It was recently announced that Stone & Wood had bought back a 20% stake in the company that had been held by Little World Beverages since February 2009. This was in part due to the recent acquisition of Little World by the mighty alcohol entity that is Lion Nathan.
Within a short space of time after the buy-back, Stone & Wood released a new limited edition brew called Garden Ale.
Before somebody stumbled upon the idea of using hops in the brewing process, brewers used to ransack their gardens looking for something different to flavour their beer. The first garden that I ever owned consisted of nothing more than a couple of dead worms, a few spiders webs and the odd appearance of a dead bird - the ingredients more widely associated with being tossed into a witches cauldron to make a potion!
Garden Ale has been designed as a tribute to these old fashioned brewers. Intrigued, and in need of a pint of something, I headed off to my (very) local - The Platform Bar at Grand Central Hotel (Brisbane) where Garden Ale was making a guest appearance on tap - today, exactly four years ago to the day since the very first Stone & Wood was poured at Byron Bay.
It's a different beer altogether to the Endeavour Growers Ale that I tasted and reviewed only days ago but was worthy of the extra half of a star.
It was a bit more robust - a little bit more to it. Somewhat more satisfying which I'm sure was aided by the fact that I was drinking it off tap out of a chilled pint glass.
There is a very distinct, yet subtle bitter fruitiness to this beer. Not to the nose though - only as an aftertaste. This could be attributed to the inclusion of juniper berries that have made their way into the recipe. I found the aftertaste to be very slightly sour but nowhere near enough to be off-putting.
At 3.8% abv this is very much a beer to sit and drink all afternoon, all evening or even all Summer long if you can find somewhere that has it tapped or if you can lay your hands on some of the 500ml bottles which are limited.
Definitely worth a try.