Introducing our Beer52 Box Takeover!
If you thought the 10th Anniversary celebrations were over, think again. After a nostalgic re-launch, an incredible brewery party, a huge launch across UK indie pubs, bars and shops and an ongoing European tour, it’s time to announce our next big project - a Beer52 April box takeover.
We first worked with Beer52 back in June 2015, when a few thousand 330ml Soundwave bottles made their way into subscribers’ fridges. Since those days, it’s become one of the most important touchpoints for craft beer in the UK, with almost unrivalled success of introducing new customers to the world of beer that we love, and the people, places and stories behind all of that.
Beer52 have kindly presented us with a number of awards over the years including Best IPA for Soundwave and Best Session IPA for "Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere"
At the beginning of 2020 they kindly agreed to help us launch Lumina in cans, little did we all know that the Lumina launch would only be in cans, with no pubs allowed to open at the time. In fact, Beer52 was a crucial outlet to breweries in that time, and managed to scale with the increasing demand. Some 18 months later, Lumina officially became our best selling beer.
So it felt appropriate that Beer52 should be a part of our 10th anniversary celebrations, as it has been for so many milestones. We loved being a part of The White Hag’s Boxstravaganza collaboration, and wondered if we might be able to go even further with the concept. But what would that look like? Between us we set out to create a box of beers that was exciting to subscribers, representative of Siren and the diverse range that we like to make, and most importantly, delivered beers that we’re proud to have made and will be delicious to drink.
We decided that collaboration would be key, as it always has been to us over the 10 years, but before long it became clear just how mammoth this task was. Our Beer52 Anniversary Box contains no fewer than 16 different beers, with 13 of them collaborations.
In total that means this project is close to 1,000,000 cans in total from our modest home in Finchampstead (if you’re wondering, that amount of cans stacked end to end is longer than the M3 motorway that you might drive along to find us).
Beyond the numbers, it’s a journey through Siren past and present. The team at Ferment have put together a beautiful accompanying magazine, rich with behind the scenes access and interviews with collaborating breweries. The collaborations extend beyond the beer, with our design direction also coming from those breweries, which we think look incredible all together. We’ve been able to work with old friends (including ex-Head Brewers), new acquaintances and a couple of breweries who for some reason we’ve never worked with before, but found the perfect excuse here.
So without further ado, we’d love to introduce you to the 10th Anniversary Beer52 selection.
We start with Activate Deadline Mode (the name is inspired by this video that is very close to home). It’s the latest in a line of IPAs we’ve been developing using techniques learnt during last year’s Time Hops project. This one features Citra and Simcoe in abundance, with good body, a soft mouthfeel and crucially, a rouse of resinous, sappy bitterness that we love so much in IPA.
Technically we have worked with Arbor before, but only as part of a group, so this beer feels overdue and we were excited to be able to team up with them. We’re seeing beers around 3.4% as being very important to us this year, and are working hard to make the best beers we can at the strength. Arbor have done an amazing job for many years at making balanced, sessionable cask beers in particular, so it was a natural fit here. Extra Pale malt gives us a beautifully light drink, with flavour that punches above its weight.
Festival vibes is the order of the day here, as we teamed up with Beer52 and BrewLDN. It’s the first time we’re ever made a SMaSH beer - a concept with beginnings in homebrewing using a single malt (in this case Extra Pale) and a single hop (choosing Citra). It’s a great way to dial-in processes and recipes to get the most out of your ingredients. We’ve layered in Citra T90 and Citra Cryo, the idea being that we should get a nice rounded expression of Citra with layered flavour, even though it’s only one hop. Try this and others from the box on keg at Brew//LDN this year. Homebrewers - let us know if you’d like the recipe! Thanks also to Adele Juraža, Ferment Magazine designer, who worked on the label for this one.
Sometimes collaborations are born from the strangest places. While Darron was out selecting hops last year, Erol (Stoneface Co-Founder), spotted his Maiden t-shirt. He actually loved it so much that they ended up swapping t-shirts right there in the bar! (Sorry/you’re welcome to everyone for this image). A friendship was born, and when Darron brought back some of their cans, they were so good we knew we had to work with them. A rare collaboration that we’re lucky to have worked on, this Session IPA is in the Stoneface house style and showcases an exciting hop in a trial phase, HBC586. It’s known for delivering a medley of sweet fruit flavours, mango, guava, lychee and citrus in abundance.
