Saturday, December 3, 2011

CT Column 16/11/2011 : Stone, Wood and Wheat

DESPITE being neighbours we see very little Australian beer in New Zealand. As in New Zealand, Australia has undergone a beer renaissance with independent brewers popping up all around the sandy continent. Increasingly New Zealand brewers are seeing Australia as a lucrative market for their wares. Epic, Yeastie Boys , 8 Wired , Invercargill, mikes and Renaissance are all exporting beer to Australia.
The flow of beer has been decidedly one way with until now very little Australian micro-brewed beer coming into NZ. While it’s great to see medium sized breweries like Coopers, Matilda Bay and Little Creatures in NZ, many of us in the beer world have wanted to see more small interesting independent brewed Australian beer crossing the ditch.
It seems this might be beginning to happen. Stone and Wood Pacific Ale is a new style defying brew that will soon pop up on shelves around town. Stone and Wood is a craft brewery located at Byron Bay in Northern New South Wales. Head Brewer and partner Brad Rodgers was formerly the head brewer for Matilda Bay and has been a regular judge at New Zealand beer competitions through the years. Pacific Ale is a cross between a cloudy wheat beer and a hoppy golden ale combining the dry quenching qualities of a Belgian Wit beer like Hoegaarden and the bright hop character of a pale ale like Little Creatures. The beer is clearly designed for the hot Australian climate and is extremely refreshing while also being relatively complex and flavoursome.
Also on the horizon from Australia, the core range of Little Creatures beers is due to arrive in NZ any day. Lion Nathan have imported Little Creatures Pale Ale for years but have finally been convinced to bring in the filtered Bright Ale, the sessionable amber ale Rodgers and the breweries take on the Pilsner style. All four Little Creatures brews will be at home next to the BBQ, conveniently they should be here just in time for the first steak to hit the charcoals. Cheers!

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