Redoak Boutique Beer Cafe

In Sydney’s CBD, halfway between Darling Harbour and sprawling Hyde Park, Redoak Boutique Beer Cafe stands as a kind of gallery of good beer, with an exhibition of beer styles, flavours and food pairings. It’s the kind of venue where you come to try the beer, and end up staying long enough to taste your way through as much beer and food as you can comfortably fit in.

It takes many years for an oak tree to grow, and Redoak is no exception. It began as a seed (or acorn, probably) when David Hollyoak first made ginger beer as a teenager. This grew into homebrewing during his university days, and then traveling to Europe and USA with his sister Janet to research brewing methods and different beer styles. In 2004, the siblings started Redoak Boutique Beer Cafe together, with David focusing on the brewing and Janet running the café.

While the offsite brewery is cloaked in mystery – David hasn’t let anyone visit his secret laboratory for more than a decade – the venue is welcoming to all. City workers and visitors to Sydney alike find Redoak to be a place that feels like home, with the staff offering some of the warmest hospitality around.

But while the service has a sense of the familiar, one of the goals of Redoak is to introduce people to new flavours and experiences. To this end, the atmosphere and the drink options work together to give an international feel to the venue. Timber tables and wood-clad brewing tanks give off a classy European vibe, which makes a German wheat beer or Belgian strong ale seem suitable. If you’re sipping on a bitter American IPA, revel in an entire room dedicated to humulus lupus, the humble hop. Or if you’re happiest staying where you are, you can hang around near the corrugated iron bar front necking schooners of Aussie Lager with your mates.

Happy hour drink specials make Redoak a fine spot for post-work drinks; while the Redoak beers on tap are the focus, there are also 30-odd guest beers in the fridge, a sizeable range of wine and spirits, and a snappy cocktail list.

But to get the full Redoak experience, make the most of the venue’s love of food and beer pairing. Redoak’s signature item is a curated selection of four canapés with matched beers; as well as being supremely Instagrammable, it’s a great way to sample and chat about the variety of beer flavours on tap at the time.

Or, for a do-it-yourself adventure, you can choose from the à la carte menu - it changes seasonally, but there are always a few dishes containing beer in some form, making for an easy match.

If you want to go a step further, book in to one of Redoak’s beer classes, run on the first Saturday of every month. It’s a five-course beergustation, with dishes paired with beer styles from around the globe, and some beer education to grow your knowledge of the best drink in the world. If school had been this enjoyable, we all would have paid more attention.

Redoak beers have won acclaim at competitions around the globe – just check out the awards and plaques hung on the walls – but you don’t need someone else to tell whether you the beers are good. You can decide that for yourself.

Whether you’re at a special event, you’ve booked a room for a function, or you’ve just dropped in for a feed and a pint, you might find you want something more when it’s time to leave. Grab a four-pack of Organic Pale Ale on your way out the door, mix and match a four-pack of beers from the fridge, or, even better, take home a growler of your favourite Redoak beer from the taps.

They might have been around longer than most, but Redoak’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Next time you come in, there’ll be a fresh lineup of beers on tap just as there has been for more than fifteen years and counting.

Mick Wust

Name
Redoak Boutique Beer Cafe
Address

201 Clarence St
Sydney
NSW 2000

Phone
02 92623303
Regular events

Happy Hour – Mon to Sat: 3pm to 6pm

Open Hours

Wed to Sat: 12pm until late

This is a directory listing. To find out more, head here

Redoak Boutique Beer Cafe Regulars

Redoak Organic Pale Ale

The most widely available of Redoak's beers is their Organic Pale Ale, which you can usually track down in bottled form via some of the country's major retailers, such as Dan Murphy's, as well as on tap at their venue. Inspired by the very first pale ales – those from England – the beer using certified organically grown malt and hops and a London Ale yeast. They reckon it "brings out a lovely stone fruit character, a crisp bitterness and a rich malty flavour, making it a unique, flavoursome… Read more
Style
English Pale Ale
ABV
4.6%

Redoak Pommy Bitter

British visitors to Redoak are always pleasantly surprised by the Pommy Bitter, saying it reminds them of home – except for the fact it’s served cold, rather than at room temperature. This beer’s been impressing people for a while: it’s brought home gold from the World Beer Awards, World Beer Cup, and the International Beer Challenge, so it’s not something to be taken lightly… which is a little ironic for a beer sits at just 3.4 percent ABV. An amber colour with a touch of rust, this… Read more
Style
3.4%

Redoak Honey Ale

On The Crafty Pint's first ever visit to Redoak's Sydney home, we experienced one of our most memorable beer and food pairings. Among the lineup on one of two beer and food paddles we selected was the brewery's Honey Ale and a cheese-with-extras nibble the specifics of which escapes us now. What doesn't escape us is that it ensured the beer made a lasting impression! The Honey Ale takes as its starting point an Australian pale ale base then adds Tasmanian leatherwood honey, which lends it a leatherwood… Read more
Style
Honey Ale
ABV
4.9%
Awards

