Saint Somewhere Brewing Company - Lectio Divina (10% version)
- ABV: 10%
- Serving Temperature: 48–57° F
- Suggested Glassware: Tulip, Chalice, or Bordeaux Glass
This month, we’re pleased to be offering up the very first of a whole squadron of exclusives we’ve got coming up in The Rare Beer Club® this year. Saint Somewhere’s Lectio Divina was a huge hit with our members when we previously had it as a featured monthly selection a few years ago (some of our most ardent members likely still remember it). As such, we’ve been working on a little project with Bob for a while now. Now, we get to share: an exclusive 10% version of Lectio.
25% more delicious? Rest assured. It’s everything we were crossing our fingers for and more.
Fans of the brewery’s core Lectio Divina can expect this rendition to be a bit more potent, a bit more wild, as Bob explained things. It’s made with Saint Somewhere’s house-made candi sugar, and he employed a more open ferment on this batch. A core contributing element of this release comes from his “Free Range Tarpon Springs Brettanomyces,” the contributions of which Bob expects to appear fully after about four or five months in the bottle. (Presuming one can wait that long; our early tastes made us want to crack open the whole supply soon.)
This pours beautifully: a bright, ruby-tinged pulp that made us think of roasted peaches. Its firm, off-white head forms easily, all nonchalant: tiny bubbles, meringue-like, glistening. It’s one of those beers you can just tell from the outset was made carefully. It got our attention.
This showed an exceptional amount of complexity in the nose: juicy citrus, courtesy of that Tarpon Springs Brett; dried fruits and caramelization; its yeasty push of banana and pepper. This felt both seamless and wild, wholly unique—all while affording effortless complexity.
In our discussions, Bob summed up this project as: “If Orval decided to do a 10% dubbel.”
That seemed dead-on to us. This was generous on numerous fronts: a bready, effervescent, crackling profile that stayed true to the pure drinkability of the original. A citrusy, lime-like, funky Brett character that will only make this more lean, and tart, and dry as things progress. And, at its center, malty richness that evolves as this warms in one’s glass: caramelized sugar and bananas, honey and dried fruit, toffee and toast. Just so many great aspects to this beer.
Unfiltered and bottle conditioned, this release will change in one’s cellar for quite some time. We’re inclined to heed its label: “This beer is brewed for extended aging. It will develop port and sherry notes as time goes on. Drink one now and lay another down for a few years.” On the pairing front: we’d be interested to sip this beside roasted chicken and/or pork, with that caramelized fruit and citrusy acidity complementing, its effervescence keeping things upbeat.
When we previously featured Saint Somewhere Brewing Company, our writeup began as follows: “There are certain ‘good beer hot spots’ in the country, where craft brewing is at the forefront of the local brewing culture and people are taking notice. Florida is not one of them.” Well, things have changed—not that you can walk into any Florida town and find a world class beer bar, or a beer geek’s favorite brewery, but some truly gifted brewers and passionate bar owners have been washing away the less-than-stellar reputation that Florida once held with respect to good beer.
Saint Somewhere’s deftly made beers have been a big part of that. Their focus is traditionally brewed, small batch, handcrafted Belgian-style ales—with a local spin. Founder and owner Bob Sylvester got his brewing start back in 2001 on one of those “Mr. Beer” homebrew kits that you may have seen at Bed, Bath & Beyond and the like. If you can make good beer on one of those “systems,” the beer gods may very well be telling you that you’ve got some talent.
Spurred on by those early efforts, Bob joined a homebrewing club near his home in the Tampa Bay area and honed his skills. Entering one of his beers (a Flemish-style Red Ale) into the Best Florida Beer Competition, he beat out over 300 Florida homebrews, winning the category and taking home Best of Show! A mere five years after that first Mr. Beer brew, Bob went pro and started the Saint Somewhere Brewing Company. He wanted the company to be very Florida-centric but to brew beers that fit into a Belgian-minded section of the style spectrum. Bob’s choice in imagery recalls the Golden Age of Florida, before it became known more for Disney World and spring break. In fact, the label imagery of the Saint Somewhere beers was taken from a sort of “Florida tourism brochure” printed in the early 20th century, with images of tropical paradise, fairies, and the land of milk and honey.
At Saint Somewhere, Bob has complete creative control and LOTS of work; the man makes his own candi sugar for goodness sake—a key ingredient used in brewing their numerous Belgian ales. But he still managed to brew an exclusive beer just for our Rare Beer Club® members.
Saint Somewhere began as an assemblage of used dairy equipment and open-top wine fermenters—with nothing electronic in his brewing apparatus, everything done manually. Bob’s added some new gear as of late, including some electronically controlled devices like a glycol chiller, mostly used to keep things consistent between the winter and summer months. Bob is dedicated to authenticity in his approach, even paying more to import Belgian malts (the same ones used for nearly all Trappist breweries) and European whole-leaf hops. He will even add Brettanomyces while bottling his beers, giving a slight funky, farmhouse character that nicely dries out these beers and naturally conditions them in the bottle, waiting for the lucky sipper to embark on their own journey to St. Somewhere.
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