It’s been a long time between drinks but it’s not as if I haven’t been doing my research. In fact, for this beer, I went straight to the source and toured the Stone & Wood Brewery in nearby Byron Bay. Why it took me so long to make this pilgrimage to the birthplace of Pacific Ale (surely one of Australia’s top beers), I’ll never know.
Both of my regular readers will know that I’m not a huge fan of wheat beers but The Gatherer may just be an exception. Light and fruity, it has elements honey-dew melon and floral flavours. It would make a nice cooling summer drink or a great accompaniment to a hot curry. Not Stone & Wood’s finest but worth a try. In fact, worth a try every year, as the recipe changes with each seasonal brew.
In truth, having ‘done’ the Stone & Wood Brewery tour, I would say that my judgement has been so clouded that future reviews may be unreliable. What I can say is, if you’re in or near Byron Bay and your remotely interested in the art of brewing, how to run a community business and/or have a good time, then book your place at S&W. Our tour guide was a legend, we learnt plenty about beer and we were having such a good time that the tour over-ran by 45 mins.
From the Kings of Australia craft brewing we go the Queens of The Stoneage and the aptly named “Feelgood Hit Of The Summer (even though it’s Autumn)………..
There was a special ‘Australia Day’ deal at the Gooner IGA, buy a six-pack of Colonial IPA and receive a free glass. Seemed like a pretty good deal, only I like to think of it as buy a glass and get a six-pack of beer free. Free beer always tastes better!
I love this beer! Caramel sugar brown in colour it has a warm, sweet aroma. So, it looks good, smells good and then you taste it! First up is the sweetness of old fashioned barley sugar, a beautiful warm and nostalgic flavour, subtly balanced with a refreshing bitter finish. My new favourite beer.
And get this. The clever people at Colonial Brewing Co have come up with the innovation we’ve all been waiting for, a pull-ring that turns the can into a drinking vessel you can actually drink from ……..
What next? Flying cars?
From the future of drinking we go to the future of heads, here’s the Futureheads with Decent Days And Nights…….
OK, let’s get this straight. When I do a tasting, I taste first, write my notes (or direct to the blog) and then check out the website of the brewery. That way I’m not swayed by what the brewery writes and no one is putting words in my mouth. If I want anything out in my mouth it’s beer.
With Fixation IPA, my notes could have been copied straight off the website:
“FOUR DIFFERENT NEW WORLD HOP VARIETIES HAVE GONE INTO OUR IPA AT ALL STAGES OF THE BREWING PROCESS TO LEND A BIG JUICY, FRUITY AROMA, ROBUST FLAVOUR AND FIRM BITTERNESS. THERE IS A CLEAN PALE MALT BACKBONE WITH A FEW SPECIALTY MALTS FOR GOOD MEASURE, JUST ENOUGH TO CARRY THE RIDICULOUSLY LARGE HOPPING REGIME! THIS BEER IS FOR PEOPLE WITH GREAT TASTE, WHO LOVE A MODERN DAY CLASSIC IPA!”
Actually, that was copied straight off the website.
To be honest, I could only taste 3 different hop varieties but who’s counting?
So what’s to add? Well, only that this little brew has probably got less carbon miles (for me at any rate) than most I taste. It’s brewed just down the road in Byron Bay. At 6.5% it’s has that American IPA punch that we all love and I’m beginning to regret I bought just the one. Believe the hype!
After a few of these I’d be a right Dizzee Rascal. Here’s “Fix Up Look Sharp” (warning: contains bad f$*kin’ language)…….
This my first venture into Kaiju! territory and possibly my first ‘golden IPA’. I’ll have to take their word for the colour as I drank it straight from the bottle, next time I’ll pour it into a glass as I think this beer needs to breath to bring out the best in it.
I detected stone fruit and tobacco as I sniffed the bottle’s mouth (that sounds a bit wrong doesn’t it?) and I was expecting fruit when I took the first swig. Unfortunately, it was the tobacco flavours that shone through immediately, not something you’d associate with an IPA. A JPS, yes, but not an IPA.
This is where the breathing comes in, once the air has got to the ale, it’s more subtle flavours come through, lychee and rockmelon balanced with a grassy bitterness. This all adds up to a very different but satisfying brew and before you know it, the bottle’s empty.
Would I like another one? Affirmative
Would I recommend Robohop to other carbon-based organisms? Affirmative.
Should Kaiju! develop a merch shop with their label designs on t-shirts? Hell yeah!
The Fox is in the hen house alright! Wine maker, Adam Barton branched out into brewing and has come up with a surprisingly complex and pleasing lager.
