A look back on 2019
What a year 2019 has been, and we’re not even talking about the world outside the brewery - we won’t even go there. It’s been a big year of change for us, so we wanted to go look back and go over a few highlights.
Let’s start with the biggest changes we made this year - our brand new image and our shiny new canning line. The line has lead to some stressful and incredible tense times with a host of delays, issues and new problems to solve. But, the benefits are obvious and we couldn’t be happier with our new can production. So far we’ve canned our 4 core beers, Soundwave, Yu Lu, Calypso and Broken Dream and have since canned 25 other beers. These include regulars like Santo and Pompelmocello, new favourites like Big Red Machine, collabs like Oats on Oats and of course The Caribbean Chocolate Cake range.
The new can designs have been really well received and we can’t thank everyone enough for their feedback and support. It was a big project behind the scenes, one that we’re continually working on.
In the new year, we can’t wait to bring some old favourites back, and into cans. We kick things off with Cold-Steeper Porter, Coldblooded, later in the year Hard Rollin’ and then of course, White Tips! We’re also really looking forward to 2020’s Project Barista range in cans.
Along with the new canning line, we welcomed in our Head Brewer, Sean Knight. Sean joined us with a wealth of experience, knowledge and contacts and has proved to be an incredible acquisition for the Siren family.
Not only has he begun to develop some amazing new beers, he’s galvanised the team and helped make the transition to canning go as smoothly as possible. We can’t wait for what Sean’s got planned in 2020, especially knowing that he sees wood as the 5th ingredient.
And speaking of Wood, let’s look at some of the various adjuncts used in 2019. We all know about the core elements of beer, and our “Suspended in” series shows our love of experimenting with hop combos (more on that later!). Sometimes though, you need that little something extra to push flavours.
The obvious place to start is with Caribbean Chocolate Cake. Joining the Cacao nibs and husks, we always use plenty of Cypress wood but this year Amburana wood made its first appearance. We also had vanilla, cranberries and coffee in the white chocolate version.
Coffee is always a big deal at Siren, not just in the morning ritual, but in many of our beers. Broken Dream, our flagship Breakfast Stout, uses “The Baron” coffee, from Climpsons & Sons throughout the year, but the highlight is the annual Project Barista beers. This year, saw coffee being used in a variety of methods. We cold-steeped, we barrel-aged beans, we made espresso and fresh coffee.
Some of the fruits that have made their way into our beers this year include Blueberry, Mango, Peach, Passionfruit, Papaya, Grapefruit, Lemon, Pink Guava, Orange & Raspberry.
The most interesting adjunct driven beer of the year came in the form of our collaboration with Broaden & Build, Marginal Grains. When Matt Orlando (Who was Head Chef at Noma when it was the best restaurant in the world) is in your brewery, you know interesting flavours are going to lead the charge. Featuring wild foraged Yarrow flowers, fennel and mugwort the end result with herbal, crisp and something truly different.
Broaden & Build move us on to Collaborations. We love inviting friends along to come brew with us, and we love visiting others as well. Along with Broaden & Build (Copenhagen, Denmark) This year we’ve brewed in Finchampstead with Humble Sea (California, USA), Brouwerij Kees (Middelburg, Netherlands), Collective Arts (Canada), Van Moll (Eindhoven, Netherlands), Varvar (Ukraine), Kings & Daughters (Oregon, USA), Northern Monk (Leeds, UK), Left Handed Giant (Bristol, UK), Track (Manchester, UK) and Magic Rock Brewing (Huddersfield, UK).
Of course it’s not just breweries, we’ve also collaborated with coffee roasters Climpson & Sons, Pharmacie Coffee Roasters, Redemption Roasters and Quarter Horse Coffee and even an art gallery, Tate.
We’ve also been on the road to go brew elsewhere. Two notable favourites have been our collaboration barrel aged beer with BrewDog Overworks, Up From The South, and when Darron flew out to Spain to brew with Basqueland.
Of course travelling doesn’t just mean brewing, we attend a lot of festivals. In 2019 we went to Craft Beer Rising, Cloudwater’s Friends, Family & Beer, Affinity’s Cask, Beer Geek Madness, Craft Theory, Tallinn Beer Week, Budapest Beer Week, Liquid Arts Festival, Bristol Craft Beer Festival, Nottingham Craft Beer Festival, Carnyval Brett, Hagstravaganza, London Craft Beer Festival, Great British Beer Festival, Peakender, Leeds International Beer Festival, Indyman, CBC, What’s Brewing and Vesselfest. Not to mention the enormous amounts of Tap Takeovers and events we’ve had around the country.
We love attending festivals and we love meeting you all there. Seeing people try and react to our beers firsthand is awesome for us. Thank you to everyone who’s come to seek us out, try beers and have a chat. Also, a huge thank you to all the bars, pubs and venues who continue to host events for us, and to those who attend. We’re all looking forward to a load more in 2020!
So let’s look at some of the beers brewed in 2020. Along with the 6 (including Liquid Mistress) flagship beers, there were 26 Suspended in brews, 14 festival specials and 46 seasonals and collabs. That’s a total of 92 beers brewed this year.
The Suspended in… range of 4% Hazy Pale Ales has once again come for some brilliant feedback and again, we can’t thank you all enough. We’ve brought some old favourites back for a re-brew, like Chinook, Citra and Cascade, along with some new versions like Idaho, Kveik and Lemondrop.
It’s been another incredible year of Tap Yard expansion. This year our opening hours have been extended again, we’ve added a permanent pizza offering and now we have our “Warehouse Garden” open at weekends. If you’ve not seen it yet, we re-purpose the warehouse for an extra, inside and heated seating option.
We’ve also been joined by our new Tap Yard manager, Max, who is busy building a great team around him to keep our visitors well fed, glasses full and the beer conversation flowing. Come along and see us some day!
And lastly, if you’ve missed any of our blogs this year, what not take a look back on what’s been said:
Missing Caribbean Chocolate Cake?
Welcome to the Barrel Store
RateBeer Best 2018
The Comeback Kids
Introducing Maiden 18
We are Citizens of Everywhere
Extended Tap Yard Opening Hours
Thousand Things IPA
Is Sabro Your New Favourite Hop?
The Past, The Present and the Future
Meet Dave Hall, Siren Lead Brewer
Taking the Plunge into Project Barista
Calypso Hot Sauce
From Norway with Love
Pizza at the Siren Tap Yard
Introducing Sean Knight
The Sirens Awaken
Down at the Tap Yard
Siren Summer: Where will your beer go?
The Beauty of Beer Festivals
440 Cans Have Arrived
10 Things You Might Not Know About Reading Abbey Ruins
Marginal Grains - A Foraged Herb American Wheat Beer
Tap Yard - Street Food Weekends
Behind The Scenes at IndyMan
IPAs for Days
More Time at the Bar
You Spin Me Right Round: Introducing the SpinBot
The 5th Ingredient: Wood in Brewing
We're Going Dark this Christmas
The Christmas Shop is Open
Christmas Open Hours & Delivery
Christmas Beers Beers Beers