Saint Somewhere's Lectio Devina: Beer for Labor Day
Friday's here, so it's time for beer.
Every Friday, so long as the creek don't rise, this beer enthusiast will take a look at a Florida beer that, hopefully, should be readily available in a local shop or on tap at your favorite bar.
Labor Day. The traditional end of the summer season, though, for us, it seems to just mean that the humidity might start to crawl down a few percentage points as fall approaches. Soon, notes of cinnamon and nutmeg will begin to dominate our beer palates (if they haven't already, what with the early arrivals of pumpkin beers), and the golden hues of summer beers will fade into our recent memories.
So, for the final Florida Beer Friday of the summer, we're going to be taking a look at Lectio Devina, a blonde Belgian-styled strong ale brewed by Bob Sylvester of the Saint Somewhere brewing company in Tarpon Springs. It's "a cross between an abbey double and a saison," according to the brewer, made with "open fermentation with a saison strain and a dose of wild yeast at bottling add to the complexity."
The name Lectio Devina comes from a Benedictine practice of meditation, contemplation, and scripture reading that is to bring them closer to the true Word of God. In this process, the practitioner would not take an analytical approach to their study of scripture, but, as early Christian scholar Origen Adamantius said, "seek the meaning of divine words which is hidden from most people." Perhaps we are invited with this beer to think about its' meaning? How its' complexity and flavor profiles make us feel?
Unfortunately, we do a little bit of analytics during our tasting room process, so that's unavoidable. Your experience can be a little more enlightening.
The bottle had a nice thick layer of sediment, about half a centimeter. Care was taken not to disturb it, in both transport and handling.
With these Saint Somewhere bottles, come prepared. Aim away from anything or anyone as soon as your begin to remove the wire cage (a lesson learned from a previous bottle. The added yeasts during bottling can produce quite a bit of pressure!). Opening this one, we had a cork that was more than willing to free itself from the bottle.
Pouring into a tulip glass, we're struck with an aroma of fruit roll up, fruit leather, concentrated pectin. There's also a hint of sweet caramel candy, but it's barely noticeable under the blanket of fruit. There's a huge effervescence as well; another cork shooter. Color in the glass is a hazy tannish red, probably around 20-22 SRMs
Flavors on this beer are malt-head's dream. There's an aged grape character, tart apple, and a yeastful mouthfeel with a Champagne-like dryness throughout. It finishes only slightly bitter, but mostly with more of that yeast character.
Whatever this beer might be, whether a saison/strong ale/dubbel or somewhere inbetween all of these, it's one that will surely please those who appreciate the complexity of the flavors that yeasts can produce. Fans of IPAs might not be into the tart and almost sour nature of this beer.
At almost $11 a bottle, it might not be an everyday drinker, but Lectio Devina has definitely risen to the shortlist of 'special occasion' beer... and what better special occasion is there than starting the weekend? Yep, that's the perfect occasion to pop open a bottle. Just mind where you're pointing that thing.
As always, drink good beer, and #drinklocal.
Beer things in your Twitter feed, follow me @DougFairall
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.