Gold - World Beer Cup 2006

Redoak Baltic Porter

Regular frequenters of Redoak's Boutique Beer Cafe will have their favourites from the vast array of frequently outstanding drops to hit the bar. Among them is a beer that is often spoken of in reverential tones by its admirers: the brewery's Baltic Porter. Inspired by brewer David Hollyoak's first encounter with such a beer – in a tiny cafe in Poland in 1994 – Redoak's is a traditional take on the old and once almost forgotten style. Similar to imperial stouts, Baltic Porters are rich, deeply… Read more
Style
Baltic Porter
ABV
8.7%
Awards

World's Best Stout & Porter - World Beer Awards 2014

Redoak Aussie Lager

Scanning the tap list at Redoak is like scanning a travel catalogue and deciding where to go on holiday. Am I feeling like a Belgian junket? What’s the west coast of the USA like this time of year? Perhaps the wheat fields of Germany are calling to me… or would I prefer to nurse a stout in a cosy pub in Ireland? The spread of beers available can take you to any of these places. But when you live in the best country in the world, you don’t need to go beyond our shores to get a damn good beer. Redoak’s… Read more
Style
Australian Lager
ABV
4.6%

Redoak American Pale Ale

One of the back rooms at Redoak Boutique Beer Cafe is called The Hop Room. There’s information about hops written on one of the walls, a giant hop hanging from a chandelier, and even the wallpaper is a photographic mural of a hop field. The Redoak team aren’t shy when it comes to their love of hops. Their American Pale Ale backs this up in the style of a West Coast pale ale from the 2000s. It’s full of super clean citrus character, giving punchy shavings of zest but still finishing crisp. There’s… Read more
Style
American Pale Ale
ABV
4.6%

Redoak American Pale Ale

One of the back rooms at Redoak Boutique Beer Cafe is called The Hop Room. There’s information about hops written on one of the walls, a giant hop hanging from a chandelier, and even the wallpaper is a photographic mural of a hop field. The Redoak team aren’t shy when it comes to their love of hops. Their American Pale Ale backs this up in the style of a West Coast pale ale from the 2000s. It’s full of super clean citrus character, giving punchy shavings of zest but still finishing crisp. There’s… Read more
Style
American Pale Ale
ABV
4.6%

Redoak Boutique Beer Cafe Specials

Redoak Brewery Felda's Weiss & The Trap

Tapped April 12, 2019
The German name Felda means “from the field”, and the beer bearing its name is the sort anyone would be more than pleased to be handed at the end of the day when they came in from the field. The bright gold of the wheat crops is captured in the glass, and the clouds floating over the countryside are present in the white, fluffy head. A little natural haze hints at the yeast that makes itself known on the palate – the ester-driven banana flavours are soft and sweet, with just a touch of citrus… Read more
Style
Hefeweizen & Belgian Table Beer
ABV
4.6% & 4.2%

Redoak Malt Teaser

Tapped February 16, 2017
There’s a decent case to claim Redoak brewer David Hollyoak is the Willy Wonka of the Australian beer scene. Not only does he produce a massive number of beers in a dazzling array of styles, but he seems to possess – at least judging by the number of awards lining the Sydney beer cafe’s walls – something of a genius streak when it comes to brewing. Throw in the mysterious quirk whereby no one has seen the inside of his brewery in years and the similarities with Dahl’s character start to… Read more
Style
Dark Lager
ABV
5.8%

Redoak Chateau Sour

Tapped July 10, 2013
Even by Redoak's impressive standards, when it comes to winning awards few of David Hollyoak's beers have enjoyed success quite like that of the Chateau Sour in 2014. A true labour of love, this beer starts out with a base beer created from specialty Chateau malts from Belgium then undergoes spontaneous fermentation in old oak with whatever yeasts are in the air around the brewery at the time. David says: "The beer is wild fermented in barrels, which give it a bit of wood, but as we use old… Read more
Style
Flemish Red
ABV
5.0%

Redoak Special Reserve

Tapped January 4, 2006
Our first meeting proper with Redoak owners David and Janet Hollyoak was a rather special one. On a visit to Sydney, they said they could spare an hour at their Cafe. Six hours, multiple courses of food and pretty much every beer on their list (public and otherwise) later and we bade each other farewell. The last beer to be poured was the Special Reserve, a barley wine that goes through multiple fermentations and spends time in various types of wood that is as close to an aged Pedro Ximenez as it… Read more
Style
Aged Barley Wine
ABV
12.0%
Awards

Grand Champion - AIBA 2006
Supreme Champion Beer - International Beer Challenge 2013
World's Best Flavoured Beer & World's Best Wood Aged Beer - World Beer Awards 2014

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