Monday, October 03, 2005

Cooper's Sparkling Ale

So this weekend, Stan returned from San Diego to the wilds of Puget Sound for the weekend. There were dinners and discussions and cool stuff about the Serenity movie. In honor of his return, I hosted a irregular meeting of the Alliterates, our irregular writing group.

It was pretty nice - Steve, Wolf, and Jess showed up, brats were boiled, hamburgers broiled, and we engaged in gossip and witty banter that would put the Algonquin Roundtable to shame. However, the Patented Alliterate Zone of Silence prevents me from sharing any of this. Instead, I will merely speak well of Wolf, better know as the Monkey King and his choice of beers.

I was cooking the meal, and asked the others to bring drinkables. Wolf asked me what beer I would prefer, and I retorted immediately "Cooper's Sparkling Ale". Now, this is my standard response, since Cooper's is one of the rarer beers I know of, and I never expect anyone to have it.

Its a rare beer because it's an Australian beer - more importantly, a South Australian beer that I discovered when the Lovely Bride and I were in Adelaide, South Australia, on an Earthwatch mission, many (many) years ago. Many things still stick in my memory of that trip, but one was the hot, dry heat of Kangaroo island, and the other was the fact that we broke for tea in the middle of the afternoon. And by "tea" I mean that beer was served. And the beer was Cooper's Sparkling Ale, the local brew, which was always served with the remark "It's better than Foster's".

I would call Cooper's a blonde beer, similar to Red Hook, with a nice sweet taste and not too much in the hops. So for years afterwards I have kept an eye out for the beer. And in places that brag "560 Beers on tap" I would order it, and always be disappointed.

Well, Wolf found it. He found it at Larry's Market (no, I'm not saying which one). It's not on display, but is kept in the back for special requests. Yep, it's a secret beer. And I insisted on sharing it with the others when he brought it in.

How was it? I think it is best drunk in the arid warmth of a South Australian January, with wallabies bouncing around, and it had almost a slight gritty aftertaste, perhaps the result of settling. But it was the brew that I remember, and I appreciate it.

And I squirreled away the last bottle for after work today.

More later,