Stone & Wood Counter Culture: The Earl Of Swirl

Berry Cream Sour

Given vast swathes of the local brewing industry have decided to dedicate a significant portion – if not all – of their time in the brewery working out how to include anything but the traditional water, malt, hops and yeast in their beers, it must be increasingly challenging to make a standout statement when you only choose to do such things a few times a year. Thus, with Stone & Wood's Counter Culture offshoot, it increasingly feels like the liquid element of each project is just part of the appeal, with the wider package – naming, artwork, accompanying message – playing a key role and, one could argue, the most radical part of the project being the fact it's Stone & Wood behind it all.

Why? Because with an audience far broader and larger than any Aussie independent bar Coopers, their French toast and Berocca-mimicking, perception-altering releases are likely to land in the hands of drinkers who have no idea many of the smaller creators of such beers exist.

Which brings us to The Earl Of Swirl, upon which a multiple-shades-of-purple likeness of Prince invites you to "Let UR Love Unfurl". The ninth Counter Culture release takes the shape of a berry cream sour that looks like sparkling Ribena in the glass and registers a highly Prince-appropriate 6.9 percent ABV. The combination of blackberries, raspberries, vanilla, lactose and souring lactobacillus maintains childhood references throughout (and not just because I grew up during his purple period).

The aroma brings to mind a berry laden yoghurt, with the oats and wheat in addition to the lactose creating a smoothness of texture. It's like a soft drink with the rough edges of its carbonation smoothed, less sour than mildly tart (imagine the sensation of biting into a blackberry or raspberry), and, just like many a visitor to Paisley Park in the late artist's heyday, goes down oh so easily.

James Smith

Published November 3, 2020

Stone & Wood (Lion/Kirin)

100 Centennial Circuit
Byron Bay
NSW 2481

(02) 6685 5173
Open Hours

Cellar Door
Mon to Fri: 10am to 5pm
Sat & Sun: midday to 6pm

Tasting room
Mon to Fri: 10am to 5pm
Sat & Sun – midday to 6pm

Regular events

Stone & Wood Brewer Experience (fortnightly)
Details here
Join the Beer Club for exclusive news, videos, beers & more


All week (except Tues)

$30 per person – book here

Lallemand May 2024 B
Obsidian 2024

More from Stone & Wood (Lion/Kirin)

Stone & Wood NRB (Northern Rivers Beer)
Aussie Lager
Stone & Wood Hinterland Big Pale Ale
Strong Pale Ale
Stone & Wood Counter Culture: Hopposite Seasons
Cold IPA
Stone & Wood Stone Beer '23 & Barrel-Aged Stone Beer '22
Stone-Fired Smoked Porter & Barrel-Aged Stone Beer
6.0% & 11.2%
Stone & Wood's Counter Culture: Plonk!
White Wine Inspired Sour Ale
Stone & Wood Hinterland Hazy Pale Ale
Hazy Pale Ale
Stone & Wood Counter Culture: Disco Queen
Pink Lemonade Sour
Stone & Wood Counter Culture: After The Harvest
Imperial Yuzu Witbier
Stone & Wood Counter Culture: Edge Of The Earth IPA
Tasmanian IPA
Stone & Wood Stone Beer 2022
Wood-Fired Porter
Stone & Wood Counter Culture: Who Really Is Wayne Dubois?
Sparkling Shiraz Sour
Stone & Wood & Afends Crop Circles
Hazy Pale with Mango, Macadamia & Hemp Seed
Stone & Wood Counter Culture: Bloom Springs
Hazy IPA
Stone & Wood Green Coast Crisp
Mid-strength Lager
Stone & Wood Counter Culture: Dark Unicorn
Salted Choc Scotch Ale
Stone & Wood Tequila Queen & Sticky Nectar 2021
Oak-Aged Margarita Sour & Mango Milkshake IPA
7.0% & 6.5%
Stone & Wood Counter Culture: Peachy Cheeks
Peach Bellini Sour
Stone & Wood Counter Culture: The Holy Grain
Honey Toasted Hazy IPA
Stone & Wood East Point – RETIRED
Lower Alcohol Mixed Ferment Beer
Stone & Wood Counter Culture: Tequila Queen
Oak-Aged Margarita Sour