This post is part of Crazy Cellar Clearout Week, where we review some of the beers in our cellar so we can start 2014 fresh. You can see all the beers we’ve reviewed in 2013 here.
Sometimes described as “sunshine in a glass”, Stone & Wood’s Pacific Ale is one of Australia’s best known craft beers. Despite being the quintessential modern Australian pale ale, it’s taken me a few years to get on board with this beer.
The label reads:
Here at Stone & Wood we take a fresh approach to brewing handcrafted beer in Byron Bay, one of the greatest places on earth.
Inspired by our home on the edge of the Pacific Ocean and brewed using all Australian barley, wheat and Galaxy hops, Pacific Ale is cloudy and golden with a big fruity aroma and a refreshing finish.
The aroma is strong with this one. There’s a predominant fruitiness which overrides a bit of freshly cut grass. This is summer in a bottle.
The beer itself is a pale straw colour, a touchy on the cloudy side and generally demonstrates a level of effervescence one would normally associate with a refreshing soft drink. The head shown in the photo doesn’t last long at that size but the retention is there throughout.
My major complaint with the Pacific Ale is the same thing that held me back from liking this this beer. That is, if you get the beer fresh on tap, sometimes it’s like biting into a passionfruit. Like a whole one. Just all up in there, in your grill. This was quite a shock when you’re on the piss with the boys, arrive at the Pig and Whistle, full of macro beer and there’s a fruit salad in your beer. It’s not a huge deal – some would even say that this is part of the Pacific Ale appeal – but the palate shock can be offputting.
However, I’ve come around in the last six months. It’s freely available these days and, if you avoid the really old bottles around the less crafty bottleshops (where the passionfruit goes flat and is replaced with old pineapple), it’s a refreshing pale ale that adds an extra dimension to summer.
- Regionality: Byron Bay, NSW
- Strength: 4.4%
- Rating: 2.5 / 3 taste + 1.5 / 2 ancillaries = 4 / 5
- Plus: Crisp, refreshing Australian pale ale
- Minus: Almost too fruity when fresh