Byron Bay is known for its hippy vibe and laid back atmosphere. You’ll most likely hear about the Arts Factory hostel and the trips to Nimbin which used to host the original Aquarius Festival in the 70s. It attracts a lot of alternative types and for a good reason. As you wonder around it’s tranquil atmosphere is really catching. Most days are spent on the beach lazing and catching surf, watching the sunrise or sunset with a few beers in hand. Not a bad way to live. It’s so infectious you may not want to leave. Ever.
When I first got to Byron Bay, I turned up at the Railway Friendly Bar on band night and asked the bartender what they would recommend to try on draught. She recommended a schooner of Stone & Woods Pacific Ale and I took her up on the recommendation.. I never looked back. I’ve never fell in love with a beer so quickly!
It was kind of cloudy, looked strong but went down smooth and, to me, tasted of passionfruit. I had to get another.
For the next few days that’s all I drank and it was on tap at most of the bars in Byron and I found out why…
Their brewery was down the road.
When I learned this, I researched their website and saw they were providing guided tours. I had to visit and so booked in to check what it was all about.
The Brewery Tour
When I arrived they were blaring out blues music and started off by giving us a taster of their Pacific Ale.. a really good start! I won’t give too much away so you can experience it for yourself. They then told us a bit about the brewing process and how different types of hops can affect the taste of the beer and give it that Passion fruit taste.
What I noticed was how friendly and knowledgeable the guides were about beer, I supposed you’d have to be to run these sorts of tours but they were so passionate about it – you couldn’t help but be interested too! They seemed like a family and let you in on the laughs and the history of the friends who set it up.
Beers in hand, the group then moved round to the different equipment they use. Currently, the main part of Stone & Woods brewing happens at a bigger factory in Murwillumbah so there wasn’t any active brewing going on when we were there. But seeing the process it goes through, from just water to the beer I was holding was incredible.
After the tour was over, our host then gave us samples of four more of their craft beers! We got to try the whole range; Garden Ale, Jasper Ale, Green Coast Lager and a seasonal beer. All had different tastes from the different hops they use. They provided quite a large glass a time and so depending how you take your beer, i’d take it easy!
They also sell some tees, beer mats and you can purchase some bottles while you’re there too. or online via their website – kudos to the guys that mailed this to me all the way from Aus to the UK, legends!
I was a little more than tipsy on leaving and so for only $AU 20 a tour, it’s well worth your money! It takes around an hour and you can book online via their website. Booking is highly recommended as tours are popular and they only take 15 people at a time. But, if you just want to try, you can head there for a sample pallet too.
The brewery is located in the industrial estate up the road from the main part of town. Walking it will take you around 20 minutes.
The Best Beer in Australia
Out of all the beers that I tasted in Australia, Pacific Ale was without doubt, the very best. The smoothness and flavour kept me going back.
Whats great about it is they don’t believe in artificial preservatives or additives. They brew in the traditional sense of Water, Hops, Malt and Yeast. All Natural, tastes incredible and doesn’t even feel like you’re drinking beer half the time. It’s the perfect addition to those hazy Byron Bay sunsets on the beach and I will always remember it for that. One of my best memories of the East Coast.
As I live in UK, I am extremely envious of those that can go down their local for a pint of it. I can only hope it will eventually be stocked here in Britain.
Stone & Wood are just an awesome brand and I hope you get to try it too. Next time you’re in Byron, pick up a cold one. You won’t regret it!
Have you tried Stone & Wood? Or visited their brewery? Comment below!