This Australian Brewery Is a Star in the Luxury Beer Market

La Sirène (French for the Siren) is an artisanal brewery in Alphington, Victoria, specialising in two forms of luxury beers known as farmhouse and wild ales, including a rare subtype of these ales called Saisons.  

La Sirène was founded in 2010 with a strong belief that beer regions should be as recognisable as wine regions. Every beer produced by La Sirène exemplifies this belief, and a look at their production methods shows why. They use 100% Victorian grown malts in their beers, and for additional flavours and aromatics, they look hyper-locally at their immediate region. They use house mixed cultures in every beer that incorporates the airborne yeasts and bacteria from Darebin Parklands and creek, which is La Sirène’s backyard. 

Modern farmhouse ales are descended from a rich ancient tradition. However, certain aspects of the farmhouse tradition are challenging to recreate in current circumstances. La Sirène tries to honours the traditions of farmhouse brewing. Traditionally, farmhouse ales were brewed by farmers from their own grain. This resulted in vast differences between countries and regions, as each region had their own flavours and used different brewing techniques. 

La Sirène are Australian pioneers in brewing through the use of a coolship (koelschip). A coolship is an open-top flat table-like trough that was traditionally used to cool wort before the invention of refrigeration. The open-top allows for airborne yeasts and bacteria to naturally infuse with the wort to create spontaneous fermentation. The coolship fermentation technique is used in La Sirène’s coolship collection. Additional fermentation techniques that La Sirène use are open vat oak fermentation, uncontrolled fermentation and 100% bottle refermentation, which is similar to the traditional champagne making technique. 

It might seem scary that random yeasts and bacteria can ferment the beers, but I promise that it is entirely safe, and the yeasts and bacteria die once the alcohol levels rise. This form of fermentation is key to farmhouse and wild ales. La Sirène’s specialty beer is a Saison, a type of pale ale that is highly carbonated, fruity, spicy and is bottle conditioned. French for season, Saisons are exceptional at expressing the changing seasons in their taste. Although Saisons are not well known in Australia, at the moment, they are experiencing a rise in popularity globally. 

La Sirène regularly offers three collections with constantly changing flavours as the seasons’ change. The classic collection includes their signature Saison, a farmhouse red, a sour farmhouse ale, a wild Saison, and a Saisonette. Their Avant-Garde collection consists of a plum wild ale, peach and raspberry wild ale, a chardonnay co-fermented wild ale, an oak-aged spontaneous wild ale, and a barrel-aged vintage Saison. The focal collection is the coolship collection, which includes a three-year oak-aged wild ale, a two-year oak-aged wild ale and an oak-aged wild ale. They have recently launched a farmhouse cans range. 

La Sirène is a necessity for any beer ‘snob’ to try. Their focus on traditional brewing methods means that their beer has a depth of flavour that most cannot achieve; with the rise in the popularity of farmhouse and wild ales, La Sirène are one of the leading producers of these luxury ales in the world.