Total Score: 7.15/10
My pet peeve with beers #647: Brewers that get the hype-train rolling out of the station (i.e. the social media barrage of information about a limited release beer which gets every craft lover frothing at the bit weeks before said beer is even released) only to produce a minuscule amount of supply to meet the demand that is already at the station, newspapers in hand, waiting to board a train that will never arrive for them because a bottle shop manager has to ration out single bottles to a select customers *and breathe*. Stone & Wood is guilty of this sin (along with many other Aussie brewers I could name but for brevity’s sake). This Stone & Wood Pilot Batch Wilderness Honey Cream Ale – was literally the 1 bottle I could get my hands on, let’s see if it’s worth its weight in honey [cream ale].
Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.
A: Hazed pale straw body with a fluffy white cappuccino 1 centimetre head on top that slowly compacts. My own experience with the Cream Ale style is rather limited (I’ve reviewed 1 so far: Mikkeller Cream Ale) so I turn to the 2015 BJCP for guidance: it says: “Pale straw” – bingo! “Brilliant, sparkling clarity” – oh dear. 8/10.
S: Surprisingly spicy/peppery on the nose, with a hint of honey, some smoke, dry crackers and a light floral/earthy tone throughout. This is not what I imagined when I signed up for “Honey Cream Ale” (I was picturing a beer that would put a grin on Winnie the Pooh’s dial), but it seems interesting nonetheless. More honey, and the sweetness that generally accompanies it, would be nice. 7/10.
T: Look, this is an odd… beer. Flavour profile bounces all over the place, not really knowing where to land – spicy clove, ginger and pepper notes, drrrry cracker centre, hints of wild floral and earthy honey that touches briefly on smoke, wood character, grainy tinge, back to a long dry finish, and not much else: boing, boing, boing = flavour profile. As the label states “Dreamt up by an artist, a local inventor and a wild chef…”, uh-huh, “death by some sort of crazy committee” I say. 7/10.
M: The base beer in this Cream Ale is similar to S&W’s other brews – mid to light bodied, medium carbonation, to style if not tedious. 8/10.
D: Far from the best in the S&W oeuvre, I liked the promise, the bold visionary ideals this brew embodies, but the execution, and let’s face it: the whole artist/inventor/chef collaboration was probably never going to produce a mind-shattering beer anyway, is lacking overall. Which is a shame. 7/10.
Food match: I would pop a kangaroo steak on the grill for this one – keep it Aussie.