Last Thursday, Stone & Wood held its annual Stone Brew Day at its Byron Bay brewery, a ritual that honours ancient brewing traditions with Stone & Wood’s local community.

Since 2008, when founder Brad Rogers brought some special rocks back from Fiji, the tradition has been held dear to the brewery. At the annual event, the stone brewing tradition is honoured by heating stones on a woodfire, and later, once hot enough, lowering them inside a metal cage into the wort inside the kettle.

Caolan Vaughan, Stone & Wood Head Brewer, said: “On this day, we pay homage to tradition and the way things used to be done long ago, before electricity or any of our modern luxuries. Each year, we change the recipe and select only the best ingredients we possibly can.”

At the Stone Brew Day event, stones were heated on the fire once again until glowing, and carefully lowered by the brewers into the kettle, rousing the boil and a big cloud of steam, adding a unique twist to the brew.

Together, the community crafted this year’s Stone Beer, a decadent, limited-release woodfired porter that will be poured later this year at the Festival of the Stone. The group later enjoyed Stone & Wood beers in the tasting room, accompanied by food from the on-site canteen by 100 Mile Table.

According to Pat Coulson, Stone & Wood Brand Manager, Stone Brew Day is an occasion that’s close to the hearts of everybody at Stone & Wood.

“It’s a night we get to invite close friends of the brewery into our home and brew something pretty special,” he told Beer & Brewer.

“A night that is in a way a celebration and get together, but more of a tip of the hat to the ancient ways of brewing, with wood, fire and stones, like the way it was before electricity and shiny brewing equipment. With this day and event being hosted in winter, it only makes sense to brew a porter, and that’s the way we’ve done it for over a decade now.”

Later in the year, Stone & Wood will hold its annual Festival of the Stone in Byron Bay, and the Stone Beer will sit in tank until then.

“Festival of the Stone is celebrating the tapping of the first keg of this porter, where we open up the brewery gates, get the whole community together, put on some great music, not to mention food vendors, and pretty much throw a big party at the brewery,” added Coulson.

“It’s grown year on year, and now we’re at capacity of around 2,000 people at the brewery. It’s just a great time overall and all profits raised go to Fletcher Street Cottage, a local community hub that supports and lends a hand to people at risk of homelessness or already sleeping rough in the Northern Rivers.”

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