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Episode 2 – Books & beer

La Siréne Brewing Co.

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It was a stinker of a 43 degree Melbourne summer day when I headed out to La Sirene Brewery in the wilds of Alphington to chat with brewery ambassador Will Macdonald. Birds were chirping (how many can you hear?!) and the sun was beating down on the corrugated tin shed roof.

I was a little nervous about trying ‘sours’ as I would never normally choose to drink them and what would I say if I didn’t enjoy them? Turns out I needn’t have worried – these beers were the perfect cold beers for a hot day, I was pleasantly surprised and refreshed with each tasting 🙂

Will and I spoke about a range of things: the philosophy behind being a modern day Farmhouse brewer, Wild Ales as a house style and the importance of microflora in an open-fermentation brewery.

I’m so glad I got the chance to try these delicious beers and cannot wait to continue my Wild Ale journey!

The beers and the books:

Saisonette – light, spicy, fresh, dry, tart

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Light and fluffy romance on the surface but with surprising depth and freshness, this is the story of Tiffy who needs a cheap flat and Leon who works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, this sweet and engaging story also deals sympathetically emotional abuse and social anxiety. 

Paradoxe – lively, refreshing, tropical, creamy

The seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Ageing and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

This is a mesmerising journey through the splendour of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means–and what it costs–to face the truth. 

An absolutely luscious, creamy, joy of a read!

Farmhouse Red – malt, rose, hibiscus, fruit, sweet, floral, bitter

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

It’s 1946 and author Juliet Ashton can’t think what to write next. Out of the blue, she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – by chance, he’s acquired a book that once belonged to her – and, spurred on by their mutual love of reading, they begin a correspondence. When Dawsey reveals that he is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, her curiosity is piqued and it’s not long before she begins to hear from other members. As letters fly back and forth with stories of life in Guernsey under the German Occupation, Juliet soon realises that the society is every bit as extraordinary as its name.

This is a classic, beautiful story. Sweetly bitter but with a solid Farmhouse backbone that just grabs you and keeps you hooked. Simply lovely!

Praline – chocolate, nuts, vanilla, creamy, complex, sweet, elegant

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold.

When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk–grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh–Miryem’s fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. Set an impossible challenge by the nameless king, Miryem unwittingly spins a web that draws in a peasant girl, Wanda, and the unhappy daughter of a local lord who plots to wed his child to the dashing young tsar.

Channeling the vibrant heart of myth and fairy tale, Spinning Silver weaves a multilayered, magical tapestry that readers will want to return to again and again.

This is an elegantly complex tale that will leave you feeling deliciously warm inside!


2 Wingrove Street,
VIC 3078 Australia

Literary Elixirs is recorded live in a noisy world.

Into/Outro music is Mosquito Mojito by Rachel K. Collier. Sourced from Free Music Archive under a Creative Commons Licence.