Ross Jurisich, co-founder of Stone and Wood Brewery in Byron Bay.
Ross Jurisich, co-founder of Stone and Wood Brewery in Byron Bay. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Thirsty work for tasters

WORKING for a beer brewing company is by no means an easy job but it does have some perks.

Before Stone and Wood Brewing Company could bottle its newest beer, employees had to undergo some "intense physical labour".

"We all got together around a table one day and just tasted about 50 beers one by one," Stone and Wood Brewing Company marketing officer Rick Bannister said.

"We said what we liked and what we didn't like about each one and then from that we built a Frankenstein from all the good parts."

Two weeks ago, the company released Jasper Ale, which was a red-coloured beer inspired by popular winter brews, such as American amber ales, German altbiers and English brown ales.

"We always wanted a beer we could drink in the colder months," Mr Bannister said.

"In winter it's a bit more about warmth and thickness. But it's also a beer you can drink in the summer months, because the winter in Byron Bay only lasts about three weeks."

Although Jasper Ale was darker in colour than lager, it was not "super heavy" or high in alcohol content like traditional dark ales, Mr Bannister said.

The beer lover said the biggest difference between Jasper Ale and Stone and Wood Brewing Company's other drops was the amount of malt used in the recipe.

"Choosing the grain for a beer is like choosing a meat - steak, chicken or fish - and your hops are like your spices," Mr Bannister explained.

"All our beers are inspired by the Byron Bay hinterland."

After years of fiddling with recipes, Mr Bannister said Jasper Ale would finally complete the brewery's collection.



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