Tarpon Springs' Saint Somewhere Brewing Co. has a somewhat idiosyncratic approach to wild ale brewing, utilizing an open brewing approach involving uncovered fermenters in order to brew beer with local ambient microbes, reminiscent in some ways to the fermentation techniques used by rustic farmhouse breweries in Belgium and France.
Plongeur à L'éponge — French for sponge diver — is Saint Somewhere's latest release, utilizing this open fermenting approach to create a fruity, funky and bracingly sour wild ale entirely in stainless steel vessels — no oak barrels required.
Plongeur à L'éponge pours a deep yellow/orange and is noticeably hazy, due to the fact that it's both unfiltered and dry-hopped. The dry-hopping adds additional citrus and herbal notes to the nose, creating an intense and complex aroma.
This beer has an especially unusual flavor profile. It has some of the musty, peppery flavors that one might associate with a lambic-style beer, but it's also a touch acetic (the type of acid found in vinegar), as one might find in some of the darker Flanders ales, as well as some domestic interpretations of the admittedly-broad wild ale style.
While Plongeur à L'éponge is sure to be a love-or-hate beer, it's undoubtedly a unique entry into the local brewing scene, from a brewery that's also not quite like anything else around. Supply of this beer is extremely limited, so swing by Saint Somewhere's downtown Tarpon Springs tasting room to enjoy it while it lasts, available for $6 a glass or $14 for a 750 ml bottle.
— Justin Grant
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