A theme running through Stone & Wood's limited release beers from their early days has been a fondness for collaboration, but rarely with others from the beer industry. While there have been exceptions, for the most part those invited to join them on brew days have been drawn from elsewhere: artists, surfers, musicians, chefs and so on. With Crop Circles – which appears to be a Counter Culture release in all but name – they've again looked outside the beer bubble and partnered with Afends, Byron Bay neighbours specialising in clothing produced from organic hemp who we last featured when they created a hemp IPA with Young Henrys.
Here, they've opted to highlight Afends' mission to create sustainable clothing by utilising hemp seed in the brew (as well as mango and macadamia nuts), while Stone & Wood also nod towards a sustainable future for brewing through the use of certified regenerative grain from farms that are replenishing their natural ecosystems, soil biodiversity and organic matter. Completing the picture on the joint venture side, Afends' artist Nirvana Selwood designed the can artwork, and colleague Byron Spencer created the digital promo.
At the heart of it all, however, is the liquid (well, that and the range of Crop Circles clothing from Afends). And it's a more straightforward liquid than the above might have you think. It has the appearance and aroma of a well put together, fruitily hopped (with Mosaic and Citra) hazy pale, with an addition of mango riding a sweet, juicy wave over the top. Initially, it's tough to pick out much influence from the other adjuncts – at least 'til it warms – although there is a creaminess on the palate that’s presumably enhanced by the macadamia and a hint of grassiness in there too (not that sort of grassiness, however).
That said, arguably the most outrageous aspect of it all is head brewer Caolan Vaughan's beard, topping and tailing the accompanying video about how the beer came to life...
Published January 31, 2022 2022-01-31 00:00:00