In Adam’s own words,’ “Like traditional European lagers, a slow cold fermentation and extended maturation has allowed a slow building of clean, crisp lager characters with distinct and engaging hop aromas of grassy florals & spice that are interwoven with the complex biscuity aromas from the use of three types of malt. This is a refreshing lager with low bitterness and a distinct flavour profile that is made with care & patience from natural ingredients.”
This certainly has the characteristics of a German or Czech lager, with solid malty undertones, and a rich golden colour, ‘Biscuity’? Yes, there’s Malted Milk, in there, with a hint of honeydew melon. ‘Refreshing’? Yes, but so so refreshing that you don’t want another one.
If you like lager, you love this. If you like spending money, you’ll love this too. At $156 a case it’s not for your average BBQ or fishing trip, but the cans are 500ml, so you’re getting 12L of quality lager. Cough, cough ……. Christmas is coming……. cough!
Cos it’s a lager n all, I was very much in danger of including Underworld with ‘Born Slippy’ for a third time so here’s the Fleet Foxes with, ‘Ragged Wood’…….
“Untried, Experimental, Limited” is the motto of Stone & Wood‘s Pilot Batch series. At first taste, that motto about summed up this particular brew for me. Saison en Chene, made in collaboration with Jilly Wines from nearby Clunes was not immediately a great match for my palette.
The overwhelming aroma is of yeasty sourdough and at first I thought this was a wheat beer (of which I’m not a great fan). Had I read the label properly, I would have realised it was a ‘Saison’, traditionally a strong, fruity, pale ale with plenty of spice and fizz. The fruit that comes through most strongly with this one is bananas, reminding me somewhat of Hoegaarden ……. strangely a wheat beer I’m quite partial too. However, this beer grew on me as I worked my way down the glass and, like most beers, by the time I’d finished it, I was ready for another! Warning: at 6.7% this one could creep up on you.
From the Saison we get season. Here’s a very thirsty Paul Weller with the wonderful ‘5th Season’…….
First up, apologies for the photo. This looks like I used a Saint Vitus Dance chromatic aberration filter. If only I had a camera.
Here’s what it should look like:
You’ve got the love this beer’s MO. Marmalade orange in colour, it has an inviting aroma of tropical fruit. Coming in at 7.8%, you’d expect this IPA to slap you round the face a bit but it’s surprisingly soft and complex, with undertones of candied orange and Christmas crystallised fruits. It’s a sure-fire winner and the crew at Modus Operandi on Sydney’s Northern Beaches should hold their head high. I’ll be looking out for more of their MO!
Best drunk by a river.
Here’s the a suitable lo-fi Siouxsie and the Banshees with, ‘Tenant’….
I love everything about this beer. I mean, just look at the can! You could frame it and hang it on the wall. And why not, Moo Brew commissioned artist, John Kelly to design all their labels. The Tassie brewers know their stuff and their Single Hop is as classy as the can.
The aroma is warm and floral and the beer pours pale and slightly cloudy with a good head. The taste brings back memories of barley sugar and there’s enough bitterness to keep you mouth-watering until the next sip. On tap, this would be dangerous. More please.
You can tell when you work/life balance is out of whack when you haven’t time to post to your beer blog. Something had to give and the full moon came to the rescue, the beers were calling me. I remember buying this brew a few weeks ago, it was a bit like buying a record or book because you like look of the cover. So I really didn’t know what to expect when I prised the top of the beautifully packaged bottle.
Call me a fool, but I thought it would taste of salt & pepper (not the 80’s female rap duo). Instead, I’m treated to my first taste of a style of beer called, ‘Gose’. According to NOMAD’s website, a Gose is “typically … slightly tart, savoury and spicy (coriander) and light in body and ABV”. Nomad have gone off piste somewhat and added sea water and pepper from Tassie!
This beer certainly smells like summer by the sea, hints of brine and citrus flavours from the coriander combine to evoke memories of fresh oysters out the shell ….. and that can’t be a bad thing. It’s a refreshingly different brew and I love the slightly saline aftertaste…. maybe could do a little more pepper or even tabasco? It leaves your mouth-watering and wanting more. Perfect for a BBQ at the beach.
Continuing the seafood theme, here’s Squeeze with, ‘Pulling Mussels From The Shell’ ……. worth watching for the TOTP countdown alone:
And here was I thinking a Double Cascadian was a complex manoeuvre in the synchronised diving! Turns out it’s a dark ale, a bloody fine one at that.
Now, I’ve never had a single cascadian before but even if it were only half as good as this Double Cascadian, I’d be queueing up for a sample. Manly-based Four Pines Brewing have come up with another winner in this limited keller door release. There’s rich, dark chocolatey aromas and I was blown away by the flavours. Smokey cocoa, Turkish Delight and black cherries all combine to make a complex, rewarding and surprisingly delicious dark craft ale.
Here, with some vintage Mancunian cascade magic is the Stone Roses with, “Waterfall” ……….