Siren Craft Brew Co, White Tips
After selling his IT business, Darron Anley headed to the 2012 Craft Brewers Conference in San Diego to gather inspiration and to start assembling a team for a very different kind of British brewery. Whilst he was in the States, Darron met the charismatic brewer, Ryan Witter-Merithew. The pair joined forces to launch Siren on an innocuous-looking industrial estate in Finchampstead (it’s near Reading) the following year.
They launched with a core range that included Undercurrent (Oatmeal Pale), Soundwave (West Coast IPA), Liquid Mistress (Red IPA) and Broken Dream (Coffee Breakfast Stout); all beers that took the UK craft beer scene by storm. That same year they also set out their stall as barrel-ageing pioneers, dabbling with some experimental and special beers that played a large part in them being announced as England's Best New Brewery and The Second Best New Brewery in the World by ratebeer.com just one year after launching. The year after that they somehow went one better by being named as the Best Brewery in England by the same website which uses ratings by drinkers to dish out the awards.
Witter-Merithew is now back in the USA and brewing at Siren is headed up by Kyle Larsen, who previously worked at Double Mountain Brewery in Oregon. Kyle is joined in the brew team by Sam Squires, who dreamt up this week’s beer. He talks us through it...
“Working here at Siren, I’m lucky enough to be involved with lots of weird, wonderful, crazy brews, one-offs and seasonals. White Tips for me is the one to get excited about. It’s a hybrid Witbier/Session IPA we first conceived back in May 2014. It immediately became a team favourite, accompanying weekly BBQs throughout the Spring/Summer season, and has been eagerly anticipated each year since. The beer still ranks in Ratebeer.com’s Top 50 Wheat Ales, which we’re really proud of considering it’s not a strictly true representation of the style, but our own hoppy take. We use a traditional Belgian wit yeast to work in harmony with the vibrant citrus zest of Orange, Lime and Grapefruit, before a healthy hop dosing of Centennial, Cascade, Motueka and Simcoe hops.”
Sam talks us through a White Tips brew day.
Siren’s core range, which hasn’t changed since they launched in 2013 except for the addition of Calypso (Sour Pale), has recently earned a listing in Waitrose, whilst the Draft House has committed to having Siren cask beers permanently on in every single one of their bars. As if that wasn’t enough to keep the Berkshire outfit busy, Siren’s special projects, such as the Rainbow project (a transatlantic collaboration between 14 breweries) and Project Barista (a masterclass of coffee beers), show no sign of slowing down.
The top accolades continue to roll in for Darron and his team. Just last week, Broken Dream won CAMRA’s prestigious Champion Beer of Britain award. If Siren Craft Brew Co can win the CAMRA crowd over with a 6.5% breakfast stout loaded with coffee and lactose, then there is no guessing what they can achieve next.