The West Coast of Florida is gorgeous. I just hope you have money.
Seriously, there’s a lot of money over there. Per capita, Naples, Florida has the 2nd highest concentration of millionaires in the U.S. There’s no true Italian influence, but many newspaper articles from the late 1800’s consistently described the area’s climate and fishing as being very similar to the Italian region.
And there, nestled among $40 million dollar homes and streets named for aquatic birds, is Naples Beach Brewery.
Naples Beach Brewery started out when transplanted Michigan native Will Lawson realized (many years ago) there just weren’t as many beer choices in Southwest Florida as there were back home. So he quit his job as a golf course superintendent, enrolled at Siebel, and worked at a small Michigan brewery after graduating.
Finally, in 2011, he and his family moved back to Naples to open the brewery. It opened in November 2012. Another transplanted northerner, Indiana’s Mike Conley, started as a volunteer at the brewery and quickly worked his way up to head brewer.
The facility 15 bbl production system complimented by a 132-gallon pilot system. But it’s still a little difficult for me to get my hands on their brews, which is why I was so excited to try Waylon (Dubbel, 8% ABV, 24 IBU).
Waylon hits all of the right notes. It’s got a nice, light fruitiness with a really good bubblegum hint, always the mark of a good Belgian.
It’s definitely malt forward (as it should be), with a bready sweetness that could be pretty close to candy if it wasn’t so strong. That sweetness hits very easily on the nose, and mixes with a wonderfully playful carbonation to make a beer that sort of dances around on the tongue.
Someone on Untappd described this beer as ‘true to style,’ and it is and is a great testament to Naples Beach. I would have no problem using it to introduce people to the wonders of Belgian-style ales. I would also expect it might be difficult getting those people to drink something else.
And you don’t need to be earning 7 figures a year to enjoy it.
Drink Florida Craft,