Name: Vintage Ale
Style: English Strong Ale
Source: O’Carrolls freehouse (Auckland)
Fuck Yeah Cooper’s Vintage Ale!!
Apologies for that somewhat boisterous introduction, but that’s how I feel about this beer. That’s how I feel about Malt, man! And I want to sing it from the rooftops!
(I know I can’t because I asked my boss and she said it wouldn’t be a good look, especially since I work for the AA. Not the Alcoholics one, the driving one. Neither of which are ideal.)
I could tell I was going to like it as soon as I poured it. A glowing hazy amber with an INSANE amount of sediment speckled throughout. It didn’t sink either, just floated there, making the beer look thick as custard.
It smelled like toffee, but also like plum liqueur, raisins, and botrytis dessert wine. In the mouth it tasted like all those things, but with a whoosh of sweet, caramel malt and lively carbonation. And then – this is the really great part – it was gone. Zip. No sticky residue, no cloying mouthfeel, just a crisp, bitter finish. It made me want to have another sip as soon as I finished the last – and that, in my mind, is the sign of a good beer.
I do realise that, having just discovered the wondrous joys of malt, I’m probably like an excited toddler right now: loving anything malt-forward and not being too discerning about the other things going on. I think that’s what happened when I first dicovered hops, and now I’ve gone off some of the really hoppy beers that I used to love. (In fact, wasn’t going to admit this but I think I have to: I had a HopWired last night and I didn’t enjoy it. Remember how excited I was when I first tried that??)
But that’s part of why this is so exciting for me – constantly discovering new things, and growing more in touch with what I do and don’t like. Often I love things simply for their newness (even if I don’t like the taste that much) and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that either. What am I talking about? I don’t know. I’ve gone off on a tangent and now I’m lost…
Fuck Yeah Coopers Vintage Ale!