The Redoak brewery in Sydney’s CBD features three beers on my epic list, which is what led me there on my first ever visit to Sydney last year. It was actually my birthday, and one of my workmates accompanied me there to buy me a birthday brew. He went to the bar to buy me one of my three requested beers, but returned with a sheepish look on his face…”I’ll happily buy you any other beer that you want, but I can’t afford $75 for a 250ml bottle of beer”. I was shocked! This was early in my epic beer quest, and I’d not seen beers priced like that before. I decided that my palate wasn’t yet refined enough to appreciate the nuances of a $75 bottle of beer, and we spent the night testing their other ales instead….
Fast forward 18 months, and the cocky side of my personality decided that I was ready to try at least one of these beers. So I ventured to Redoak again to try beer number 106 off the epic list: the Redoak Framboise Froment. The fact that it was now only $9 a bottle was a very pleasant surprise.
The bottle says:
This is the signature beer of Redoak, apparently born from the head brewer wanting to brew a beer that his wife would enjoy. The middle of the label proudly advertises the Redoak is ‘Australia’s most awarded brewery’ – this particular beer has won Best Australasian Fruit Beer at the World Beer awards UK 2011, Best Specialty Beer at the International Beer Challenge 2010, and Best in Class at the AIBA from 2004 to 2008; ok, that’s pretty impressive. The label also suggests pairing this beer with your favourite desert…and I’d totally love a cheesecake right now.
The beer emits a ruby red sparkle, and is capped by a soft white head that disappears quickly (which isn’t helped by the balloon glass it was served in). Smells exactly like you’d expect – raspberries and wheat. Tart raspberries stick to the top of the mouth, then fall onto the tongue and impart just enough sweetness while the sourness sits on the sides of the tongue. There’s some funky yeast towards the end that’s accompanied a creamy mouth feel, before the tongue is wiped clean leaving only the tart finish behind.
That “funky yeast” component is more of a wheat flavour now, and the tartness shows off more wheat beer qualities with the addition of some clove spice. It has the same creamy mouth feel as before; I can see how this would work well paired with a creamy desert (still can’t get that cheesecake out of my head). The smell is more sweet raspberries now, which plays against the tart flavours nicely.
I’m still not fully sold on fruit beer; if I feel like a refreshing beer, then Framboise Froment isn’t the Redoak beer I’d be reaching for. If, however, I was in the mood for some sparkling red wine, I’d grab this beer in a heartbeat. It’s got all the tart fruit flavours you’d expect, with palate cleansing wheat flavours & yeast notes to add some spice. It’s seriously good stuff, and I’m sure it could convert more than a few red wine drinkers (it’d be easy to mistake this beer for a sparkling rosé, both in appearance and in flavour).
If you’re in Sydney, definitely drop into the Redoak brewery and sample some of their fine ales (I highly recommend the IPA as well…glorious!)