La Sirene Wild SaisonName: La Sirene Wild Saison

Style: Saison

Country: Australia 

ABV: 6.5%

Beer description: La Sirene are a craft brewery in Alphington, an area of Melbourne. The brewing ethos comes from a background in both wine making and science, so they’re the type to put care, thought, and perhaps a bit of experimentation into their brews. It’s the type of brewery where a pale ale can’t be found, where rather you’ll find traditional continental styles, with a particular love of the saison (their words are “modern renderings of classic French and Belgian farmhouse styles of beer”). This beer is their wild saison, made with a well controlled (but still wild) Brettanomyces yeast.

Like all great saisons, this one gets pretty exciting when getting poured into a glass; the head flairs up if you go too fast and the beer needs to settle. It’s the colour and consistency of lightly whipped egg whites, which is quite common in more wild beers. It’s a cloudy straw coloured beer that almost looks as if it’s not quite the colour it should be, but, with a bit of trust in the brewer, you know it’s right.

Drink this one out of proper glass as the aroma needs to be enjoyed. Having the wild yeast, it’s a bit funky but nicely cleaned up by orange peels. It’s really in the yeast that gives it the farmhouse kind of feel; it’s reminiscent of the fresh smell of a damp and rotting wood floor. The citrus coming through though prevents this beer from smelling dirty, off, or spoiled. There’s the excitement of some more interesting flavours, but in the safety of sterility.

This beer is nice and refreshing going down. It’s fairly light in body, as it should be for a summer style beer. There’s not a huge amount on the front end except for a general lightness. In the middle, the orange really comes through with a vengeance, almost as if there’s orange juice in the beer itself; it becomes quite tart which just adds to the refreshment. Intermingled with this is earthy and fungus tastes from the weird yeasts they’ve thrown in there. The taste of blue cheese comes to mind in the more extreme side of the taste, and it’s actually quite welcome. Blue cheese, of course, can be overwhelming, but this is controlled and works.

There’s stranger saisons out there, but there are also many more mild ones. It’s an excellent example of the style, and may not be good for someone’s first saison. Try something a little more subdued first, then move onto this one for a treat.

Check out other saison reviews.

See other La Sirene beer reviews.