Siren’s fifth Rainbow Project to protect ‘craft beer’s spirit of fun’

13th September, 2017 by Phoebe French

Craft brewery Siren has unveiled its 2017 Rainbow Project, a collaborative project that “maintains and protects craft beer’s spirit of adventure, invention and fun” in what it says is becoming an increasingly “homogenised” sector.

This year saw seven UK and seven US brewers create seven beers inspired by the colours of the rainbow. The collaborative beers were unveiled at the Leeds International Beer Festival, the Hawkshead Beer Hall in Cumbria and The Beavertown Extravaganza in London.

The beers will also be available this weekend at the Bristol Craft Beer Festival and at the Independent Manchester Beer Convention from 29 September to 1 October. In addition, Siren have put together 2,000 mixed cases containing all seven beers which it is selling via its online partner, HonestBrew. The bottles will also be sent to bottle shops across the UK.

Each year, the Rainbow Project pairs seven UK craft breweries with seven brewers from a chosen country or region; this year it is the US. The project itself was started in 2013 by Ryan Witter-Merithew, former head brewer at Siren.

Speaking to the drinks business, marketing manager Andy Nowlan explained how it worked: “The Rainbow Project allows UK drinkers the opportunity to enjoy beer from breweries that they would otherwise struggle to access. It also introduces drinkers to new styles, new ingredients and new directions – it gives them a chance to be part of something absolutely unique”.

When asked what he believed was the project’s biggest achievement, Nowlan said: “The Rainbow Project introduces the UK to some of the best breweries in the world while creating a series of superb long-term global brewing relationships. In a sector that, in some ways, is becoming homogenised, The Rainbow Project also maintains and protects craft beer’s spirit of adventure, invention and, to be honest, fun”.

In a change this year, two colours were drawn for each pairing, the second of which will inspire a barrel-aged beer to be released in time for the launch of next year’s project.

Nowlan explained: “It’s just an extra dimension to the Rainbow Project really. It’s made the brewing partners think about the beers as a combination – for example our beer this year will also be part of the blend for next year. Our ‘blue’ Santo Del Frio is cold fermented. We’ll be blending that with a hot fermented version, to make violet”.

He added: “Usually the Rainbow Project launches with parties at some of the breweries involved. This year we’re taking it on tour for the first time, to make it easier for as many people as possible to try the creations at some of the best beer festivals the UK has to offer”.

Siren was founded in 2012, the name inspired by the Sirens (Σειρῆνες) depicted in Greek mythology who enticed sailors to the shore, and ultimately to shipwreck on the rocks, with their beguiling music and voices. The brewery is currently based in Finchampstead in Berkshire and lists among its flagship brews Liquid Mistress, a 5.8% west coast red IPA, and Broken Dream, a 6% breakfast stout “with a gentle touch of smoke, coffee and chocolate”. The brewer also produces a range of seasonal IPAs, barrel-aged beers and special releases as well as the Maiden Series (barley wine that has been aged in various different barrels) and the Odyssey Series, comprising a range of beers that have been blended. 

Click through to view each of the beers, the brewers, the ingredients and the overall inspiration.

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