Siren’s Song is a Juniper Ale by Pontus Brewing – the brewery formerly known as Brouwerij Pampus (for the story behind thát, see e.g. this article in English). Pontus’ take on a Juniper Ale is a little sweet in the nose, but upon drinking there is no sign of this sweetness. Instead, the beer tastes a tad bitter from the hops. Although the label does not specify, according to this Dutch-language article, the hops used are Citra and Pacific Gem. The juniper berry is not very pronounced, nor is the lemon balm. Nevertheless, Siren’s Song makes for a nice easy-drinker.
Like some other beers we have reviewed in the past (e.g. Maximus’ Brutus), this beer offers TWO Classical themes for the price of one: Pontus and Siren.
In Greek mythology, Pontus is an old sea god, who was already born before the Olympian gods, such as Poseidon, took over. By all accounts, Pontus’ mother is the earth goddess Gaia but the sources diverge on the identity of his father. Or, to be more precise, the question is really whether Pontus even had a father. According to Hesiod, Gaia conceived him without bumping uglies, while Hyginus claims Pontus’ dad to be Aether. What is clear is that Pontus himself fathered a bunch of children with his mother, including Nereus, another pre-Poseidonian sea god.
Sirens are also creatures of the sea. While they may be compared to mermaids in a certain sense, in contrast to the mermaid depicted on the beer art (see above), the siren does not combine a human female upper body with a fish’s tail. Instead, in Greek art sirens are usually portrayed as some kind of combination of a bird and a human female. Sirens are thought of as evil creatures, who lure sailors to their death by singing beautifully. Most famous are the sirens in the Odyssey, whose song the protagonist Odysseus manages to resist because he is tied to the mast of his ship.
Ingredients: water, barley malt, hops, juniper berry, lemon balm, yeast
Brewed by: Pontus Brewing, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.