“Are you sure we’re going to a brewery and not some guy’s backyard?”
My friends aren’t joking, and they aren’t asking an unreasonable question. I promised them a brewery tour and then proceeded to lead them pretty much to the dead center of nowhere. We drove away from the quaint sponge docks and into what one could best call a rural/industrial area of Tarpon Springs. I have directions but no clear idea of where I’m taking them.
I expected something not unlike the old Busch Gardens brewery tours.
This is not that tour.
WHAT: Saint Somewhere brews craft beer. They advertise a tour on their web site, but think of it as more of an open house. An open house that takes place in an industrial park, under a tent. It doesn’t matter; it’s still a don’t-miss Florida brewery. You walk into a small office, pay your tour fee, and get your glass. The staff (which consists of the brewer and couple volunteers) will fill your glass once from each of the three taps. What’s on tap depends on what’s brewing.
Saint Somehwere gets its name from the Buffett anthem Boat Drinks (not, as my friends suggest, the remote location of the brewery), but this beer tastes nothing like brews sponsored by the artist who penned that song. These are beers created by a man loves beer. The three we tasted – the Caitlin, the Saison Athene and the Lectio Divina – all had strong flavors. A brewery event here is one part tasting and one part beer school, because you’ll learn how Saint Somewhere brews its beer and why it tastes the way it does.
WHO: Bob Sylvester started out as a home brewer, but his operation quickly outgrew his garage and he started brewing professionally. He uses a trial and taste method of brewing, which means he tries different things and tastes the result, deciding what to keep, what to change, and what to throw away. It may not be a precise science, but he creates brews like Pays du Soleil, which smells like suntan oil but tastes sharp and sweet all at once.
WHY: If you’re a craft beer fan, you’re probably already making plans to head to the next tour. Everyone else may wonder why on earth they should drive to an industrial park in one of Tarpon’s lesser-known areas to try Saint Somewhere.
Bob can tell you how his brewery’s proximity to the Gulf of Mexico changes the taste of his beer, but it’s more than just salt air that makes Saint Somewhere a Florida experience. Whether its three guys smoking mullet caught on the bayou or a family selling fresh -picked Ruskin tomatoes at a roadside stand, it’s the Sunshine State’s stamp that makes this special. It’s a liquid Florida experience, brewed in small batches close to the sea.
WHEN: You can tour the brewery on Thursday and Friday nights. Tastings start at 6 p.m. and last two hours.
WHERE: 1441 Savannah Avenue, Suite E, Tarpon Springs.
BEST part: Well, you know, it’s beer, lovingly made in small batches. At our tasting we tasted Saint Somewhere’s Saison Athene, which I called “chicken beer” because the rosemary and black pepper called to mind roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, and asparagus. That’s not to say the beer tasted like any of those things, but it tasted divine. Another beer that makes this a great brewery is the Pays du Soleil, which smells like suntan lotion but has quite a different taste.
WORST part: You get three glasses of beer. While it’s awesome, don’t go expecting to drink the night away –you can’t buy a second ticket. Which, come to think of it, is actually pretty responsible of these guys.
$10 buys you a glass, which the Saint Somewhere
guys will fill for you three times.