This week, Nick decided to give his pen and palate a rest from ‘Beer of the week’ duties, and has entrusted me with the task – and with it the keys to his secret underground booze bunker. Ironically (and much to the dismay of his pleading liver) he chose to spend the weekend at the Frocester beer festival to drink his own weight in hops, and before heading off to the mean fields of Stroud, triumphantly wafted the impressive beer list in my face in a rather provocative manner.
One of those beers mentioned on the list now sits in front of me, having been spotted and subsequently liberated from the shelves of brown treats that line the walls of Nick’s subterranean lair.
To properly analyse a booze, you really need to sit down somewhere quiet and focus on what may or may not be passing your lips and wafting up your nostrils. A noisy, waterlogged beer tent stuffed to the seams with drunken rugby players is not the best environment to savour a finely crafted beer, it has to be said. I’m hoping Nick tries this beer at the festival, and I hope he’s able to concentrate, because when sampling a Siren Undercurrent, you need to concentrate REAL hard.
It’s a complex booze, and no mistake. A pimped up pale ale, with spicy saison-esque notes wrestling with fruity witbier wafts. On pouring, a foamy head speedily builds, threatening to burst over the glass at first, but then receding just as quickly, burping up an aroma reminiscent of something Belgian and dangerous*. On tasting, the oaty additions lend a smooth mouthfeel to the proceedings. Fresh bread and nutty malts roll around the tongue, grapefruit and mango flavours fizz and pop – and there’s a fleeting taste of floral hops in there too. On the finish, the multitudinous flavours fade and make way for a rousing, piney, bitter crescendo.
This beer is jazz in a bottle. Or Radiohead, circa. Kid A – a complex, busy beer, but undeniably tasty. Siren Undercurrent was on Nick’s Frocester hit list… I’m looking forward to seeing his drunken, scrawling, rain-sodden notes.
Brewery: Siren Craft Brew, Wokingham, Berkshire
Beer name: Undercurrent
* And by this, I mean a strong Belgian beer. I’m not talking about Jean-Claude Van Damme.