing education. Notwithstanding that Coopers has set others on a pathway to explore new flavour's and offerings, liquid innovation hasn't been its defining character recently. So, at the ripe old age of 157, and still producing the founders original Sparkling Ale, punters (and their palates) at GABS earlier this year were both surprised and delighted when Coopers announced that they had hit a purple patch, rolling out an XPA that has since been released in this distinctive purple can.

While Port Adelaide fans have to cast their minds back 15 years to Power's last purple patch (defeating the highly fancied Brisbane Lions who were attempting to win a record-equalling fourth straight AFL premiership in 2004 Grand Final), it hasn't been quite that long for this Adelaide-based brewer. They are, however, few and far between – notable successful product launches include the likes of the Celebration Ale launched in 2012 and the Artisan Reserve Pilsner. Yet as was the case for Thomas' original tonic, and on display here once again, when they do it, they do it right! Just like all their beers, this one starts with 100 per cent Australian grown Coopers malt, water drawn from a deep aquifer under the brewery site and their famous ale yeast, which is more than 100 years old, kept in the UK and sent over every six months to be introduced to the beer. The XPA is then blended with an equal ratio of Simcoe and Lemondrop hop. It's all then combined together during a slow fermentation process before being sent to the can for natural conditioning. The result is a remarkably sessional XPA that that sits between an IPA and an American Pale Ale. Characterised by bright citrus undertones, there’s a delightful aroma of grapefruit, lemon and just a hint of mandarin.

It might not have the punch of Sugar Ray Leonard and his 36 | 40 record (25 by KO!), but I wouldn't be surprised if this highly drinkable brew experiences a similar purple patch.

COOPERS

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