La Sirène have taken their original Saison to many places in the decade since the first batch took local drinkers by pleasant surprise. Even the beer bearing the tag of their original Saison is a rather different beast these days, although not as far from the starting point as these two variations on a theme.
Reserve Saison 2020 is the third iteration of a beer that first appeared in 2018, and again the liquid is a blend of various vintages of their Saison aged in Burgundian barriques and hogsheads. It pours with an incredibly fine bead atop its cider like, lightly hazy golden body, and has a fullness and breadth of character. There's an apricot-y fruitiness, sweet acidity, a pungent creaminess, and no little oak, and despite delivering a puckering, uber-dry, quenching finish, it still leaves a carpet of white grape sweetness with a jus like intensity in its wake.
As for Cuvée de Bois 2020, a wine hybrid featuring chardonnay grape juice from the Geelong region in a co-ferment farmhouse ale that's then blended with barrel-aged Saison, we're headed straight to the heart of Funkytown. It pours with a lively fizz that soon dissipates, and there's a refreshing acidity and chardonnay juice sitting amidships. But that's only part of the story as the "wild ale" in the mix has gone to town, firing off disparate elements, from the Amaretto / marzipan phenolics on the nose to a dry, nutty biscuit flavour at the finish, with these wilder extremes likely to demand your palate's attention.
You can try these and more in the company of La Sirène's Costa Nikias and Will McDonald when they open their Cellar Door in Alphington for guided tastings on May 15 and 22,
- Barrel-Aged Saison & Wild Ale-Wine Hybrid
- 7.0% & 6.2%