It’s not every day I get to a new brewery, much less a new brewery that is actually new.
As in 3 days old, new. Such was the case when my family and I stepped into Bone Hook Brewing, easily located in Naples right off I-75.
It’s the coolest thing in what appears to be a very new strip mall on Immokalee Road, between an urgent care clinic and a still-unfinished chain restaurant. The name is a not-so-subtle nod to early tribes on the Gulf Coast, most of which fished using hooks made from the bones of animals they hunted.
Bone Hook started as the brainchild of three engineers from Barron Collier (a big-time local land owner and developer for whom their county is named). After the pre-requisite years in planning, Bone Hook will be officially opening early next month.
That doesn’t mean Head Brewer Josh Deitner hasn’t been hard at work producing an extensive list of tap-ready beers. There’s 20 on tap right now with another 20 in the cooler ready to be tapped. Basically, he’s already pushing the shiny, new 15-BBL system quite nicely according to his assistant brewmaster, who was gracious enough to show me around.
There’s been an extensive outlay of capital getting this brewhouse set up and ready to get noticed on Day One (have I mentioned that Naples, fl. Is one of the Top Ten wealthiest cities in the U.S.?). But all of the equipment in the world can’t help if the beers aren’t worth drinking. So let’s take a look at a small sample of what they have:
Session Stout (Stout, 3.7% ABV, 50 IBU) – This was a first stout for the new system, intended to be a shakedown of their ability to make darker beers. Not all of the full compliment of malt was used in the beer, so the ABV isn’t high. That being said, that’s not a bad thing, and the flavor is still rich and bready. This might have to be a beer that stays around.
Ladies Night Cherry Sour (Sour, 4.6% ABV, 25 IBU) – There are a lot of sours on the draft board at Bone Hook. It’s something to get used to. But, since my wife loves cherry, that’s why I decided on this concoction using Pilsner, Munich, and pale wheat malts. The beer was then soured with Lacto, fermented with US ale yeast, and had two cherry purees in secondary. It’s a lot of steps for a tasty beer with a light, mature sourness and slightly sweet, slight candy-like fruit flavor.
Tickler Saison (Saison, 4.7% ABV, 20 IBU) – Another thing Mr. Deitner really seems to love is his yeast. He’s no stranger to using whatever strains he needs, such as the classic Farmhouse strain used in this brew to ferment the Pilsner and Vienna malts. The brew also used Strisselspalt hops, to great effect as they only served to accentuate the bright, funky, rustic feel and flavor of what is an approachable and moderate saison.
Orange Nitwit (Witbier, 5.2% ABV, 11 IBU) – Okay, there’s a lot going on in this beer as well. It has a similar grain bill as Ladies Night, but the adjuncts included a few varieties of orange peel, coriander, and blood orange. It’s that blood orange that really dominates the flavors of the brew, with a deep, bitter citrus quality that is might and refreshing at the same time.
Dirty Dave’s IPA (IPA, 7.25% ABV, 81 IBU) – This was probably named after one of the founders, but I’m going to believe they named this for me and there’s nothing they can do to dissuade me on that. The beer starts life as a mix of 2 Row, Munich, and light caramel malts, with what appears to be a candi sugar addition to finish the beer nice and dry. They then finished this herbal, earthy beer with a dry-hopping of 45 lbs. Magnum, Perle, Mosiac, and Simcoe hops. It’s nice and meaty, bitter to keep the hop heads happy, yet approachable for those of us less interested in bitter bombs.
I’m happy I got a chance to see this newest member to the Florida brewing family. While I doubt I will have the chance to come by the grand opening, I got to see it when it first opened and I’m excited to see what they will have coming in the near future.
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