Odd Culture: A wild ale and natural wine bar

Odd Culture

Odd Culture, a first of its kind wild ale and natural wine bar, opened up in Darlinghurst. Up on the second level of award-winning craft beer pub, The Taphouse, Odd Culture offers a constantly rotating menu of twenty beers on tap, twelve wines, and the largest bottle list of wild ales and sour beers in Australia.

Brothers James and Josh Thorpe purchased The Taphouse in 2017 making a commitment to retain the venue’s focus on local and independent beer. The Taphouse continues to be respected as Sydney’s most awarded craft beer venue with a menu boasting some of Australia’s best beers, natural wines and artisanal spirits. The Thorpes wanted to further harness their strong passion for the wild ale and natural wine movement by reinventing the middle-level of the pub and create a space with a serious, yet accessible drink offering.

James Thorpe says: “We’ve found that guests are much more discerning with what they drink, which is a fantastic thing to see for the craft beer and natural wine industry and has changed the landscape for the better. People are actively searching for quality products, principles and producers they can get behind and want to be proud of what they drink. There is so much quality and variety now because we care a lot more about what we’re drinking and where it comes from”.

The drinks list echoes this sentiment – a collaboration between bar manager Jordan Blackman (ex Chin Chin, Ananas) who brings with him a strong and dedicated natural wine background, and venue beverage manager, Tom Evans (ex Royal Albert, Wayward), popularly known as one of most knowledgeable ‘beer nerds’ in Sydney. It showcases a diverse range of local and international wild ales that have been naturally soured from wild fermentation rather than through a controlled sterile process and natural and sustainable wines produced with minimal intervention. The constantly rotating selection of twenty beers and twelve natural wines on tap is complemented by a 100-strong wild bottle beer list, the largest selection in the country.

Gracing the taps first are the likes of Wildflower Brewing and Blending’s ‘St. Thomas’ (a wild ale re-fermented with cherries), Belgian brewer Rodenbach’s ‘Alexander’ Flanders Red Ale, Boatrocker Brewers ‘Double Barrel Aged Brett’ Berliner Weisse, La Sirène Brewing’s ‘Saisonette’, Two Metre Tall’s ‘Wild Cider’ and Garage Project’s ‘Dinky Pinky Rhubarb & Strawberry Barrel Aged Sour’.

Wines are poured by the glass to encourage guests to try something new and rewarding every time they return to the bar and bottles will be displayed on the back of the bar for guests to browse the quirky labels that often make natural wine so appealing. There is a mix of old and new world producers on offer, with local Australian winemakers like Victoria’s Konpira Maru and Chevre Wines, appearing alongside international producers such as Pheasant’s Tears from Kakheti, Georgia and Anne Sophie Dubois from Beaujoulais, France. Odd Culture’s signature cocktail is their ‘Sour Negroni’ made using homemade Rodenbach vermouth with citric and malic acids, and there is also a variety of local craft sodas supplied by their friends at PS40.

For those wanting to expand their knowledge, Odd Culture will host a fortnightly educational ‘meet the winemaker/brewer’ program, to showcase a wide range of brands and encourage organic conversation about the natural movement. The first of these events, the ‘Ale Stars X Odd Culture Showcase’, will be held on Wednesday 15 August, featuring Alastair Reed from Konpira Maru Wine Company and James Dittko, head brewer at Mayday Hills and Bridge Road Brewers. Guests will taste wild fermented beers and natural wines paired with two-courses, trivia and banter with the makers. Tickets are $45 and can be purchased from www.taphousedarlo.com.au/alestars

The food menu features a constantly revolving door of natural cheeses, cured meats and tinned seafood, where guests can build their own mixed plate. Think taleggio, gorgonzola picante, Maffra cheddar and Barossa wash rind Reblochon, alongside tins of squid in ink, octopus, and sardines by Spanish artisan Luis Escuris Batalla, and Quattro Stelle cured meats sliced to order like wagyu belosa, prosciutto, fennel and garlic salami, and ‘nduja tartufo truffle. The Taphouse’s Head Chef, Rob Paget, has also created a short menu for the bar with a selection of snacks and burgers, most notably featuring ‘The Toastie’ with ‘nduja salumi and cheddar reverse toasted on thick sourdough.

The space takes its inspiration from beer and wine farmhouses. The walls carry a strong distressed finish made from peeling back the existing paint, revealing layers of stunning colours travelling from deep blue, red and purple at one end of the room to a lighter, antique-type finish at the bar. Above the bar sits a stunning mural that frames the bar, designed by Angeline Drinan (Head of Scenic Art at Opera Australia), hand painted from the perception of an unnamed farmer looking out from their farmhouse to a view of the crop field of hops and malt grown on the farm.

Odd Culture
Level 2, The Taphouse
122 Flinders Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010, Australia
T: +61 2 9360 0088 | E: hello@taphousedarlo.com.au

*all images by Jasper Avenue

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