I’m not sure how well it does in reflecting its glory on the regular Crown, but the Ambassador Reserve is a pretty good beer and Fosters do a sensational job of packaging it to be the ideal gift.
I was fortunate to try a bottle of the 2009 Jacobsen no. 2 from Carlsberg, which at the time that I tried it was worth a shade under $500 a stubby after allowing for the conversion from its 2009 Kroner RRP. With his more forensic palate Ian Watson was reasonable impressed with the Jacobsen; me, I didn’t get it and saw it as a beer that was solely about making headlines as the World’s Most Expensive Beer. I generally defer to Ian’s superior palate with these things, but beer is something that you have to be able to enjoy on some level. I couldn’t with the Carlsberg. The Crown Ambassador Reserve on the other hand is a beer that you can enjoy and you can see where the value goes (including a fair whack into the packaging). I do look forward to trying it again after the recommended 5 years to see how it ages.
Walter and I spoke with brewer John Cozens on the Beer Show last Sunday night. You can hear what John said here:
If you want to see what sort of hyperbole the Fosters marketers and PRs have to say about it, the media release is below…watch to see how many times you see these words crop up unedited in the media over the next few weeks…
There’s a funny thing about when Fosters, or any other big brewery for that matter, create a good beer. Their regular advertising blurbs are generally so heavy into the brand speak and oversell for things that are pretty plain that they just have to go into overdrive when they do something that is special. As to how special something like “krausening” is to a beer, you can gauge that yourself given that Budweiser (the US one, not the Czech one) boast about krausening ‘The Great American Lager’.
Anyway, hyperbole or not, based on last year’s, I expect this to be a good beer and well worth its $70…will let you know when I try it.
Crown Ambassador Reserve provides limited-edition luxury with the arrival of its second annual vintage this August
The second vintage of Crown Ambassador Reserve Lager launches this August, in what has become an eagerly anticipated annual event amongst beer and fine living connoisseurs.
Crown Ambassador Reserve defines luxury beer in the Australian market, after pioneering the category when it was first launched in 2008. Testament to the evolving Australian palate and new appreciation for more refined products, 6,000 individually numbered, exquisitely packaged champagne-style bottles of the limited-edition 2009 vintage will be available at selected quality retailers, restaurants and bars.
Crown Ambassador Reserve is one of the most expensive Australian beers available. Befitting the liquid inside, the price tag reflects the handcrafted and personalised approach to brewing, quality ingredients and impeccable presentation, where each bottle is individually wax-sealed and numbered. Crown Ambassador Reserve is suited to beer, wine and fine food appreciators; those who enjoy life’s luxuries and for gifting to mark special occasions.
John Cozens, Crown Ambassador Reserve Master Brewer comments on the success of the first release, “The majority of the 2008 vintage sold out within weeks, much quicker than we anticipated, with requests coming in from around the world long after the brew had sold out. The handcrafted nature of Crown Ambassador Reserve, along with its ability to be cellared, its finite run, and the fact that it’s released only once a year, made this a very appealing beer and collector’s item.”
Cozens and a small team of dedicated brewers combined their expertise to brew the beer and oversee each step. Right from selecting and hand-picking the green Galaxy hops, which are a unique ingredient of the brew (these green Galaxy hops are added fresh to the kettle, a unique approach as most hops are added to the brew once dried and pelletted), to some of the more unusual and interesting brewing techniques, everything about the process is carefully planned and executed to ensure the end result is the finest quality.
Meticulous care is taken to ensure only the first runnings of the beer’s wort (pronounced wert) run off are used, these are the highest concentrated extraction of malt sugars, which provide a richer mouth-feel in the finished beer. Other techniques such as ‘krausening’, a longer in-tank maturation compared to regular beers (eight weeks before it’s bottled and then four weeks in bottle before release) and bottle conditioning all combine to create a wonderfully complex, unique and layered lager.
While the 2009 edition is instantly recognisable as Crown Ambassador Reserve, it has its own individual ‘vintage profile’ due to the addition of sweet crystallised malt and additional fresh Galaxy hops. The crystallised malt gives the lager a deeper amber hue and a more toffee-like malt character, while the extra fresh hops enhance the signature bitter-sweet hop notes.
Crown Ambassador Reserve is designed to mature and develop with age, similar to a fine wine. It should be enjoyed in a Shiraz glass to allow the flavours and aromas to be released and appreciated. If cellared correctly (at or below 15 degrees celsius) it can be kept for up to ten years. Cozens does however recommend patience will be best rewarded after around five years, when the flavours and aromas will have reached their peak.
Crown Ambassador Reserve was established to honour the heritage and traditions that underpin the original Crown Lager. In doing so, the same base ingredients are used in the brew, including the best malted barley, Crown Lager yeast strain and Pride of Ringwood hops.
Crown Lager has a longstanding history, which dates back 90 years. It was first brewed in 1919 then reserved only for visiting and travelling ambassadors and dignitaries until Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II made her first visit to Australia as Queen in 1954 when it was released to the public. In a tribute to history, the number one bottle of the new 2009 vintage will be sent to The Queen on the 2nd of June, marking the anniversary of her coronation in 1953. It’s expected this bottle will join the number one bottle of the inaugural 2008 vintage in her royal cellars.
Crown Ambassador Reserve is best enjoyed alongside rich and decadent food flavours, including prime meats, strong flavoured vintage cheeses and winter root vegetables.
John Cozens explains that the 2009 vintage is superb; “The rich lager has a velvety smooth taste with
a warming sensation that fills the mouth. Sweet caramelised malt characters are balanced with
traces of vanilla and curry leaf; the aroma is of vibrant fresh fruit, with a hint of honey and
passionfruit undertones.” With excitement and anticipation high around the 2009 release, interested parties should act quickly to ensure they don’t miss the extremely exclusive and scarce second vintage.
Crown Ambassador Reserve 2009 is available in 750ml bottles at selected quality restaurants, bars and liquor stores throughout Australia from the 3rd August 2009, RRP is $69.99 per bottle. Each bottle contains 6 standard drinks and 10.2% ABV. For more information please visit:
http://www.crownbeverages.com.au or call 1800 007 282 for stockist information. Quantities are limited to 6,000 bottles only.