Stone & Wood's Counter Culture series has flitted between flights of fancy and beers that might sit far from their core range in terms of concept and character yet are relatively sane by the standards of the wilder realms of today's beer world. Edge Of The Earth sounds like something from the former camp, but turns out to be more of the latter, its name a reference to Australia's southernmost state – or at least the hops that grow within the Derwent Valley.
The brewers have chosen four of Hop Products Australia's fruitier offerings – Galaxy, Eclipse, Enigma and Vic Secret – to showcase in an IPA. You look at the sort of flavours and aromas cited as each variety's headliners – passionfruit, citrus, mandarin, white grape, melon, pineapple – and may well go: "Tropical fruit salad, here we come..." yet they've been delivered in such a manner this sits much more in dry 'n' bitey San Diego-style West Coast territory.
The citrus fruits come through more as it warms a little, but more as decoration; the drying, resinous, spicy and herbaceous bitterness is the key feature – the sort that feels like it’s burrowing into the depths of your palate. Indeed, at first sniff, it had me checking to see if they’d tried their hands at creating an IPA with some more old school Tassie hops – which just shows you the power of nurture can hold over nature in the hands of brewers.