For beer lovers, high expectations can be a real bitch sometimes.
You probably know how it is. You read about some amazing new beer, one that seems to win over everybody who tries it. So you hunt one down to try for yourself.
You whack it in the fridge and eagerly wait until it’s cold enough to drink. You take off the cap, pour it in a glass and taste.
And you find that, well, it’s just not as good as all that praise led you to believe. It’s not bad by any stretch. But it’s not awesome to the power of 10 like you expected.
I had to deal with the weight of expectation when it came to La Sirene’s Saison. Created by two guys who brew gypsy-style (that means they use someone else’s brewery, not that they travel around in caravans, have big black moustaches, look into crystal balls or any other movie-created gypsy image), they reportedly sourced the yeast for their saison from a tiny family brewery somewhere in Europe. So right off the bat it was clear these guys weren’t into taking half-measures.
The beer attracted rave reviews any time it was poured into a glass and tasted. It scored high marks on Ratebeer and Beeradvocate, and reviewers couldn’t speak highly enough of it. Given that they all know way more about beer than me, I figured it must indeed be awesome.
Then I got a look at the bottle. A thick, champagne-style 375ml bottle, it comes with what has to be the most gorgeous label I have seen in a long, long time. It gives the beer a real art-deco feel, like you’re about to drink something from the 1930s (or whenever art deco was the big thing – I failed art in Year 12, so I wouldn’t know).
Then I put it away and tried to forget about it. Because, stupidly, I figured that I’d wait for the praise to die down before I tried it. But of course, that never happened, so about three months after buying the La Sirene Saison, I cracked it open (though ‘‘cracked it open’’ sounds like such a vulgar phrase for this sort of beer).
To my pleasant surprise it totally and utterly lived up to my expectations. Every single one of them. I’m not a great fan of saisons but, my God, this is a wonderful beer. Soft, fluffy head, lovely light apricot-tinged colour in the glass and delicate flavours of orange peel, spices and honey.
If you haven’t tried a bottle yet, then make sure you do. Because every word you’ve ever read about it is true.
And by the way, I’m a bit chuffed with that photo I took which adorns this post. Okay, so it’s not technically brilliant but at least it looks better than taking a shot of a beer bottle sitting on a dining room table. Which I’ve done more than once.
Would I drink it again?: Yes. And again. And again, And again.