Somewhere in Tarpon Springs, Florida, Saint Somewhere is brewing. The nanobrewery, which has been run solely by its founder and lone brewer, Bob Sylvester, since its inception in 2006, has come a long way since the initial brewdays in an industrial park. Currently, Saint Somewhere has spread its distribution reach to 43 states, as well as a few international destinations. Yet, after nearly 10 years and sizable growth, the brewery is still just as it was in the beginning. Focusing on producing only small batch, Belgian-style ales, Sylvester puts equal care and diligence into each bottle by making his own candy sugar, using noble hops and Northern European malts, practicing the tradition of open fermentation, and most notably, recruiting beer-loving volunteers to help bottle the product. Yes, you read that correctly—in exchange for a day's worth of sanitizing, filling and packaging, Sylvester pays his friends with lunch and bottles of his beer—not a bad rate for craft beer lovers. We went the easy route and got our hands on three 2013 bottles from a local shop in Tampa: Pays du Soleil, Lectio Divina, and Serge. If you’ve tried any of these beers, tell us what you think of them in the comments below.
This Belgian Dubbel pours a shade of Grade B Maple syrup, with a slightly fluffy head that reminded us of the fizz crowning a glass of Lipton iced tea. Funky aromas abound; this beer’s nose included musky leather and some Brett, as well as pungent stone fruits. The beer itself was viscous, with a slight booziness that complemented the Brett notes and sweeter English malts well. The tinge of sour at the finish was the perfect goodbye this beer could offer.
Like its namesake, Lectio Divina provides divine understanding and knowledge, in this case of Belgian-style brewing; particularly, the extent to which Belgian funk can get funky. Pouring a fluffy head, the hazy, honey- and orange blossom-colored body emitted aromas of pickled vegetables (think sauerkraut), as well as the familiar barnyard blanket smell well known among Brett-fermented beer drinkers. Continuing into the taste with a full mouthfeel, vegetal and floral flavors and sweet biscuit notes lingered alongside a peppery kick. As James Brown once said, "don't stop the funk!"
Named after Serge Storms, the anti-hero in all of Tampa local, Tim Dorsey's mystery/crime novels, this brew has quite the twist. Pouring fluffy as a cloud, Serge has a Hansen's Chocolate Soda color, much like chocolate milk. The stone fruit pie aromas contrast with the brew's mild vinegary characteristics, and an overall sour sweetness carries through the nose. The taste is first presented as a vinegary, mouth-puckering zinger, followed by a woody, charcoal flavor floating in mid-palate, with notes of plum settling in as it warms. As with any good crime novel antagonist, Serge doesn't linger—he finishes clean.
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