Have you met Jesus?
He’s a bearded genius from a small town who turns water into beer.
No wait, that’s Luke Rutland. He’s a beer brewer at Stone & Wood Brewery in Byron Bay, NSW.
(But I can understand your confusion.)
– The Low-Down –
Jono and I met Luke at the Stone & Wood Brewery Dinner at Monster Kitchen. This tasteful collab was part of the celebration of AFR’s Top 100 Restaurants in Australia. The night ran similar to a four-course degustation, but instead of matched drinks, tasty sparkling beer was the main feature. The fellas at Stone & Wood brought an offering of four different brews – Lager, Pacific Ale, Stone Beer and Jasper Ale.
Stone & Wood captured our hearts with their passion, relatability, and absolute belief in every drop they poured into our glasses. Not only did Pat and Luke, a sales rep and brewer from Byron Bay, bring a whole lot of knowledge about the product, but they also sat right beside us and shared a meal (or several). Pat approached us in a manner so warm and familiar that even I was fooled into thinking we were best mates in a past life. And Luke is one of those crazy geniuses with a background in chemistry, and a resumé boasting experience in laboratories, offices, paint factories, and other funky ways to earn your crust. Like a modern, plaid-shirted piped piper (but much less creepy), the call of Stone & Wood drew us all in, and set the tone for a night of laughter, great beer, and new friends.
– The Feed –
Paired with scallop ceviche, served with wasabi leaf, sesame and lime.
The green bottle – tastes like summertime by the beach.
The lager was fresh and light, and really got the juices going. The scallop ceviche was equally refreshing, without being overpowering.
Second: PACIFIC ALE
Paired with citrus glazed spatchcock, almond cream, and a tapenade salad.
A whole lot of beer, and a bunch of smiling faces.
This fruity, golden ale was inspired by the Australian coast of Byron that kisses the Pacific Ocean. Pacific ale is brewed using Australian barley, wheat, and a dash of Galaxy hops and dry hopped at the end. Served with a citrus glazed spatchcock, this course was definitely my favourite of the night. We all know you can’t go wrong pairing grilled chicken and beer, but who knew you could get it oh so right?!
Third: STONE BEER
Paired with venison loin, cocoa, hazelnut, smoked beetroot, jamon serrano.
A rich, dark beer perfect for a cold Canberra night.
Think trails walks, smokey meats, and a hearty bonfire. This, in fact, isn’t too far from the truth. According to legend (aka. Luke), the Stone Beer was originated when the brewers decided to burn a huge stack of wood in the driveway, before throwing in some Fijian stones for extra flavour. These stones were then added to the kettle when the beer was brewed, and thus the unique smokey flavour of Stone Beer was born!
And what better to sharpen those visions of campfires and hiking trails, than a tasty venison and hazelnut creation? Sometimes the most unexpected flavours are the most amazing, and this most definitely reigned true in this dish.
Final: JASPER ALE
Paired with pyengana cloth-bound cheddar, burnt apple puree, shaved walnut, and rye.
Dessert time with a twist.
For many of the guests the menu was a mystery to them, and what looked like a simple apple crumble quickly blew up in their minds (and mouths!). Yet paired with Stone & Wood’s Jasper Ale – a winter beer brewed from a blend of pale and crystal malts – it was a no brainer for the brewers.
Fun fact: The ale gets it name from a region in the hinterlands out from Byron that was once called Jasper. The red volcanic soil adds to the deep rich malt flavour of the beer, and draws inspiration from American Amber Ales, and the spicy bitterness of a German hop.
The Stone & Wood Brewery Dinner has been a long time coming, and boy was it an amazing success! A powerhouse in it’s own right, Monster Kitchen and Bar brought the sophisticated flavours of the City, to Stone & Wood‘s organic philosophy of great tasting beer brewed by the Sea. Each of the dishes presented to us were deliciously complemented, well balanced, and thought-evoking.
For those in the brewing game, these guys are the ones to watch! Jono and I had an amazing night, and we can’t wait to see what these crazy kids do next.