Kings & Daughters x Siren
Kyle and Kacie, on friendship and exploration
Photos: Kings & Daughters
Saturday 08 April 2023
This article is from
Siren's 10th Birthday
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Kyle Larsen holds a special place in Siren’s story. Though now the co-founder of Kings & Daughters, a microbrewery in his hometown of Hood River, Oregon, Kyle was once Siren’s head brewer. During his three years at Finchampstead, almost three of which saw Kyle at Siren’s helm, the team today tells me that Kyle was integral to projects that scaled capacity, honed professional practice, and fostered the creative and high-concept approach Siren is known for today.
Upon returning to the States in 2019, Kyle and his wife Kacie, who’s now Kings & Daughters’ co-owner and creative director, set out to establish a brewery of their own. After a pandemic-induced false start, Kyle and Kacie launched Kings & Daughters in 2021 when Kyle helped commission a contract brewing facility where he is able to brew Kings & Daughters beer as an Alternating Proprietor; a relationship that allows Kings & Daughters to physically brew, cellar, and package their beer as if it is their own brewery.
The high praise Siren still sings of Kyle flows just as generously in the opposite direction. Kyle says: “the team at Siren is second to none and many people there influenced what Kings & Daughters would become. From Steve Hoile the packaging manager/barrel whisperer who helped me hone my palate (his sensory lexicon often included colours) and navigate the challenge of creating complex (weird) beer, to Andy Nowlan who made sure the beer looked great on the shelf and let me beat him at Ping Pong every once in a while, to everyone in between.”
He continues, saying that “Kings & Daughters certainly wouldn't be who we are if it wasn't for our time in the UK. We are hanging our hats on lower-ABV beer, (certainly by US standards) because we absolutely love the pub culture in the UK. Meeting at the pub with friends and locals to have a few pints of low-ABV beer is our idea of a good time. The history and raging fireplaces may have a bit to do with it as well. We just released our first English beer, a dark mild, named after our local, The Bell at St. Lawrence Waltham.”
I ask Kyle about the influence collaboration in general terms has had both on the development of Kings & Daughters, and his brewing career to date. He tells me that above all else, collabs are about “friendship, exploration, and trying new things. The old adage that two heads are better than one is 100% true when it comes to collaborations. Us brewers are constantly thinking about what to do next, what would be fun, what can we do that would be different, what would be exciting, etc. Sometimes those ideas are outlandish (Siren knows a thing or two about those), sometimes they are concepts that need developing, and sometimes you just want some hops.
“Any way you swing it though, it is so much nicer to have another brewery to hold hands with when you jump into the unknown when creating beer that you don't have that much experience with.” Kyle says that the Crisp Pale Ale Kings & Daughters is brewing for Beer52 in collaboration with Siren “was and is an unknown style, based on a concept that requires work, and there is no-one better to work on it with than Siren, masters of low-ABV (again, in American terms) beers”.
Kyle and Kacie launched Kings & Daughters in 2021 with the support of their four children
The concept of which Kyle speaks, ultimately aims to marry low abv, high hop flavour, and a lager like crispness by using the enzyme β-Glucosidase. Kyle is keen to point out that the fine folks at Alvarado Street Brewery in California have been championing the use of β-Glucosidase for some time, and so he affords full credit to them for inspiring Kings & Daughters to use it in the brewing of this beer. Want to know how β-Glucosidase works?
As you may already know from science classes you took at school, enzymes are proteins that help to break down specific compounds in specific ways. In the case of β-Glucosidase, the enzyme works on a sugar molecule found in hops called terpenyl glycoside. On its own, this compound doesn’t contribute much aroma to a beer, but the enzyme β-Glucosidase essentially has the ability to pry apart, or cleave out a part of the glycoside molecule so that we’re essentially left with an extra fermentable sugar (a glucose bonded to hop compounds) and an aromatic alcohol compound (a monoterpene alcohol).
When this happens the yeast has more sugars to consume and so increases the fermentability of the beer, making for a crisper finish (hence the name Crisp Pale Ale), and the liberated, or unbound, hop-derived terpenes are free to yield spectacular flavour and aroma. While we have a lot to learn about this kind of biotransformation in the world of beer, bound and unbound monoterpene alcohols are well researched and commonly considered in the making of wine. This Crisp Pale Ale balances the knowledge we have of how this kind of biotransformation works, with the element of exploration and experimentation that both Siren and Kings & Daughters are known for.
Cover image of Kyle and Siren team © Tim Pritchard
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