Brew Day With Siren Craft Brew & Evil Twin
The train was slowly making its way towards Wokingham in the early hours of a Friday morning. The rest of the world was on their way to their important jobs, wearing important clothes, making the world go around. We were doing nothing of the kind. We were on our way to Siren Craft Brew in Finchampstead to spend the day at their brewery. I’m sure you’ll agree that spending a day in a brewery of such stature would be an exciting prospect in itself. At least we thought so. But this adventure was made even more exciting by the fact that on this particular Friday Siren Craft Brew would be brewing with Evil Twin.
The easiest way to describe Evil Twin, or Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergø, as he goes by in real life, is as a Danish Globetrotting Rockstar Brewer, based in New York, composing beers that get brewed for him by some of the best breweries in the world. He’s not a brewer in the traditional sense. He’s a so-called “Gypsy Brewer”, or more aptly, a beer production company. He also oversees a bar (Tørst) and a beer-only restaurant (Luksus) in New York. His beer is amazing. Simply put, Evil Twin is hot shit.
We arrived at the brewery just after 9. Ryan, head brewer at Siren, and Gordon, his right hand man, were preparing the brewery and cleaning various bits of it. The malts were in the process of being milled for the brew of the day – a pale ale infused with chamomile, jasmine and grapefruit peel. For the first hour we just floated about, trying not to be in anyone’s way. Jeppe was there with his business partner Henrik Boes Brølling (they run the beer import Drikkeriget together). They were all beat from spending the previous day in Bray, bathing in the excess of Heston Blumenthal.
Brewing is not a stressful job. It’s physical, but it’s paced like doing laundry. You add some ingredients, you wait a while, do some cleaning, check how it’s going and so on. Thankfully for everyone we did no brewing whatsoever. Our only contribution was helping Jeppe stuff chamomile and jasmine into sausages made out of gauze (which was messy) and into pillowcases (which was easy). These massive tea bags would infuse the beer later in the process.
At 11 am Ryan stepped into the office, where we were hiding from the cold, and asked if anyone wanted a drink. Siren’s got a pretty decent bar installed in their brewery, lined on one side by an impressive rack of barrels ageing a range of their beers. If this was London they’d be fighting off hipsters left, right and centre. Lucky for us we were in the middle of fucking nowhere and could enjoy the beer in peace. We were also joined by Jaz from Cotteridge Wines. I got the sensation that he drops by the brewery every now and then, but this time he was there to meet Jeppe. Cotteridge Wines is, according to RateBeer, one of the best beer shops in the UK. He’d brought a few bottles, so we tasted them, chatted, drank and had a good time. The Schneider Weisse Tap X Mein Aventinus Barrique he brought was mind-meltingly amazing.
Throughout the afternoon Ryan and Jeppe would get together to talk about the brew, smell a few hops, or just piss about and catch up. It’s obvious that they’re mates, although they’re very different brewers. Ryan is the one wearing the wellies. He gets in there and he brews. With his hands. And he has an amazing beard. Jeppe’s approach to brewing can be likened to that of a music producer. He understand the market, what is delicious, and he understands beer, and what it can be, so he finds people to make the beer he wants. Controversial to some traditionalists, but exciting for people who like to drink good beer. And the good thing for everyone is that Ryan and Jeppe get on like a house on fire.
After a late lunch of curry, a few more drinks, and generally having a grand old time, the day faded away and it was time for everyone to go home. We jumped on the train, armed with a few train beers from Siren. Jeppe and Henrik had booked a table at Dinner (they’re both massive foodies) and we all went away to recover for the next evening – the Evil Twin tap takeover at Craft Beer Co in Farringdon.
If you didn’t go to the tap takeover then I’m sorry to say you missed out. It was amazing. So much good beer. People were excited to see Jeppe. He was like a rockstar. Embarrassed people came over to ask to take their picture with him. But the beer was the highlight. I’m just going to mention a few names and you can either nod along knowingly or go on a Google journey to find out more. Ok, here we go: Femme Fatale Blanc, Femme Fatale Yuzu Pale, Plastic Man, barrel aged Even More Jesus (brewed by Siren), the Imperial Biscotti Break and the DeCicco version of it. The night dragged on into early morning, with dubious dancing and some seriously questionable decisions at The Lexington in Angel.
That’s all for now. We’ll be posting an interview with Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergø aka Evil Twin in the near future. And watch out for the Chamomile-Jasmine-Grapefruit infused pale ale, only available in the UK via the tubes at the Craft Beer Co. Peace.