Eight and a half years ago, I attended an off-flavour beer tasting hosted by
beer writer Melissa Cole. Melissa took us through everything from DMS to diacetyl, enhancing our beer knowledge by putting us through the ringer [mmmm, still remember that baby sick - Ed].
At the end of the tasting, a couple of Kiwis approached me and asked if I was the beer blogger Matthew Curtis. It turns out I was, and I was currently in a state of wondering if I should pack it all in and take this beer writing full time. The couple, Jen and Glenn, told me they were opening a bottle shop in Peckham called Hop Burns & Black, and asked if they could hire me to review beers for their website. I gleefully accepted – and thus became one step closer to taking this beer writing full time.
This column was initially called No More Heroes, where I matched beer to music. In time, it became Fundamentals, and through those two columns I have reviewed almost 200 beers. Hard work, but I guess someone had to do it…
Sadly, all good things must eventually come to an end, and it is with a heavy heart I must tell you that with this column also comes the end of Fundamentals. It has been a true joy writing these things up every month, but new pastures beckon, and I must go tread upon them.
So, what of the final Fundamentals beer? Well, it doesn’t come more special than this. Crescendo is a massive 11% ABV imperial stout based on Siren’s famous Caribbean Chocolate Cake recipe. It’s a four-way collaboration between New Zealand’s Garage Project, Florida’s Cycle Brewing, Sweden’s Omnipollo and Siren itself. It takes the rich and bold flavours of vanilla and chocolate found in the original Caribbean Chocolate Cake recipe and, quite literally, dials them up to 11.
I’ve spent a lot of time writing this column wrestling with the fact I don’t like pastry stouts, but in drinking this I must tell you: it was all a lie. How can I, or anyone, dislike something as rich and delicious as this? To deny it would be to deny you have tastebuds. Happy anniversary Siren, well done on this fabulous beer, and here’s to the next decade of your existence.
And with that, Fundamentals bows out. But you’ve not seen the last of me — don’t forget to keep reading what we’re doing over at my magazine, Pellicle. To Jen and Glenn, thank you, and big love. See you on the flipside x
Matthew Curtis is a writer, photographer and editor of Pellicle Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @totalcurtis and @pelliclemag. Sign up to our All Killer No Filler subscription box and you'll find incredible beers like this one every month.