Stone and Wood Pacific Ale
Style: Pale Ale / Golden Ale
Size: 330ml (Bottle)
Its summer Down Under.
More specifically it’s Boxing Day in Australia, which means two things; Cricket and Beer. Both of which I love in equal measure.
The Boxing Day test is an institution of the Australian Summer. It is undoubtedly the biggest day of test cricket in the world. Every year a test match is played, starting on Boxing Day, at the MCG (the home of test cricket) between Australia and a visiting opponent. And living now as I do in London, I miss it. Watching it on Sky Sports in the middle of the night only accentuates the pangs of homesickness.
Australia is undergoing its own craft beer revolution; however Big Beer is more involved than in the UK. Big Beer owns or has stakes in a number of key craft brands including Little Creatures, White Rabbit, Mountain Goat, Matilda Bay, Bluetongue and Malt Shovel (brewer of James Squire). There are however a number of independent craft brewers including Four Pines, Vale, KAIJU and Stone and Wood making fantastic beer. Given the events of the past week, perhaps Australia is a glimpse into the future of the UK craft beer scene?
Stone and Wood is based in Byron Bay, the idyllic coastal town on the far northern NSW coast. Stone and Wood’s Pacific Ale is fast becoming an Aussie staple. It ranked #2 in the Hottest 100 Beers of 2014 and should do well again in 2015 when the results are announced in January. It’s instantly recognisable with its golden label. I have been back in Australia a few times over the past year or so and this has been a revelation for me, along with Four Pines Kolsch (which I couldn’t find it in London) and Vale IPA. Pacific Ale is so light and fruity, with strong grapefruit, pineapple and peach flavours. I’ll be drinking this as a tonic for homesickness!
As a sub-note, I was blown away by my trip to Brisbane. My sister and brother-in-law live in Teneriffe, an inner city, riverside suburb previously home to the wool trade that is being transformed into a high density residential area. Within walking distance of their flat is not one, but two craft breweries, complete with impressive tap rooms. The Green Beacon and Newstead Breweries are less that 500m apart and are housed within converted industrial lots. Sadly I could only stay for one in each, but what struck me was the passion for beer by both the brewers and the consumers. A trip to Teneriffe is now a must for any beer lovers who find themselves in Brisbane.
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