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Pacific Ale voted best beer

Stone and Wood brewers Brad Rogers (front) and Jamie Cook at their Byron Bay brewery, enjoying a drop of the beer that had been voted Australia’s best.
Stone and Wood brewers Brad Rogers (front) and Jamie Cook at their Byron Bay brewery, enjoying a drop of the beer that had been voted Australia’s best. Kate O’Neill

THE ALE of a small craft brewery in Byron Bay has been voted Australia's best beer.

Stone and Wood Brewing Company's Pacific Ale edged out more than 400 competitors to take the number one spot in new beer book, The Critics' Choice: Australia's Best Beers.

The top ranking was awarded by a panel of respected industry members, including brewers, beer writers and bar and bottle shop operators, who were asked to choose Australia's top 100 beers.

It's the latest in a string of accolades for Stone and Wood, which has been producing beer in Byron Bay's Arts and Industry Estate since 2008.

Earlier this year, its Pacific Ale was voted in the top three Hottest 100 Craft Beers in a poll run by Melbourne's Local Taphouse, and last year the ale was selected by the Weekend Australian Magazine as one of Australia's Top 20 beers.

Stone and Wood's founders, Brad Rogers, Jamie Cook and Ross Jurisich, who met while working at Foster's craft brewing subsidiary, Matilda Bay Brewing Company, said they were chuffed with the Critics' Choice acclaim.

“Getting this type of endorsement from our peers in the beer industry certainly puts a bit of a spring in our step,” Mr Rogers said.

The trio said they chose to set up their brewery on the Northern Rivers because they saw it as an area that embraced difference and they had been continually encouraged by the local support.

“We have always loved the way the locals in this part of the world have embraced our beers as their own, and this sort of recognition is proof that they know a good beer when they see one,” Mr Cook said.

Strangely enough, the brewery's growing reputation has created a problem for the brewers – they haven't been able to keep up with demand.

To maintain supply to their customers they are planning an upgrade to the brewery that will lift production capacity by about 40 %.


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