Based in Sydney and enjoys writing about travel, yoga, food and other crafts though not exclusive to these topics. Follow me on Twitter @KatieKohlbeck
Published July 25th 2011
Now that I have your attention, let me tell you about a place nestled along Clarence Street in the Sydney CBD that is the Redoak Boutique Beer Cafe and Brewery. One might not guess that this cosy little joint is much more than just a beer cafe though.
Redoak produces their own craft ciders and beers and as if that isn't enough reason to drop by for a visit, they host Beer Appreciation courses each month so that beer lovers can learn more about what they're drinking and experiment with food matching.
Courses are run on Saturdays and current schedule can be viewed on Redoak's website. For $75 per head, you receive a generous supply of beer, food and education. In fact, I was not anticipating the amount that they gave, so I highly recommend checking it out based on the good value alone but there's much more to the class than the quantities served.
On arrival, we're greeted by the friendly and inviting barkeep who offers a complimentary drink to get us warmed up for the class. After our first drink, we along with about fifty other 'students' are ushered into the back room of the cafe, seated on large tables so allowing a chance to mingle and socialise with fellow beer enthusiasts.
The menu and schedule of the night also offers much more than I had expected. A four course degustation meal, carefully prepared and matched with some of Redoak's very own brews. The first beer and course is served while Redoak manager, Janet Hollyoak, introduces the history of Redoak, the beer making process and the beer sommelier, Simon Beveridge (somebody who gets paid to eat good food and drink good beer - career change, anyone?). Beveridge leads us through the journey of beer and food matching, inviting us to pay attention to the various sensations we experience with each pairing.
Over the course of the meal and tasting, we're taught how to properly evaluate a beer, as opposed to judging a beer on it's thirst quenching qualities on a hot day (which of course is still important to my drink selection). Like wine, the criteria for judging beer includes appearance, aroma, flavour and body, style and technical qualities. Unlike wine, an important part of beer evaluation is actually swallowing the beer to experience the full taste. The main idea to take away from the evaluation rules is to be adventurous and try out new beers and play with different food flavours. What beer and food fan isn't already onboard with that idea though?
Throughout the course of the evening, we're introduced to different styles of beers including Redoak's Aussie Ale, Belgian Pale Ale, Irish Red Ale and Paddy's Big Stout, all heavier style ales, an appropriate selection for a chilly winter evening. The menu changes with each season so you could do the class again and be treated to a whole new experience.
The Beer Appreciation Class is a great night out if you're looking for something that's a little different from the usual 'dinner and drinks' affair. You can't beat the venue, delicious boutique brews and above all a passionate group of people who care about making quality Australian beer. The experience is even better shared with a group of friends so a unique idea for your next big outing.
For all the information you're after about Redoak and their Beer Classes, hop over to www.redoak.com.au.