Wallaby & Platypus
Style: Australian Sparkling / Pale Ale
Grain: Pilsner, Maris Otter, Crystal Light
Hops: Rakau, Moutere
Fermented with English yeast
Tasting notes: light and refreshing, fresh biscuit and hint of caramel, tropical fruit and herbal earthy hops, crisp finish
Pair with: blistered shishito peppers, tuna poke, Beyond the King's Burger, Moho Tacos
There was a small homebrew shop in the next town over when I first started the hobby and the owner would always have a few cans of Cooper's Sparkling Ale extract kits. The idea was that you could take the contents of that can, add some sugar and water, boil, chill, add the little packet of yeast taped to the can, and you'd have beer. Not necessarily a great beer – hops are conspicuously absent from those steps – but it was beer – that YOU made. And occasionally I'd stumble upon a dusty bottle of actual Cooper's Sparkling Ale at a store or restaurant and even though they were indeterminably old, they were tasty.
Then the beer, and its own unique style of "Australian Sparkling Ale" started to fade away. The extract cans became more difficult to find, as did the commercial examples. Which is a shame, because as a style, it really is a unique beast – either crystal clear or with a little yeast haze. They're fizzy and like all good fizzy beers, they don't have heavy, ponderous malts and they finish dry with a burst of hops – in other words, they're perfect thirst quenchers for a hot day. With the recent surge in popularity of Australian and New Zealand hops, it's time to give this style another chance!
In drinking this, the first thing you'll notice is the mix of earth and tropical fruit in the nose. Those are the New Zealand and Australian hops. There are German and British forces at play here too, so expect biscuit and fresh bread along with just a hint of British toffee. It finishes quick and clean and gets out of the way for your next drink. Chur bro!