Saturday, 27 December 2014

12 Beers Of Xmas - Day 3

The Twelve Beers Of Christmas
Beer Three
Siren Craft Brew / Stillwater Artisanal Ales
- When The Light Gose Out 4.6%

I love beer, this is a well known fact and pretty obvious really, but I also really like shopping for beer too.

There are particular places I like to go to to buy beer, most of which are in London, but I do have a few regular haunts a bit further afield. The place that I frequent most, and which conveniently just happens to be right around the corner from where I work, is the Ales By Mail Craft Beer Shop. I tend to go there when I know that they've got something specific in that I want, but occasionally I like to browse the shelves to see if something catches me eye, and you can guess the rest.

Considering they are a mere two years old, Siren sure have made one hell of an impact. For me they are *Golden Pint Spoiler Alert* producing the best beer in the UK at the moment, consistently delivering fantastic and exciting craft beer that get me excited with every release. So when I saw that they had brewed a gose with Stillwater Artisanal Ales one of America's most exciting and innovative and exciting breweries, not to mention having some awesome artwork on their bottles, I was quite anxious to get hold of a bottle. So, seeing that on the shelves at Ales By Mail, put their that very morning, I had it in my hand and was heading to the counter to pay.

A gose is a German top fermenting beer style that originated in the town of Goslar in Lower Saxony in the early Sixteenth Century. It is traditionally brewed with around fifty percent malted wheat, coriander and salt, and as such does not comply with the Reinheitsgebot, the German beer purity law stating that only hops, water and malt were to be used in brewing, however it was allowed as a regional speciality. It is a style that has died out and been revived on various occasions, however it seems to be experiencing something of a renaissance at present with breweries from all over the world taking an interest in it, along with many others that were previously forgotten.

Siren and Stillwater's take on this style is brewed with Hawaiian black salt and hibiscus, a popular ingredient in itself in 2014, with a good dose of brettanomyces to pull it all together, I can't wait to get that bottle open.

There's that unmistakable brettanomyces aroma as I open the bottle and it pours jet black, no messing about here it's as black as a solar eclipse with it's thin beige head fading as quickly as the light is extinguished when the moon passes in front of the sun. The aroma is very reminiscent of a dunkel, a dark German lager, with some harsh dry chocolate malt notes, but as is warms it reveals some wonderful black cherry notes combining to make it smell a little like a Black Forest gateau. It's quite thin over the tongue with the merest notion of fizz playing around the sides of the tongue but I am knocked immediately sideways by a burst of hibiscus, black cherry and raspberry when I was expecting a hit of chocolate and coffee, looks can certainly be deceptive. There is a hint of chocolate here though, a dark undercurrent carrying it all along rather beautifully to a dry but still fruity ending as the memory of those cherry flavours endure, and urge you to go back for more.

This is a wonderful beer with surprises at every turn, and to be honest I wasn't expecting anything less. When two great breweries, and I use the word great advisedly, come together to produce a beer sometimes the results cam be a bit hit and miss, but I'm very pleased to report that they've got it absolutely spot on here. In fact i'm going to see if I can get hold of a few more bottles as, despite it's relatively low abv, I have a feeling that this will age rather well.


  1. Great review Justin! I'm in the US and looking for someone to help me obtain a bottle of it. Would you be able to help?

  2. I'll see what I can do Chris. Watch this space.