This week, we're taking a look at St. Peter's Saison de Banc Vert from Green Bench Brewing Co.
Fans of sour, wild, and spontaneous fermented beers, if you aren't already familiar with Green Bench Brewing, you should make yourself acquainted with the St. Petersburg-based brewery right about... now.
Last year, we took a trip over and sampled a few of its on-premises offerings, including the Colliding Galaxies Sour Double IPA, a beer that knocked our socks off. To sample that, unfortunately, required a trip. Now, however, the brewery is bottling some of its beers, so the brews are able to travel a bit more easily.
The St. Peter's Saison de Banc Vert is a brettanomyces fermented beer that uses a large oak foeder to ferment in. More specifically, it's a 100 percent oak fermented culmination of traditional Franco-Belgian style beers with a Green Bench addendum. This is pretty much as old-school as it gets. Foeders are giant wooden beer vessels, (pronounced FOOD-er, by the way) used to sour beer. It also imparts a bit of wooded character to beer inside. New Belgium Brewing is a big fan and purchased quite a few of them a couple of years ago.
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It pours an almost crystal-clear deep golden yellow with an enormous frothy and pillow crown of foam that holds its structural integrity in an impressive state. Aromas are peppery, salty, somewhat tart and acidic, and it holds a little bit of sweetness to it. On the tongue, the brett character shines through, bringing on flavors that hold characteristics that are earthy, funky, slightly metallic, tea-like with some woody bitterness. For a saison, it's fairly complex, and the souring adds not an overwhelming tartness but a joyful additional layer.
St. Peter's Saison de Banc Vert is available in 500ml bottles and arrives at 6.8 percent alcohol by volume. We were able to pick up a bottle in Fort Myers. It may be available at one or two discerning bottle shops in the area or at a local craft-beer-centered bar or gastropub. According to Brown Distributing's beer finder, it has popped up from time to time in the area.
Green Bench Brewing Co. is located at 1133 Baum Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Call 727-800-9836, or visit greenbenchbrewing.com.
Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.