The Barrel Room by Akasha
Pineapple. Bread crust. Peach. These aren’t things you’d typically associate with a schooner at your local. But if you live anywhere near Leichhardt, your five-o’clock swill might taste a little different thanks to The Barrel Room, a bar and diner by Five Dock’s Akasha Brewing Company.
Like many Sydney breweries, Akasha has built its name on exemplary, hop-centric beers – but this is the first to complement its core offering with a dedicated barrel-aging program, and a standalone venue to showcase the results.
The barrel-aging process involves taking beer (sometimes fermented with wild airborne yeasts) and storing it in spirit or wine barrels for an extended period of time. The characteristics of the wood add complexity, but it’s a gamble as to when the beer is “finished” – and can take years, with rigorous tasting along the way
Akasha has turned its hand to this medieval brewing style, joining established local breweries Wildflower, Slow Lane and Beer Fontaine. Unlike those peers, Akasha’s Norton Street venue is the only place in Australia where you can sample its barrel-aged series, served in either 750ml champagne bottles or as a monthly-rotating option by the glass.
Highlights include a blond sour ale, a triple amber ale (aged in old Pedro Ximénez barrels), and a Belgian quadruple ale (aged in ex-Jack Daniel’s barrels). They join a revolving cast of barrel-aged options from the likes of Bridge Road, Wildflower and more. Nine beer taps pour a greatest hits selection from Akasha, plus venue exclusives.
The Barrel Room also champions Australian spirits – served in classic, house and highball cocktails – and NSW winemakers, with a broad showing of wineries and cideries from around the country.
If you’re settling in, there’s a food menu to match the venue’s moody, wine bar feel. Go for local cheese, charcuterie, pickled veg, and flatbreads flecked with salt and extra virgin olive oil. Otherwise, it’s pizza – made with dough that’s slow-fermented with brewer’s yeast – in iterations such as pepperoni, eggplant and buffalo mozzarella, and a vegan supreme.
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