No Corporate Beer Reviews: Paradoxe

Beer: Paradoxe
Brewery: La Sirêne Brewing (Melbourne, Australia)
Style: Sour – Other
5% ABV / N/A IBU

If you spot bottles of La Sirêne beers—look for the distinct Art Nouveau style artwork that recalls John Dyer Baizley’s artwork—on the shelves, you should always snatch ’em up. Scarcity plays a part: La Sirêne Brewing is (perhaps temporarily) back to being an Australia-only concern after the pandemic forced the closure of longtime U.S. craft beer import operation Shelton Brothers. But quality is the ultimate factor here, and the Melbourne brewery’s program of sours and farmhouse ales is as reliable as it gets in the world of spontaneous fermentation.

The paradox of La Sirêne’s Paradoxe is that although it presents in a fairly straightforward manner, the magic is in the fermentation. Paradoxe uses the same house yeast strain that is a hallmark of La Sirêne’s farmhouse ales, with open oak vat fermentation and a second stage of bottle re-fermentation. What we’re left with is surprisingly un-funky and also not particularly sour; Paradoxe is more like a white wine or an ultra-dry cider in the Italian tradition.

Fermentation may be the MVP here, but the mystery hops introduced in the open oak vat fermentation phase really embolden the wine-like character of Paradoxe. If I had to guess, La Sirêne is probably using Nelson Sauvin hops—they’re grown in NewZealand and they’re known for imparting white wine grape flavors. Paradoxe is also a little tart, which another hallmark of the Nelson Sauvin hops. Whatever La Sirêne used to dry-hop this sour ale, it’s delightful. It’s the perfect summer beer. Or winter beer, I suppose, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere.

For more info, check out La Sirêne here.