The big hitter of the box, Double Digits is a dank and delicious Double IPA. It’s a great example of how hop combinations can be put together, as Strata and Citra bring the fruit punch, Hallertau Blanc adds mid-notes and depth with light grape and gooseberry, Mosaic helps with tropical tones and dank aromas, while Chinook gives the beer the piney ‘edge’ that we’re looking for. It’s a challenge to make sure these beers aren’t too sweet, so the hops are crucial in that, with enough bitterness to balance things out against the malts and alcohol. We’re delighted with it, and what a pleasure to work with Protokoll in Berlin, who’s bar we’ve been long time fans of.
We’d never been lucky enough to brew with Adnams before this year, but now we’ve got both a home and an away collaboration in (Look out for Secret Springs on a bar near you!)! We thought it would be fun to team up with them on a California IPA, a style we love, but one that seems a long way away from the English East Coast and the kind of beers that Adnams are renowned for. The MO for this IPA was clean bitterness, crisp, refreshing drinking and tropical fruit flavour. Chinook is a great addition here, maybe underrated as a hop, but so important to so many beers.
Adam from Reuben’s actually grew up down the road from our Hogwood Lane home back in the day, but now owns and runs a brewery in Seattle. When he was over visiting family a few years ago he dropped in to see us and a friendship was born (coincidentally, our Head Brewer at the time was Kyle, who had done the opposite trip - who remembers Home From Home?). We recently worked with them on an Eton Mess Sour in Ballard, but while spending time there took note of their Cold IPAs. This style is still burgeoning in the UK, but has already shown it can deliver unique and interesting flavours, with the hops interacting with fermenting lager yeast. We’ve taken Reuben’s guidance here, who are making some great examples, so this beer is fermented at 16°C (in context, an IPA usually would be around 19-20°C, and a lager at 13°C). Expect more from us and Reuben’s, and more from Cold IPA.
What a treat to get Pastel Pils into some new hands this year. This lager is low-key becoming a core range product for us. It was originally inspired by Italian-style pilsners, so it has some sweetness in the base, all noble hops, subtle bitterness and a really great pop of aroma. A massive bonus with this beer is that it’s also gluten-free. The Enzyme we use breaks down the gluten to a point where it’s suitable for people with intolerances to Gluten, along with coeliacs, but without sacrificing anything in terms of flavour, body or aroma (Don’t forget, Lumina, our flagship Session IPA, is also gluten free).
If you’re going to pick up the phone to someone to team up with on a Birthday stout - it should probably be Colin Stronge, Head Brewer at SALT. We love working with this team, and this beer is everything you’d expect from a celebratory stout between us. We’ve used some incredible maple Bourbon cubes, made from ex-Bourbon oak saturated in sticky maple syrup. This is the best way we’ve found to get maple syrup flavour into beer, and as an added bonus we also get some delicious caramel and vanilla notes, along with some balancing tannins. This is a Nitro can, so make sure to pour hard.
Birthday Bourbon is all sold out!
We’re massive fans of The White Hag, and they were top of the list to work with here as they so kindly invited us to be a part of Boxstravaganza previously, not to mention Hagstravaganza being one of our favourite festivals. This brown ale is inspired by a certain biscuit that takes its name from BIScuit and COFFee - which is exactly what you can expect when drinking it. There’s nuttiness, spices, delicate nuance of Amburana wood, a touch of coffee and plenty of rich, dark caramelisation. Above all though, it’s highly drinkable and very moreish.
Another brewery on the list that we’re collaborating with for the first time here, and a brewery that we hold in high regard. Respective Head Brewers Sean & Sophie first met when Sophie was running the pilot plant at Munton’s Malt. Between them, they began to work on a malt extract especially designed for use in Black IPA, so in some ways this beer is 8+ years in the making! They’re both big believers in Black IPA being IPA-first, so in a blind tasting, you would never guess the colour. The trick of the eyes concept is in full swing here, with hoppy, resinous and zesty orange aromas bouncing out of the glass. Check out the artwork, which is a riff on another Burnt Mill Black IPA, and has come out amazingly well.
