I don’t love to gush about freebies, and often don’t love taking them with all the baggage they bring but I would be some sort of idiot to turn down a free trip to Byron Bay to take part in the Stone and Wood annual Stone brew day.
An all expenses trip to the beachside town of Byron Bay just as Melbourne starts showing autumnal signs? Yeah, ok, I’ll accept that one.
To avoid this being a “they invited me, made me feel as welcome as you could imagine, and all I paid for was a chicken schnitzel roll late on Saturday night” gusher of a post I’ll make this as succinct as possible in bullet point form.
- The sales reps, along with the teams at both the production brewery and original brewery are all extremely happy, friendly and nice. Which I’m sure is a reflection of the company as a whole.
- Every Pacific Ale I had in Byron was tasting fresh and lively. In the past around Melbourne I’ve found it doesn’t always hold up so well. When you are that close to the brewery however, it is hard to beat that beer.
- I wish they would do a brettanomyces version of Pacific Ale. I wish it a lot.
- The Beers of the Earth series (still on shelves) is a great insight into the skill the brewers have. I thoroughly enjoyed each one with the highlights being the IPA, Saison and Porter.
- It was exciting watching the brewers talk about the series and how much they enjoyed filling the tanks at the old brewhouse with new beers.
- We should expect to see more one off or unique beers from them too
- They have recently appointed a sustainability manager who was excited to talk about the plans they have for waste minimisation and the like. Something I believe strongly in.
- Watching the brewday unfold while also enjoying standing around the fire that heats the stones (to be placed into the beer once heated up to caramalise some of the wort) is a perfect way to spend an evening.
- I am still a little skeptical as to how effective the hot stones are at doing the intended job. But I respect that it’s fun and fun is important.
- My run on the beach in the morning, slightly hungover, in bare feet, along the waters edge was the best run I’ve ever had.
- People in Byron are mostly all very attractive and tanned. This is more noticable when you are Melbourne-white, and wearing mostly black
- We had breakfast at the new Three Blue Ducks farm/cafe. It was superb and the black pudding was some of the best I’ve had.
- This year’s Stone beer is really nice, with malt layers for days, but has a bit too much charred flavour for me right now. They were kind enough to give me one of the fancy earthenware bottles that I shall leave for at least a month or two and I reckon it will be hitting its stride.
- I hope they invite me back next year but would like others to enjoy it also. It was an amazing two days and I couldn’t feel more privileged to be invited to such a thing.
- I hope they make a brettanomyces Pacific Ale one day. I know I said this already but I think it needs to be reaffirmed.