Bone Hook Brewing in Naples is one of those almost comic breweries that just keeps growing every time you see them. They’re not completely known in most parts of the state, but every time I check in on them, they’re still there. Just a little bit bigger than before.
With the excellent people they have behind the helm, plus adding the famed Bobby Gordash as their new Director of Marketing, it would not surprise me if they started doing a program of more aggressive growth within the next couple of years.
If you take a look at past posts on this humble blog, you will see that I’ve written several articles about them, beginning when they just opened as the tiny taproom they had on Immokalee Road, through to their purchase of an expansion into the restaurant space that was next door to them.
That expansion was one of the best things they ever did, since now they’ve become a destination in Southwest Florida (and that former restaurant was terrible).
But here we are, checking in on a couple new rotators that have probably rotated off the menu and off this mortal coil until next year’s holidays roll around. We start with 11 Pipers Piping (Stout, 11.5% ABV), the big Imperial Stout brewed with copious amounts of vanilla beans sourced from Madagascar.
And if you know anything about vanilla shortages these days, having a beer described as having ‘copious amounts of vanilla’ is either a lie or quite the feat. My gut says to go with the latter, since there was a wonderfully creamy and strong vanilla undertone that invaded every single sip of this chewy, roasty, and heavy stout. It is a wonderfully deep beer for people that want to enjoy a wonderfully deep beer, very thick and nuanced for the style.
I personally went for a pint of Bill’s Brew (Extra Special Bitter, 5.5% ABV), a style that never really gets the chance to shine front and center. This was a respectably good example of the style, not quite as bitter as a true ESP, and for that I am very thankful. An ESB bitterness is not like a hop bitterness; it’s a little bit beefier and more earthy than your stereotypical Florida citrus-forward alpha acid hop bombs that most breweries want to make.
With this, you get a nice touch of that earthy bitterness, but added to a soft and just slightly sweet malt bill that has sort of a pillowy bready quality with maybe a touch of honey malt (and quite possibly a leftover from some of that vanilla somewhere in the background).
They’re both delicious, but at this point I’m sort of used to that from Bone Hook. They have definitely become one of the main anchors in Southwest Florida beer. And I’m sure the next time I go there. I will have plenty more to explore. And they will have made plenty more to try.
Just don’t keep your back turned on them for very long.
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