Our Best Bitter is pretty hard to come by these days. It’s largely reserved for cask, naturally, with our very own George & Dragon pub being top of the list for takers. We enjoy it in cans a lot though, not least because dosing with nitrogen actually gives it a profile which is not dissimilar to drinking the beer on cask in your local pub. It’s smooth, slightly creamy, and the muted carbonation somehow gives the roasted malts space to open up. The secret ingredient is a touch of Cascade in the dry hop.
What can be said about Buxton Brewery that hasn’t been already? Consistently at the top of their game and brewers of some inspirational and iconic beers. We were recently lucky enough to work with them on Trickster, an IPA experimenting with some newer British hops, but Soft Focus takes a different route. We’re huge fans of the Neomexicanus sub-species of hops (you might recognise names like Talus, Sabro or El Dorado) . The plants are resilient and love dry climates, and the hops themselves are pithy, pungent and oh-so-flavoursome. All three mentioned above feature in this beer, but maybe Talus is the star. We helped launch this hop in 2021 when it was officially named, and are consistently blown away by its juicy, zesty pink grapefruit impact. This beer is one you just won’t get bored of.
Red IPA is a style close to our hearts. It’s probably the style that most inspired Darron to start a brewery, and we’ve done our very best to keep it in our range ever since week one. Sometimes loved, sometimes hated, often misunderstood, Red IPAs are unique in that you get the benefit of hearty, biscuity and nutty malts AND the punchy hop profiles required to stand up to that sweetness. In the combination lies magic, and that’s what we’ve tried to create here with our friends at Brew By Numbers. We both enjoy Amarillo in the style, with its orangey aromas working really nicely, so BBNo suggested an addition of Seville Orange Marmalade to embellish those notes. Colour, flavour and one of our favourite ever collaborative designs, we really hope you enjoy this one.
Chief lover of the Simcoe hop, our former Head Brewer, Kyle, played a huge part in our professionalisation during his 5 years with Siren. Creative Projects and ideas were always at the forefront, including a fabulous beer brewed for the Van Gogh exhibition for the Tate, along with projects like Project Barista. Kyle and his wife Kacie are now running their own brand, Kings & Daughters, which should soon have its own thriving brewpub. Crisp Pale Ale is a style Kyle has been developing. It’s clean, snappy and makes for classy drinking. We’ve also trialled Aromozyme here, an enzyme that is designed to promote biotransformation (this might be a whole other blog to itself…) - so we’re looking for as much pleasurable aroma and flavour as we can possibly get from the hop additions. Thanks to Kacie for the beautiful illustration.
Last but not least, a collaboration with Casita, the brewery of Ryan (our first Head Brewer) and Mahalia. They’re making some amazing beer, but also doing awesome work for the local community in their home in Wilson, North Carolina. Pick Me Up is inspired by a beer we made together many years ago - Double Iced Latte. We love experimenting with coffee additions in different styles of beer, incorporating in different ways, and playing with different combinations. Here, the rich roast espresso dances among bright hoppiness - something you really have to taste to believe. We decided not to use Lactose, but there’s still a creaminess to the beer, helped by a touch of Vanilla. This is probably the wildcard of the box, perfect for a brew with Ryan, but could be many people’s favourite of the whole bunch.
So, how about that? This project has tested us as a brewery, but in doing so has shown us just how smart, committed and determined our team is. (To give it some context, we also had our Anniversary releases to work on, plus the installation of a new kegging line, right in the middle of all this.) We’re hugely grateful to Beer52 for the opportunity to do this. It’s been a completely unique opportunity for a brewery of our small size to work on something this big, with beers that will go so far. To be given the trust to make these beers in our own way is a big compliment. Thanks to everyone involved, and in particular the collaborating breweries who were so generous with their time and insight for this project.
We sincerely hope you all enjoy the beers.