The Beer Issue 2018: OGs — Saint Somewhere Brewing

Saint Somewhere's Bob Sylvester opened a taproom, but he's still making the beer he's wanted to since 2006.

click to enlarge The Beer Issue 2018: OGs — Saint Somewhere Brewing
Scott Harrell

Since opening his Tarpon Springs brewery in an out-of-the-way industrial park, Bob Sylvester has become famous far beyond the Tampa Bay beer scene for his focus on and expertise in Belgian farmhouse styles. And it seems like he and Saint Somewhere Brewing Company have almost incidentally found a way to successfully “compete” amid the many, many new local labels: by not really competing at all.

“For whatever reason, we’re all over the world, and Florida is our worst market,” he said, chuckling. “Always has been.”

“We’re not gonna do a New England IPA, we’re not gonna do a kettle sour”

That hasn’t stopped Sylvester from becoming a highly respected hometown beermaker at all, however, or from finally realizing his plans for opening a taproom on his own terms in January 2017, when Brasserie Saint Somewhere — featuring two rooms for travelers upstairs — debuted to downtown Tarpon more than a decade into his career. But now that he’s got a proper place to welcome beer drinkers from all over, don’t expect to find a crazy variety of the most popular craft styles on tap.

“We’ll carry an IPA guest tap from time to time,” he said. “I don’t feel any pressure to do it. You know, we’re gonna do what we’re gonna do. I can do a really hoppy farmhouse ale, it’s not an IPA but it will fill that gap... we’re not gonna do a New England IPA, we’re not gonna do a Jolly Rancher kettle sour.”

Sylvester has noticed a shift in demand for his own distributed product since local craft really began to take off, but the change comes in terms of delivery, not flavor or type:

“The biggest change that — I don’t want to say we’ve been forced into it, but we want to take advantage of it, is originally we were set up to do like 85% bottles... but now we’ll probably end up doing 75% draft, because that’s where the market is [now],” he said. “Package is tough now, the market is so crowded. Draft is tough too, but it’s easier to move draft.”

Brasserie Saint Somewhere

312 E. Tarpon Ave., Tarpon Springs. 727-935-5988.

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