This may sound strange as a beer blogger, but there is a special place in my heart for the Cellar at San Sebastian Winery in St Augustine. The Cellar, which sits on the roof of the building, is sort of a saloon owned by the winery.
I can’t say that it’s a restaurant, as the foods they serve are more of the finger food-appetizers genre, but it’s a nice break from what is probably a busy day of sightseeing for most people. In addition to the good food, they have a wide variety of wine and wine based cocktails.
They also tend to have a pretty solid range of local craft beers. And it was after trying and writing about one of those beers that the blog started to get the attention of brewers in the state.
But that was a long time ago. I still enjoy going to the Cellar, which is on the roof, and always get excited to see what they have in rotation. This year, since it was the holidays, one of the beers they had on tap was an interesting holiday offering from Saint Augustine’s own Ancient City Brewing, Christmas Abbey (Belgian Dubbel, 7% ABV, 15 IBU).
This, as I found out later on, was a collaboration with Old Coast Ales, as a part of the 2018-2019 Nights of Pints, an event that all of St. Augustine’s breweries hold during the holiday season to coincide with the city’s Festival of Lights.
As a dubbel, it’s nicely straight down the aisle. It has a great toasted caramel sweetness, with only a light touch of Belgian funk in the aroma. For a 7% beer, there is a medium amount of chewiness that is neither heavy nor watery.
It tended to be, for a Belgian, a bit lighter in body then many others I’ve had. And that’s good, because the Cellar, which is on the roof, tends to be bright and sunny and warm, even on some of the coldest days. There seem to be a faint touch of holiday spice to it as well, bringing in a nice little bit of warmth to the beer.
If this history of collaborations for the holiday season keeps up, it would be great for North Florida beer drinkers and those of us that like to travel for beer as well. We will have to wait and see what happens for this year’s Nights of Pints, but if this collaboration is any indication it will be quite tasty. And hopefully I will be able to get it once again at San Sebastian Winery in the Cellar.
Which is on the roof.
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