20 July 2012

Stone & Wood

On our way back home from our trip to Malaysia and Thailand via the Gold Coast we pulled in to Byron Bay on NSW's north coast to check out one of Australia's most innovative Breweries  in terms of beer Style, Stone & Wood. This visit would also turn out  be one my best beer experiences ever!

Being a Saturday afternoon the brewery was actually closed for business but just by chance we were greeted by Ross Jurisich one of the founders of Stone and Wood Brewing  at the gate as he was there with his mates doing a father and son brew day.... and after a quick chat he kindly offered to show me and the fam around!

Stone and wood produce one of my favorite beers ever Pacific Ale which was formally known as Draught Ale which is hopped with a fairly new hop to the brewing scene-Galaxy- a hop that produces an awesome fruity passion fruit aroma and taste- which also in fact is an Australian hop!

It has become one of the PROPERBEERMATE staple of beers (which is very rare these days as I am always looking to try something new)  awesome off tap and great out of the bottle too as long as it's poured correctly for example slowly pour half of the bottle into the glass first then swirl the remainder round for a bit and again pour the rest in!

Awesome passion fruit aroma on the nose, sparkly almost wheat beer and very well carbonated mouth feel going down with the accompaniment refreshing taste of fruity hops going down. The after taste is awesome on this brew again with the Galaxy hops playing center stage with basically no bitterness linger coming into play at all. Great for hot day at the beach!

This brew is a really good converter beer for people not really into craft brew- it really is that approachable! A good food match would be a basic Chicken Schnitzel with heaps of lemon and salty chips or a serve of tapas style Garlic Prawns would also go great!

Back to the brewery tour ......

As Ross showed us around the fantastic but simple set up  the main center piece were the two newest members of the Stone and Wood Brewery the twin 10,000 litre tower vessels stood out in the centre like beacons of triumph in the craft brewery  and could tell Ross was very proud of them.  Looks like there's gonna be alot more of Stone and Wood's brews out in the wild soon!

It was great to listen to Ross explain the brewing process at the brewery of basically keeping it simple and user friendly to achieve at the end of the day a tasty brew. We had a smell of the hops including some great fresh Hersbrucker which is a spicy noble hop used in Stone &Wood's  Jasper Ale~ a kinda German alt/Amber ale styled brew.

Another great brew from these guys, Enticing red hue and a dark amber colour on the pour  along with with some spicy hoppy aroma paired with the smell of rich maltiness. Goes down smooth as while giving a ever so slight hop bitter bite on the aftertaste. Pretty much a to me a all seasons beer with would pair great with a spicy Beef Rendang or a hearty hot pot stew!

But I must say the best part of the tour was having a cheeky taste of the beer straight out of the fermentation tanks above.... Above: Oooh fresh Pacific Ale just about ready to be bottled an kegged! So fresh and tasty a little on the warm side from ale fermentation temps but definitely one of my best beer experiences ever! Cheers Ross!

A great innovation by stone and wood recently is the Mash Collective-rather than going down the well trodden path of doing collab brews with other brewers,  The Stone & Wood guys give the everyday beer lovers and homebrewers the chance to come and put together a style of beer and brew it together.  I Present to you the Amasia Rumweizen!

A very interesting brew.... hints of strong sweet maltyness on the nose and pours a cloudy dark amber with good carbonation. It tastes sensational extremely smooth going down with a big rum raisin ice cream flavor and a tiny rum burn/bite paired with well placed sweet malt on the finish. A absolute cracker of a brew! Reminds me of a good German Dunkle but... with balls! Get it if you see it in your local.....Goes great on a cold rainy night!

Stone Beer is another brew that the the guys bring out once a year which is brewed by a more traditional way of brewing by grabbing some stones and heating them in a wood fire at the brewery. A very tasty brew that from what I hear ages well.

Their 2012 release is out now and I plan to grab some to review!

A German styled Pale Lager is also a flagship brew by the Stone & Wood crew which I have had the pleasure indulging in a fair while back..... I plan to pick up a case or two this Summer!

Again Cheers to Ross for taking the time out to show us around and good on the rest of the Stone & Wood crew at beaut Byron Bay for making truly approachable and tasty brews for the average punter and beer geek alike!

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