A truthful friend of mine has a trick when he wants to sneak in a few more beers before returning to his wife after work: he goes to Redoak, where they serve beer in large 500ml steins, and truthfully tells her that he’s only having a few drinks.
This might seem like a dirty trick but my friend is obsessed with the devil’s brew and the large range of award-winning boutique beers that Redoak has on tap and in bottles is enough to corrupt anyone. Furthermore, with the beers ranging in price from $4.50 for a 250ml glass, it’s value for money when compared to the draught beers you get in most other bars and pubs.
My deceitful friend’s favourite beer is the organic pale ale (and we’ve yet to find another bar that sells organic brew), which has a clean and somewhat fruity taste, judging from the sip that I steal while he’s outside talking to his wife on his mobile.
I much prefer the hearty oatmeal stout that almost feels like it’s a meal in a glass, with a thick comforting head on top. I also try the porter, which is dark as night and has a strong malty flavour with a brown froth that takes up a quarter of the 250ml glass. Incidentally, it won the silver medal in the 2007 Sydney Royal Beer Competition.
The atmosphere here is smart casual: wooden floorboards, chandeliers and jazz music so quiet you can barely hear it above the sound of conversation. There are wooden tanks of beer up the front, a marble bar counter and loads of tables filled with a mixture of office workers, couples and tourists. Despite Redoak’s focus on beer, there seems to be an equal number of women to men here, although I notice some of the women sipping on wine.
If you’re more civilised than myself and my friend then you may want to try the food here as well. The menu has meals such as the grain-fed beef fillet ($36), pan-seared bream fillet ($25) and crispy skinned ocean trout ($26), and offers beer-matching suggestions. A bar menu is also available, with options including the steak sandwich ($15) and a chicken, leek, mushroom and organic pale ale pie for $11.
However, we’re quite happy with the beer and not just because we can get them in steins. Those who truly take pleasure in beer should definitely check Redoak out.
Redoak Beer Cafe, 201 Clarence Street, Sydney. Phone 02 9262 3303 or see the Redoak Beer Cafe website
Now it’s your turn – how do you rate Redoak Beer Cafe?