Patreon’s Choice: Bottled Beers From Siren

Oat Couture

This is another in an occasional series of posts about beers suggested to us by our Patreon supporters. Tim Thomas (@timofnewbury/@UllageBeer) wanted us to try some bottled beers from one of his local breweries, Siren, so we did.

First, though, we want to set out where Siren sits in our men­tal rank­ings of UK brew­eries. We’ve encoun­tered its beers fair­ly fre­quent­ly over the last few years in cask, keg and bot­tle, and have some­times enjoyed them. Most recent­ly we were delight­ed by Kiset­su, a ‘Japan­ese Sai­son’, and had a very pleas­ant night on QIPA, a bare­ly boozy cask-con­di­tioned ale at 2.8%. Some of the big­ger, stranger beers aren’t quite to our taste – we found Caribbean Choco­late Cake too sweet, and Limon­cel­lo too intense to drink in any great vol­ume – but we can tell they are basi­cal­ly decent, prop­er­ly made beers con­struct­ed around inter­est­ing ideas.

And the mid­dle-ground, core range pale ales and IPAs have always seemed fine, if per­haps a bit rough and oniony, with not much to com­mend them over many oth­er exam­ples of the same style.

When we walk into a pub or bar and see a Siren beer on offer, we often order it, but, at the same time, they’re not a brew­ery that springs to mind when we’re asked to name favourites, which we reck­on puts them some­where in the sec­ond divi­sion.

The four beers we looked at this time were all ordered from Beer Ritz back in Octo­ber:

  • Oat Cou­ture, 33oml, £2.72
  • Cere­al­ist Man­i­festo, 33oml, £3.38
  • I Love You Hon­ey Bun­ny, 33oml, £3.89
  • Amer­i­can Oak Brown, 33oml, £3.47

Oat Cou­ture is billed as a hazy Amer­i­can pale ale at 4% ABV and was brewed in col­lab­o­ra­tion with beer retail­er Clap­ton Craft. It poured with only a slight mist and a pleas­ing gold glow. The aro­ma was good, all green leaves and orange fruit, sug­gest­ing some sweaty green­house at Kew. The taste was ini­tial­ly soapy and husky, more ton­ic than plea­sure, but seemed to improve as it went down. It is essen­tial­ly a light, rather dry pale ale, defined by bread-crust malt flavour and lin­ger­ing bit­ter­ness, with a twist of lemon zest to liv­en it up. The bit of sus­pend­ed yeast, we think, soft­ened the edges and added a savoury hum we’d rather was­n’t there. Over­all, we liked it with­out quite being impressed. A good-natured shrug of a beer.

American Oak Brown -- off-white foam.

Amer­i­can Oak Brown, being a big, dark beer at 5.8%, made a stronger impres­sion. In the process of con­struct­ing its stack of off-white foam it threw out grassy aro­mas and vanil­la scent, like a cin­e­ma buck­et of Coke. We expect­ed it to be thin after all that fizz and fuss but it was actu­al­ly mouth-coat­ing and sticky, like choco­late but­tons. The flavours you might expect from a dark beer are there, espe­cial­ly cof­fee, but also more of that raw, green hop­pi­ness which on this occa­sion real­ly worked with the car­bon­a­tion to lift the beer. We real­ly enjoyed this one and would hap­pi­ly drink it again.

We’ll only give a brief note on I Love you Hon­ey Bun­ny a 6.3% hon­ey and oat IPA brewed in col­lab­o­ra­tion with The Oth­er Half, because we let the bot­tle slip past its best before date. We would­n’t say any­thing at all except that, BBE or not, it tast­ed like per­fect­ly good, fresh and zesty bot­tled pale ale. (Per­haps if we’d got to it soon­er there’d have been more of the adver­tised fruit smooth­ie qual­i­ty.)

Cere­al­ist man­i­festo was the biggest beer of the set – a 9% impe­r­i­al stout brewed on col­lab­o­ra­tion with Slim Pick­ens using Cin­na­mon Toast Crunch cere­al – and a hit for us, just about. It’s a fat, beefy beer that smells of gird­ers, cher­ry and rum. There’s some­thing of root beer or botan­i­cal cola in the flavour, fol­lowed up by a dis­tinct but sub­tle spicy burn, and some back­ground earthy dirt­i­ness act­ing as a mild spoil­er. It’s some­how but­tery with­out tast­ing like but­ter – Werther’s Orig­i­nals? It’s cer­tain­ly a strange, exot­ic dessert of a beer that’s a bit loud and could eas­i­ly be obnox­ious, but in the right mood, is just great fun. Per­fect for the Mid­way at the State Fair, if you can find a way to fry it on a stick.

Over­all, this leaves Siren about where they start­ed in our eyes: a brew­ery that throws a lot of mud, some of which sticks, and some of which even glit­ters.

One thought on “Patreon’s Choice: Bottled Beers From Siren”

  1. To me Siren are def­i­nite­ly A list, Many of their beers have been a breath of fresh air, but then I’m just a local boy

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