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Stone & Wood Brewery, Byron Bay

Home > Brisbane > Breweries | Craft Beer | Food and Wine
by Roy Chambers (subscribe)
Lover of all things interesting and new
Published March 25th 2022
Visit, tour, taste & experience Stone & Wood in Byron Bay
Stone & Wood has gone from a small brewery in 2008 to a company that recently sold for $500 million. It has done this through thinking like an innovative microbrewery and acting like the big corporations. For those who love Stone & Wood beers, then the place to go is their brewery in Byron Bay to sample some of their classic beers and new innovations.

At the Stone & Wood Brewery in Byron Bay
At the Stone & Wood Brewery in Byron Bay


About

It is remarkable how much our beer-drinking culture in Australia has changed in the last 10 years or so. Often the standard selection of beers are gone and there are many different choices available now. This change came about as governments eased laws to allow for more microbreweries, which are common in other countries, and then Stone & Wood took this opportunity as a starting point and really ran with it.

The Stone & Wood story starts with their Pacific Ale
The Stone & Wood story starts with their Pacific Ale


It all started with their Pacific Ale, a beer so different that they had to come up with a whole new label for the type of beer it is. Sweet and fruity because of the type of hops they use, I have introduced a number of people to this beer whose reaction is often surprise at how different and good it tastes.

Of course, Stone & Wood didn't just want to make great beer, they wanted to take on the big boys at their own game, and in only a few years they were turning up on taps all over the country. The brewery was recently sold for $500 million based on only a revenue of $100 million, showing the belief in the growth of this brewery and brand.

Visiting

While you can get Stone & Wood's Pacific Ale in lots of pubs and bottles hops around the country, a visit to the brewery is an opportunity to experience some of the newer and experimental flavours as well. The Byron Bay brewery is open 7 days a week, roughly 11 am or midday to 5 pm or 6 pm.

Loading up sample paddles at the Stone & Wood brewery bar
Loading up sample paddles at the Stone & Wood brewery bar


Nearly everyone who comes here to enjoy the beers get tasting paddles. The point is to try and many different flavours on offer and discover the next Stone & Wood beer that will be successful or at least your new favourite.

Chilling out at the Stone & Wood Brewery
Chilling out at the Stone & Wood Brewery


Beers

As our cicerone, or beer sommelier, explained on our tour, one of the key elements of Stone & Wood beers is the Galaxy hops that they use. These hops were so underused by the rest of the market - they had to basically buy the entire remaining crop in Tasmania in advance to stop it from just being destroyed. Of course, the value of this is in the sweet taste of Stone & Wood beers.

The secret to the flavours are the hops that they use
The secret to the flavours are the hops that they use


Since then, they have worked hard at creating many different variants on and successors to their classic Pacific Ale. Since the sale of the company, I get the impression that there has been a great outburst of creativity without the same level of direction as the original management have moved on. This is not necessarily a bad thing and the result are fun beers like Crop Circles, which is a very fruity sweet beer with a UFO theme for reasons that were never really explained to me.

Introducing Crop Circles, the latest beer from Stone & Wood
Introducing Crop Circles, the latest beer from Stone & Wood


The success and innovation of Stone & Wood has inspired many other breweries to open up shop and there are now a lot of different tasting beers out there, though to be honest, I do like the classic beer taste which some other breweries are producing in response to the new sweeter beers, even though I do also like Stone & Wood. Of course, the guys in Byron Bay are not resting on their laurels but prepared to try for something new and better. Many of their pilot beers can only be tasted at the brewery, so get in first with a trip here.

Stone & Wood is constantly innovating & rotating their beer selection
Stone & Wood is constantly innovating & rotating their beer selection


Food

People are going to the brewery for the beers, but of course, you need some food to go with your drinks. The canteen, run by 100 Mile Table, is focused more on snacks and nibbles than meals. But for something substantial, try the loaded fries or the BBQ share platter. Also, look at the specials board which changes every week. Remember, it is Byron Bay, so there are also plenty of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.

The canteen at Stone & Wood Byron Bay is run by 100 Mile Table
The canteen at Stone & Wood Byron Bay is run by 100 Mile Table


Tours & Tastings

The best way to experience the beers at Stone & Wood is to book a tour. These are about 60 to 90 minutes long and you get to have an in-depth look at the workings of the brewery, sandwiched between sampling beer beforehand and further sampling more beer afterwards. For $35, this is a total bargain.

A group enjoying a sample of beers
A group enjoying a sample of beers


If you are lucky, you will have an opportunity to try beer fresh from the vat. I mean, most of the beer at the brewery is very fresh but this is the beer as it is being brewed. And no, they don't let you lie down under the tap with your mouth open while they turn on the tap. I asked, and they said no.

Tasting beer direct from the vat on a Stone & Wood Brewery tour
Tasting beer direct from the vat on a Stone & Wood Brewery tour


Shop

Another reason to go to the brewery is to pick up some items from the shop. This can include various new or hard to find types of Stone & Wood beers, or some of their merchandise. When I visited, their latest beer was named Crop Circles, and so there were a number of alien and UFO-themed merch on sale.

Pickup beers & merchandise at the Brewery Shop
Pickup beers & merchandise at the Brewery Shop


Overall

The experience is somewhere between drinking at your local microbrewery and visiting a major brewery. Many people are just coming here as their local place for a drink, while others to really learn about and experience what Stone & Wood has to offer. It is also a great opportunity try their new and experimental beers. If you like beer, then this should be one of your options when you visit Byron Bay.

The author visited Stone & Wood Brewery in Byron Bay as a guest of Crystalbrook and Kiff & Culture Tours.
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Why? Visit, tour, taste & experience Stone & Wood beers in Byron Bay
When: Mon to Thur 11 am to 5 pm, Fri 11 am to 6 pm, Sat & Sun 12 to 6 pm
Phone: (02) 6685 5173
Where: 100 Centennial Circuit Byron Bay NSW 2481
Cost: Tours from $35. Beer & food prices vary.
Your Comment
It seems like breweries are popping up everywhere and this one looks fabulous
by Gillian Ching (score: 3|5720) 247 days ago
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