Brew With Siren & Omnipollo
There are plenty of home brew competitions out there but few holds as much potential for fame and applause as the Siren & Omnipollo Brewing Competition. Dreamed up by two breweries high on the impressiveness scale, this competition sees the winner joining them in a three-way collaboration to come up with and a brew a beer. A real beer that will be drunk by thirsty beer geeks both in this country and abroad. Talk about kudos.
Ryan Witter-Merithew, brewmaster at Siren, is famed for his love of collaborations and on-going brewing projects. Wherever he turns he plants little seeds that eventually become interesting brews. We contacted him to get some more info about the competition. He’d been wanting to work on something with Swedish gypsy brewers Henok Fenti and Karl Grandin from Omnipollo for a while. “I saw them at Copenhagen (Beer Celebration). We started talking and Henok had the idea of doing a homebrew competition as our collab since they had just come out with their homebrew book”. That laid the groundwork for round one, which all happened in Sweden. They received almost 40 submissions from Swedish home brewers. Henok and Karl picked the 6 best ones and shipped them to the UK for Ryan to have a taste. Together they picked a winner. “The winner last time was Rick Lindqvist. He actually won with a hopfenweiss. Our plan was not to brew the winning beer, but we all enjoyed it so much and thought there was a gap in the market it could fit, so we made a new one, with his input”. The final beer was a hoppy 6.4% concoction called Näcken. It’s been served in pubs and bars all over the UK, Scotland and Sweden, and has received good reviews all around. But it’s biggest accolade is that in a couple of months it’ll be launched at the Swedish Systembolaget, the state regulated alcohol outlet, which means it’ll sell like hot cakes on fire.
The reason for not brewing the exact winning beer is a safeguard, in case it’s a crazy one with extremely expensive ingredients. I guess it’s also a safeguard to make sure the final produced beer is the best it can possibly be. With round 2 of the competition already going it’s down to the British home brewers to produce the goods, with Ryan doing the initial tasting, picking his favourites, and then shipping them over to Omnipollo in Sweden for the final judgement. The winner will get to make a brew with the guys, and since Omnipollo have no brewery of their own it’ll be brewed at Dugges Brewery, located just outside Gothenburg in Sweden. As if that wasn’t enough, the beer will also be served at Copenhagen Beer Celebration next year.
Unlike other brewing competitions this one has no genres. The only criteria to fulfil is that it’s a spankingly good brew, or as Ryan puts it – “We’re just looking for good beer. I don’t care for crazy ingredients or anything like that. I want to taste a well-brewed beer that shows the person understands brewing and writing a recipe. A fantastic German Pils would blow me away”. That’s all you have to do. They need 3 bottles of your brew along with the recipe. So far they’ve just received 2 submissions, but it’s still early days and Ryan’s expecting a good turnout. The deadline for submissions is on the 24th of January, so put your brewing mitts on and get to it. Good luck.
For more details of the competition, head on over to Siren’s site