Lectio Divina (2014 Rare Beer Club version)

Saint Somewhere Brewing Company

Hybrid Farmhouse ale/Belgian Dark Strong
 ABV: 10%
Rare Beer Club
This month, we’re pleased to be offering up the very first of a whole squadron of exclusives we’ve got coming up in The Rare Beer Club® this year. Saint Somewhere’s Lectio Divina was a huge hit with our members when we previously had it as a featured monthly selection a few years ago (some of our most ardent members likely still remember it). As such, we’ve been working on a little project with Bob for a while now. Now, we get to share: an exclusive 10% version of Lectio.

25% more delicious? Rest assured. It’s everything we were crossing our fingers for and more.

Fans of the brewery’s core Lectio Divina can expect this rendition to be a bit more potent, a bit more wild, as Bob explained things. It’s made with Saint Somewhere’s house-made candi sugar, and he employed a more open ferment on this batch. A core contributing element of this release comes from his “Free Range Tarpon Springs Brettanomyces,” the contributions of which Bob expects to appear fully after about four or five months in the bottle. (Presuming one can wait that long; our early tastes made us want to crack open the whole supply soon.)

This pours beautifully: a bright, ruby-tinged pulp that made us think of roasted peaches. Its firm, off-white head forms easily, all nonchalant: tiny bubbles, meringue-like, glistening. It’s one of those beers you can just tell from the outset was made carefully. It got our attention.

This showed an exceptional amount of complexity in the nose: juicy citrus, courtesy of that Tarpon Springs Brett; dried fruits and caramelization; its yeasty push of banana and pepper. This felt both seamless and wild, wholly unique—all while affording effortless complexity.

In our discussions, Bob summed up this project as: “If Orval decided to do a 10% dubbel.”

That seemed dead-on to us. This was generous on numerous fronts: a bready, effervescent, crackling profile that stayed true to the pure drinkability of the original. A citrusy, lime-like, funky Brett character that will only make this more lean, and tart, and dry as things progress. And, at its center, malty richness that evolves as this warms in one’s glass: caramelized sugar and bananas, honey and dried fruit, toffee and toast. Just so many great aspects to this beer.

Unfiltered and bottle conditioned, this release will change in one’s cellar for quite some time. We’re inclined to heed its label: “This beer is brewed for extended aging. It will develop port and sherry notes as time goes on. Drink one now and lay another down for a few years.” On the pairing front: we’d be interested to sip this beside roasted chicken and/or pork, with that caramelized fruit and citrusy acidity complementing, its effervescence keeping things upbeat.