[1] the Malthouse blog this week returns to our bread and butter – beer. On reflection, maybe that should read “returns to our malt and hops.” [2] The first beer is a welcome and very fresh import from our cobbers at Stone & Wood in Australia, while the other brew was created by our chums at Tuatara and Fork & Brewer to celebrate nearby Cuba Street.

Malthouse has managed to procure 450 litres of ultra fresh Stone & Wood Pacific Pale Ale (4.4%) direct from Bradley at their Brewery in Byron Bay. [3] It is brewed using all Australian barley, wheat and Galaxy hops, then dry hopped at the end of fermentation. All Pacific Ale is drawn straight from the storage tank at the brewery into kegs and bottles.

The end result is a cloudy, golden, sessionable ale with a bouncy fruit aroma, firm body, fruit salad flavours, a hint of sherbet and quenching finish. I’ve previously called it a famous “glass of mango slaw.” The Australian newspaper wrote “up in Byron, the sarong is formal wear and it would be so wrong to drink the heavy craft beers of the city. Pacific Ale is light and fruity: a great way to unwind after yoga.” [4]

The Stone & Wood founders wrote “we established Stone & Wood Brewing Company in Byron Bay in 2008 after many years of working in the beer business. Our dream was to quit ‘working for the man’, shed the corporate garbage and get back to basics. Not only has it helped shape our philosophy of trying to take things slowly and keeping it simple, but the natural beauty, on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, and the laid back vibe were the inspiration for our beers.”
Explaining the decision not to filter or pasteurise the Pacific Ale, the brewers wrote “drawing it from the tank and straight into a keg or bottle without filtering or pasteurising it means that the beer can be enjoyed at the pub or at home in the same condition as it is when we try it from the tank at the brewery… simply fresh.
Filtering beer removes the remaining yeast which causes the beer to look cloudy; unfortunately a lot of the flavour is also removed by the filter. Pasteurising beer usually involves a heating process which gives it some stability for shipping long distances or storing for a long time. Unfortunately this process can also knock some of the crisp freshness out of the beer.”

Stone & Wood Pacific Ale is one of over 4,300 beers to appear in the “Pocket Beer Book – 2nd Edition” written by my second favourite Canadian Stephen Beaumont and my currently unranked Englishman Tim Webb [5] Purporting to be “the indispensable guide to the world’s best craft and traditional beer”, the Pocket Beer Book provides a phenomenal amount of information in a very small space. This is partly due to the incredibly tight writing style and partly due to the rather small font size. 

This is what Stephen Beaumont and Tim Webb (with a little help from Australian beer expert Matt Kirkegaard) had to say about this beer:

Stone & Wood – Byron Bay, New South Wales

“Successful brewery at Byron Bay, a few miles south of Burleigh. Making a name for engaging beers like cloudy Australian pale Pacific Ale (3.5 out of 4 stars), which generously expresses Australian Galaxy hop aroma; Jasper Ale (2.5 stars), an English brown ale with spicy German hop character; and classic Helles Pale Lager (1.5 stars). Impressive flair is added annually with the volcanic-rock-seared, caramelised, faintly burnt Austrian Style Stone Beer (3 stars).”

See? I was not joking about the tight writing style. That passage contains a bit about the brewery, their philosophy and four beer all in less than 75 words. Many of my sentences are more than 75 words. [6]

Malthouse is also one of the selected venues pouring the official beer of the CubaDupa Festival. The Festival was described as “the long-awaited and highly anticipated reincarnation of the iconic and beloved Cuba Street Carnival, which last took place in 2009.” During last weekend, Cuba Street and surrounding streets were over-flowing with street food, music, drink, colour, kids, entertainment and performers. My Facebook feed was full of people having a great time at the event. [7]

The official beer is CubaDupa Brew (4%), a mid-strength pale lager and collaborative effort crafted by noted party animals Kelly Ryan (Fork & Brewer) and Carl Vasta (Tuatara Brewery). Kelly Ryan took to the interwebs to explain their thinking behind the liquid:

“We wanted something festival-friendly – you can have one or two and not fall over. It’s a lovely little gateway beer for those becoming better acquainted with craft, but still has that distinct hop character and edge that you wouldn’t find in a green bottle lager. The clean, crisp, character of the beer is ideal for an easy-going festival atmosphere and will appeal to the wider festival-going demographic. We also wanted to brew something that complemented the variety of festival food available, whether that be fresh, spicy, salty or fatty,” Kelly said.

The CubaDupa beer uses Pilsner Malt with Pacific Jade, Galaxy, Ella, Nelson Sauvin and Cascade hops. According to the brewers’ tasting notes, this pale lager has “delicate bitterness to balance the smooth malt flavour. Dry hopped with New Zealand and Australian aromatic hops to give a fruity aroma. At 4% it is a sensible strength beer for summer consumption.” It weighs it a perky 22 IBUs and a responsible 4% ABV.

While “my kind” [8] are not always welcome on Cuba Street, I am glad they had a great party, helped by a special beer, and just maybe I will pop along next year.

Next time, we drink to April Fool’s Day. A clever prank, well thought through, is still a thing of beauty. Me putting on Facebook that I’ve suddenly discovered a love for citrus infused lager did not fool many people although several, in all seriousness, wanted to argue in favour of them…

[1] This is an official attempt to get customers, suppliers and other staff to call Ciaran the Becapped yet Bemused Malthouse Unit Manager “C-Dog” for the next couple of weeks. Or at least until he starts evicting people from the bar for using either of these catchy nicknames…

[2] Yes, that second version sounds more accurate and tastier too.

[3] I’d like to thank Brad Rogers for being a wonderful brewer, a loveable larrikin and, for the purposes of alliteration in this sentence, having a name that starts with B.

[4] Yoga is not compulsory before quaffing a Pacific Ale but if you feel the need to, there is a yoga studio 63 metres away from Malthouse. Just say Colin the Handsome yet Softly Spoken Scottish Proprietor sent you and see what happens.

[5] I have not met Mr Webb but to his credit he is an eloquent writer, has a polite email manner and sent me a cheque. Yes, I asked for a cheque. Consider this footnote (and the acknowledgement on page 320 of the guide) a disclaimer that I was involved in helping produce this magnificent tome.

[6] Ironically, there are no long sentences in this paragraph.

[7] There were still a lot of photos of people’s babies, beers, dogs and cats which were not at the Cuba Dupa festival though.

[8] Tories.


Neil Miller
Beer Writer
Beer and Brewer Magazine
Cuisine Magazine
TheShout Magazine
New Zealand Liquor News Magazine


Stone & Wood – http://stoneandwood.com.au/
Cuba Dupa – http://cubadupa.co.nz/
Malthouse Facebook – www.facebook.com/pages/Malthouse/7084276173
Malthouse Twitter – www.twitter.com/#!/malthouse
Malthouse Taps on Twitter – www.twitter.com/#!/MalthouseTaps
Neil Miller on Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/#!/beerlytweeting