The Crafty Duck Reviews: Mr Popular
I check the GABS list of the top 100 beers in Australia quite regularly. Whether it’s for memorizing the exact list so that I can wow customers or just looking at it and going “really? Its that high?” Every time I check the list, there’s always one beer sitting at the top. One little pacific ale. It’s by far one of the most popular craft beers sold in Australia at the moment. This article is a lil story about the Mr Popular of the craft beer world.
So if you’re a bit familiar with the craft beer world and especially with GABS, you’ll kinda know what specific beer that I’m talking about.
THIS BAD BOY! The number 1 beer on GABS at the moment and can be considered the best beer in Australia right now cause no one else really does a beer ranking. It was actually the number 2 for a couple of years and just beat Balter’s XPA for the number 1 spot due to a surge in pacific ale trends. If you’d like an introduction to pacific ales, there’s no better place to start than Stone & Wood as it’s essentially the benchmark for pacific ales. But as I said in my last review, my thoughts on this might surprise you.
So let’s investigate Stone & Wood a bit. The massive brewery itself was started in a shed in Byron Bay in 2008. Pretty Humble beginnings, aye? Their image is to enjoy a beer after a surf or checking out some live music. I can speak personally as I’ve enjoyed a Stone & Wood after a surf (and during one too! But that’s a story for another time. Don’t surf and scull kids). They are also pretty environmentally friendly, as their packaging is made from 70% and 50% recycled materials. Big tick in my books. They also love the community aspect that beer brings. Having a beer and chatting to a bunch of random people and making friends with them through beer, thats what Stone & Wood is all about.
Who We Are - Stone & Wood
Our Story The story of Stone & Wood began in 2008 when three friends - Brad, Ross and Jamie - decided, after many years…
Okay enough of me rambling about Stone & Wood. Let’s get into the meat and potatoes of this review, which is slowly becoming my favourite saying as of late! Lets see if this number 1 beer in Australia is number 1 in my books and let’s see if this beer is actually “Byron Bay captured in a bottle,” well… It probably is (I wouldn’t know my first trip to Byron was cancelled cause of COVID-19).
Smell: Smells good. Smells really good. There’s this really nice citrus smell complimented with scents of pineapples and mangos. You can also smell a few scents of stone fruits as well, which is a nice touch whether intentional or not (cause it’s name is STONE & Wood? Get it? STONE fruits used in a beer made by STONE & Wood? Cringing at my joke yet? Yeah I am too). Let’s give it a taste.
Taste: I poured the beer out into a glass cause you gotta judge the colour as well (something I forgot to do in my last review… Oops). The beer is hazy and a pale gold and looks bloody juicy. Fair bit of head, which is a bit odd considering my pouring style was one of the best back at the craft brewery I used to work at, I gave the perfect amount of head every time (Cooper, mate. You need to revise this line dude). Now with the first sip, it tastes really refreshing. Really fruity balanced nicely with a good amount of bitterness. Really light and definitely can taste the fruity notes that I smelt when I opened the bottle (including the STONE fru- okay I’m putting this joke to rest now). Bit of malt in there as well but mainly focusing on the tropical hoppy taste to really represent the surfy vibe which I’m fine with.
Label: Yeah lovely colours. Nice font. I just have a bit of an issue with it though. The other Stone & Wood labels have very picturesque imagery, detailing the surroundings of Byron. The Pacific Ale doesn’t have that. It has a nice floral and leafy pattern that decorates the text but it doesn’t really follow the same style as other Stone & Wood labels. The floral, leafy pattern also isn’t too noticeable from a few metres away which is a bit weird with me. But what would I know, I’m not a designer yet.
Alcohol Content: 4.4% alcohol content or 1.1 standard drinks. Pretty easy to drink as well so not too dangerous. It’s just smooth and the alcohol taste isn’t overpowering at all.
Overall Rating: Okay. Here is the controversial part. I will admit, I have had beers that I find better than Stone & Wood’s Pacific Ale. In fact, the Pacific Ale isn’t even my favourite beer from Stone & Wood (that’s for another review). I find it good, I find it really good, but it didn’t exactly blow me away. I guess it’s due to the fact that I looked at the GABS list before I even tried the Pacific Ale. I believe I expected it to completely blow me away but my monstrous expectations didn’t let it. It’s definitely a great beer, but to me and my criteria, you really need to blow me completely out of the water if you want to get into the 80s, and hell, there’s only 3 beers I would consider even putting in the 90s. I’m a bit of a harsh marker, and I’m sorry Stone & Wood, but your Pacific is getting a 77% from me. But don’t let my rating sway you from grabbing a 6-pack or a slab of this. It’s a bloody good beer and is definitely the first one you wanna try if you want to get into pacific ales.
TLDR (yeah nah you wanna read the whole blog before you read this, it kinda justifies my reasoning)
Beer: Stone & Wood Pacific Ale
Should you try this: Yes of course! Try it! It’s a great beer!
Hopefully this review doesn’t have me at the end of pitchforks but hopefully you, the lovely reader, understand my rating and grab a bottle of this to try for yourself as we all have different taste buds. Before I give you a teaser of the next review, I just want to thank you for reading this review. I had a lot more positive feedback and a lot more people read my last review than I expected and I want to express my gratitude and appreciation of that. Maybe this blog about a flog reviewing beer is gonna go somewhere? Anyways, next time, I reckon I might give an IPA a crack. I love my IPA’s and since I work tomorrow, I might pick a random one up and give it a crack. Stay tuned!