How we called off the collaboration brew with Siren

It was one of those moments, where you thought: this cannot be true, like if you’d see a Unicorn opening a can of Pliny The Younger or Cantillon announcing a Light Lager as their Zwanze beer. The e-mail that had us rubbing our eyes said: „It seems this collab idea fell between the gaps when I went back to the US. […] We should definitely do something though, perhaps next time you are over.“ Say what now? Collabo? With Siren! This cannot be true! And in the end. It wasn’t.

Prior to us going to the London Craft Beer Festival we asked a few folks if we can do interviews. Darron of Siren was one of them. But he wasn’t at LCBF, thus it didn’t work out. After a few weeks, we received that message: “It seems this collab idea fell between the gaps [etc. etc.]”. Mouth open! Many, many, many “holy shit!”s uttered.

Hearing the sweet Siren call

To tell you the truth, we first questioned our ability to understand English. Then we suspected we unwittingly were transported to a parallel universe where good things really happen. Lastly, we just wondered if this could actually be true. Sure, we homebrew. Sure, we are both certified beer sommeliers by Doemens (that’s Siebel’s for you US-ers). We’ve judged a beer competition. Sure, we’ve done collabs with 523, Blackwell and BZW. But Siren?

Okay, they do homebrewer competitions and they have done a beer with great but now defunct blog The Evening Brews (ironically, the post about their collabo was their last post ever – currently it’s in the status: coming soon). Have we gained a bit of fame in this beer scene? And Siren is the first to recognize!?

What would you have written back? “Great! Excited! Of course!” Our response was “What did you have in mind as Collab? We would be very happy to watch you brew and stand in your way or even push buttons and handle ingredients.”

Sailing for Anthemoessa

We treaded carefully, in every e-mail between then and the end. Then was September 2015. The conversation slowly progressed until that epic moment: A brewdate was set. “So, we book a flight now, Darron?” – “Yes. Book a flight.” Hence we did. “Hotel?” – “Don’t stay in the area, there’s nothing.” Okay, so we booked a place in London. And eventually and finally and excitingly Darron wrote: “Let’s throw some ideas around then. I have copied in [the Siren brewers] to get some ideas floating, if you could keep me in the loop that would be great.” Holy shit! We are going to brew with Siren!!

This was the moment things started to unravel. We proposed a meeting at the British Beer Festival at Tilquin. None of them was there. We proposed another at CBC. None of them was there neither. In the meantime, the progress of finding a recipe was glacial. We eventually insisted: “Hey, we need to settle on a recipe, because this is happening soon”. And then came the email that was inevitable.

Reversing course

“I am so sorry about all this. It was Christian from Beer Here we are trying to do a collab with […] I hope you haven’t booked your flights.“ Well, we are not and we have. “Shall we still come by and have a laugh?” – “Come out to the brewery. […] If it’s possible maybe we could fire up the pilot kit and brew the beer we were discussing”. That was shortly before we had to pack our bag. And of course we still wanted to do the brew. But in the end, we called it off. We wrote, “This was supposed to be fun, but now it feels like we’re just going through the motion”. We feel that collaboration and obligation are mutually exclusive.

We ain’t mad. All that happened was the stereotypical fog clouding the exchanged words. To err is human. Besides, this story is too funny not to tell. Having booked the flight and place to stay, we did go to London and had four great days, meeting great people and visiting great locations. And while we refused to drink any Siren beer on the trip – you have to have some principles, right? – this was more out of humorous completing the story than a permanent decision. After all, the Siren beers are too good to never drinking them again.

Now, you probably wonder: What the heck did you agree on to brew? Well, how about we keep that a secret, just in case we will eventually actually brew a beer with Siren?

P.S. Thanks to Darron for being a good sport, seeing the humour in what happened and being okay with us to quote the emails.

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