Adnams x Siren
Celebrating a decade of friendship
Photos: Anthony Cullen
Saturday 08 April 2023
This article is from
Siren's 10th Birthday
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Adnams production director Fergus Fitzgerald first bumped into Siren Founder Darron in the early 2010s, at the famous Craft Beer Conference in Denver, Colorado; a chance meeting that would spark a mutual admiration between the two breweries, spawning collaborations and friendship over the subsequent decade.
The pairing isn’t as curious as it might first seem – while many drinkers will view Adnams as a very traditional, mainstream British brewery, it has always had a distinctly craft-like outlook. Even back in the mid-2000s, before ‘craft’ as such had taken off here, Adnams took the bold step of ripping out its ageing, traditional brewhouse and, rather than simply replace it, upgraded it to a far more versatile, modern system.
This obviously delivered benefits in terms of environmental performance and more efficient use of raw ingredients, but it also opened the door to brewing different styles, with more exotic ingredients. “The heritage of Adnams is clearly important to us, but we don't want it to be a museum, we need to keep evolving,” says Fergus. “So it seemed like a good idea to go and see how some of those other styles were being brewed – that’s how we started going to CBC.
“The year I met Darron – who was there with Rich from Magic Rock – we were all united by our love of beer, and I think a large part of that was the excitement around the IPAs coming out of the US. I’m not sure they were called ‘West Coast’ IPAs at the time, because they were the only IPA that anyone cared about.”
When the question was raised of what to brew with Siren for this month’s Beer52 box, in celebration of this milestone, the answer was already there: a California IPA, the style that in Fergus’s words “brought so many brewers together”.
“We’d already reached out to Siren about doing something this year, actually,” he continues. “There are plenty of reasons to love what Siren do: great beer, a decent, ethical business, and good people. I think the real reason that we asked this year was the work they did last year on the Time Hops series.
“The best thing about collaborations is learning about how other brewers use ingredients, about their brewing process, about the hop varieties they love and what they were looking for from them, how they handle dry hopping, or their yeast, or the water profile, or more recently, what your energy bill has multiplied by. Working with other brewers always makes you question what you do, and pushes you to try something new. The best collabs are the ones that end up nowhere near where you started, or the ones where you take elements of what you’ve learnt and use it in your own beers.”
The beer in this month’s box isn’t the only currently live collaboration between Siren and Adnams; their Secret Springs project, led by Sean at Siren and Adnams’ head brewer Dan Gooderham, is in many ways a retrospective of the past decade of progress.
“Although the head brewer title only passed to Dan about a year ago, he's being doing the real head brewering here for a while now,” says Fergus. “Dan has also been in charge of hop selection for a long time at Adnams, and the hops he and Sean put together for this beer are a reflection of what they've discovered over the years. So we’ve got Idaho 7, released back in 2014, through to Strata in 2018, and the brand new HBC 586. Those hops also span the lifetime of Siren from their inception in 2013, so it’s going to be a nice snapshot I think!”
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