Tarpon Springs- When Jimmy Buffett wrote “Boat Drinks,” the song from which Saint Somewhere Brewing takes its name, he had never been to Bob Sylvester’s brewery. After one visit to Saint Somewhere, it is clear that Jimmy’s ideal of going “where the pace of life’s slow” is alive and well at the brewery—at least while head brewer Bob Sylvester hosts the tour.
While a trip to Saint Somewhere Brewing may require a GPS and some faith, since the brewery is off the unbeaten path, the reward is a distinctive craft beer experience. The most noticeable feature of the industrial complex’s parking lot is the sound of loud music and revelry coming from the open bay with bright lights. Upon closer examination, the noise is not coming from Saint Somewhere, unless they do auto work, too. Saint Somewhere is not under the bright lights and loud noise, but to the left under a small canopy with flashing Christmas lights- like smoke signals from a sandy island with a lone palm- beckoning visitors in. Like the image from the Jimmy Buffet song, Saint Somewhere Brewing is an oasis in a sea of dark, a well of great beer and a brewery as eclectic as the town of Tarpon Springs that it calls home.
Saint Somewhere Brewing’s production facility and offices are collectively housed in a 1250 square-foot unit. This is where the Saint Somewhere magic happens. This small space serves as brewery, fermentation space, packaging facility, and warehouse for Saint Somewhere. This is where Sylvester, assisted by a legion of dedicated supporters and volunteers, continues to make his Belgian-inspired farmhouse ales, as he has since 2006. These rustic farmhouse ales were historically produced in Belgium where workers could drink them with a meal and return to work. In the Belgian spirit, Saint Somewhere utilizes open fermentation—a technique where the brewing vessels are left open to “wild yeasts,” or yeasts that live in the air, literally putting a little bit of Tarpon Springs in every bottle of Saint Somewhere. Every beer ferments in open vessels for 4-5 days and is then treated to kill any organisms that may spoil the beer. From there, these rustic ales are packaged and shipped from the Saint Somewhere facility to 34 different states in the United States.
Saint Somewhere produces three year-round beers and also offers limited, draft-only beers in the Tampa market and at the brewery. Their year round beers are Saison Athene- a Belgian-style farmhouse ale brewed with chamomile, fresh rosemary, and black pepper; Lectio Divina- a cross between an abbey dubbel and a saison brewed with brown sugar; and the newest addition to the year-round lineup, Pays du Soleil- a Beligan-style farmhouse ale brewed with palmetto berries and whole Hibiscus flowers. Currently Saint Somewhere is also pouring Saison Vierge- a Belgian-style farmhouse ale named for the French word for “virgin,” since the beer is “unadulterated by the addition of spices.” Saison Vierge is only available at the brewery and limited locations throughout Florida. All of Saint Somewhere’s beers are also bottle-conditioned, meaning that the beer is given a small portion of yeast at bottling, which will allow the ale to keep developing in the bottle for years to come.
Saint Somewhere has recently begun giving tours to the community, beginning at 6pm and lasting until 8pm every Thursday and Friday. While a tour of the brewery will not last this entire time (it really takes maybe 15-20 minutes), the true value of the time comes from drinking Saint Somewhere’s beers fresh from the brewery and talking beer with Bob Sylvester. Saint Somewhere is located at 1441 Savannah Avenure, Unite E in Tarpon Springs, and a tour costs $10, including an elegant Saint Somewhere tasting glass and three fills of that glass. This is a uniquely Floridian brewery, offering unique Floridian beer, made with distinctly Floridian ingredients and flavor.