Local brew review: Saint Somewhere's truly divine Lectio Divina

[image-1]Currently, the Tarpon Springs brewery offers three year-round beers: Saison Athene, brewed with chamomile, fresh rosemary and black pepper; Pays du Soleil, brewed with palmetto berries and whole hibiscus flowers; and the Lectio Divina, a cross between an abbey double and a saison. All three are available around the Tampa Bay area in specialty beer stores.

The Lectio Divina (“Divine Reading”) pours a beautiful red-amber color with a quickly dissipating off-white head. Carbonation is high in this beer and it nearly pushed the cork out on its own when I took the wire cage off. The aroma is caramel and citrus and spice with a touch of the yeast funk that you'd expect from a saison. The flavor is rich with Belgian candied sugar, yeast and orange spice. Carbonation is pretty high and masks the 8% alcohol level well, and the overall feel is smooth with a dry finish. I enjoyed this beer a lot look forward to whatever new inventions Bob comes up with in the future.

As luck would have it, the day I decided to finally drink my bottle of Lectio Divina from Saint Somewhere Brewing in Tarpon Springs. The brewery has been getting rave reviews from the attendees at SAVOR, the craft beer and food event in Washington, D.C. Referred to as “one of the [festival] highlights” and “evidence that the Sunshine State is sprinting to catch up” to the exploding craft beer culture in America, Bob Sylvester’s saison-style Belgian ales are finally getting the recognition they deserve.

First of all, Saint Somewhere is small by any brewer’s standards, and it has to be; Bob and his wife Anne run the whole show and only get help from volunteers on bottling days (where there is never a shortage of volunteers who get “paid” with beer). Producing just over two-hundred barrels last year, they still manage to get distributed in over thirty states! All of Saint Somewhere’s beers are “farmhouse” saison-styles brewed with wild yeast that Sylvester cultivates himself. These strains are unique in that they do much better in the Florida heat than the usual lager and ale yeasts that tend to need cooler, more consistent temperatures.

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