Brewery: St. Somewhere, Tarpon Springs, FL
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale, Amber Ale
IBU: 28 (approximate)
Availability: year round
Pairing: Roast Pork with Port Cherry sauce, slow cooked meats, savory deserts, sweet chocolate
Summary: Another fine Belgian style from the folks at St. Somewhere. This one pours a bit sweeter and heavier than their other offering but the result is a great evening sipper and friendly introduction to the style.
St. Somewhere can do no wrong. Time and time again these boys from Tarpon Springs, Florida prove that they can create Belgian styled beers with the best of them. The Lectio Divina is one of their darker offerings which I have seen categorized as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale or – as their bottle states – an Amber Ale. Categorization aside, what we are talking about is a rich, complex belgian style ale. Mine came in the form of a 750ml bottle that was so carbonated that the cork literally shot out on its own upon uncaging.
Appearance: Pours a cloudy orange amber with lots of head which clears to very little lacing on my oversized wine glass
Smell: Very sweet, slightly funky nose. Honey, bread dough and persimmon all come to mind
Taste: There are lots of autumn and stone fruit notes on the tongue initially. Hints of apple, plum, port, cherry and pear come forward. But as the glass warms, darker and sweeter flavors develop transforming Lectio Divina into a completely different beer. Now there are hints of dates, prunes and agave syrup. There’s also quite a nice, complex malt back which goes from almost non-existent when cold to a sweet caramel with undertones of chocolate and a roasted flavor when reaching room temperature.
Mouthfeel: Medium light body with lots of effervescent carbonation. The bottle conditioning results in a bubbly, almost tingling carbonation on the tongue similar to – all though not as extreme as – a champagne. There’s a surprisingly dry mouthfeel for a brew with such a dark color.
Drinkability: The 8.0% alcohol is well hidden making this a really drinkable strong Belgian. But the over-carbonation interrupts the brews drinkability making it more of a celebratory sipper than one to pair with dinner.
Overall: I really like everything St. Somewhere does. It seems that they have found a nice brewing niché and everything coming out of this small, Florida brewery istop notch. While I don’t enjoy this one as much as the Saison Athene or its wine barrel aged cousin Lectio du Chene, that is mostly a personal preference as the Lectio Divina is an extremely well crafted brew. This is a great beer to introduce someone to the complicated flavors of Belgians and if you are a fan of Ommegang’s Abbey Ale then this one will sit nicely with you.
Side Note: According to Wikipedia, “Lectio Divina is Latin for divine reading, spiritual reading, or ‘holy reading,’ and represents a traditional Christian practice of prayer and scriptural reading intended to promote communion with God and to increase in the knowledge of God’s Word. It is a way of praying with Scripture that calls one to study, ponder, listen and, finally, pray and even sing and rejoice from God’s Word, within the soul.”