Just in time for the weekend, Sydney has scored a new spot that’s set to satisfy our thirst for all things natural and minimal intervention (AKA those super interesting and damn tasty drinks we can’t seem to get enough of RN).
Located on the second floor of The Taphouse in Darlinghurst, Odd Culture is a new, super-specialised venture from the pub’s owners, brothers James and Josh Thorpe. While The Taphouse is known for its primo selection of local and independent craft beers, Odd Culture will delve a little deeper into the artisanal booze scene. They'll be pouring only natural wine and what could be described as its counterpart in the beer world: wild ale or wild fermented beer.
At Odd Culture, you’re going to find a constantly rotating, handpicked selection of 20 beers on tap and 12 natural wines, as well as a 100-strong bottle beer list of wild ale—that's the largest selection in all of Australia. Pretty cool.
We dropped in last night to meet James to check out what it’s all about it. And guys, we can confirm you’ll want to add this one to your list.
For everyone out there wondering WTH wild ale is, don’t worry, you're not alone. James assures us it’s still a pretty niche idea in Australia with only a handful of producers presently making it on our shores. "Wild fermented beer is at the forefront of craft beer at the moment," James says. However, the brewing process is nothing new. "It is in a lot of ways a European tradition. It's similar to how you would make ancient styles of beer like Lambic or Oud bruin."
While most modern beer is typically fermented using a yeast culture made in a lab to ensure taste consistency in the final product, a wild ale is a little more, well, wild. Brewers will open up their brewing tanks and allow yeast cultures traveling in the wind to blow in. "Those wild yeast cultures sour the beer in freeform, varying ways that you can’t really ever replicate, so every beer is completely different," James explains.
If you’re not into the bitterness or heavy malty flavour of regular beer, but are nonetheless a generally curious human, wild ale could be for you. "A lot of the sour beers are really wine-like," says James. "A lot of those producers are using grapes, or skins, or oak barrels."
Because, like wine, wild ale pairs swimmingly with cheese, the crew at Odd Culture will be serving an ever-changing menu of natural cheeses. There'll be DIY mixed plates, where you can mix and match cured meats and schmancy tinned seafood with gorgonzola picante, Barossa wash rind Reblochon, and Maffra cheddar. For heartier meals, you'll find a selection of snacks and burgers, including a toastie with chilli infused spreadable salami and cheddar reverse toasted on thick sourdough.
As for the look and feel, Odd Culture is candle-lit and cozy. Inspired by beer and wine farmhouses, brick walls have a distressed finish made from peeling back existing paint to reveal cherry-pink and soft violet hues. Select wines hover above the bar and a custom, hand-painted mural by Angeline Drinan (Head of Scenic Art at Opera Australia). The painting is a vista across a field of hops and malt, from the perspective of a farmer looking out across their crop.
Check out all the new Sydney venues were excited about this month, here.
Image credit: Supplied.