Brewery Visit – NOBO Brewing @nobobrewing

What’s in a name?

I’ve met Tim Dornblaser and his brother Steve off and on in the South Florida brewing circuit for a few years now. They fist started pounding the pavement in 2015 as Driftwood Ales, a business partnership with a few others that would eventually fall through. 

The Dornblaser Brothers would strike out on their own with the newly rebranded Lagerhead Brewing, and I still have their stickers smartly emblazoned with a black and silver loggerhead. By the time their own slice of the South Florida brewing pie had been carved out, they had rebranded again as NOBO Brewing. The name hearkens to their facility in north Boynton Beach, maybe a five minute walk from other breweries as Due South and Copperpoint. 

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Brewery Visit – Riptide Brewing @riptidebrews

It’s the giant chalk art of a poop emoji in the men’s restroom that really sets a tone for the whole visit. Not sure what tone, but it sets one.

Tucked away in a quaint little shopping village in the incredibly long city of Naples, FL., lies Riptide Brewing. Started by Bob Menzies, Scott Alexander and Norm Scherner, Riptide moved from an out of the way warehouse in Naples to the aforementioned space on Black Friday of 2015. 

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Brewery Visit – Walking Tree Brewery @walkingtreebrew

Not too terribly long after my visit to Walking Tree Brewing, I was speaking to the Social Media Manager at a brewery that is much bigger and much older than them. This person happened to be at this year’s Best Florida Brewery in Tampa and when they found out Walking Tree had won Best Florida Brewery this year, their reaction was very simple:

“That makes sense.”

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Brewery Visit – Crooked Can @crookedcan

​One of the best little places to go in central Florida is historic downtown Winter Garden. 

It’s well off the beaten path, at least 30 minutes away from the nearest theme park and awfully close to Lake County. It’s delightfully quaint, lined with huge trees, local businesses, and the West Orange Trail cutting right through the middle. I used to ride that trail for hours in my triathlon days. 

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Brewery Visit – New Smyrna Beach Brewing @nsbbrewing

​Some days I research and plan a visit to a brewery, and some days they just fall into your lap. 

Driving down from North Florida, my wife and I decided to stop at Yellow Dog Eats in historic downtown New Smyrna Beach. It’s really cute downtown, and ordinarily this is where the story would end. But here’s where we parked our car: 

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Brewery Visit – RedFrog Pub and Brewery aboard Carnival Vista @carnival

​The cruise line industry is starting to embrace the craft beer revolution. Slowly, but inroads are starting to be made. It’s not hard to find ships leaving the state stocked with beers from Concrete Beach Brewing, Wynwood Brewing, and more.  

Carnival raised the stakes, however, by installing a shipboard brewery aboard their newest liner, the Carnival Vista. 

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Brewery Visit – Islamorada Beer Co., Ft. Pierce @islamoradabeer

​Many, many months ago, I reviewed Islamorada Beer Company’s signature Sandbar Sunday. In that article, I referenced another Florida Keys-based article, written by someone decrying the fact that Islamorada Beer Company’s products were contract brewed out-of-state. 

That article can be deleted now, thank you. Islamorada just opened their new 25,000 sq. ft. facility in Ft. Pierce, close to the Treasure Coast International Airport. 

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Brewery Visit – Naples Beach Brewery @naplesbeachbrew

​Who knew a degree in Turfgrass Management could taste so good?

Yep, that’s how a trip to Naples Beach Brewery starts. With managing one of the many golf courses in Southwest Florida. 

That trip began for Naples Beach Brewery’s Will Lawson in 2003 when he moved to Naples with the aforementioned degree to work on the aforementioned golf courses. Disappointed with the region’s lack of quality beer choices (at the time), will decided to expand his beer education by way of Chicago, Munich, and Ann Arbor, returning to Naples in 2007. 
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Adding Head Brewer Mike Conley and finding a location not too far from the connection between I-75 and Alligator Alley, Naples Beach Brewery opened in November of 2012. 

Once you’re able to find the location, nicely hidden in the dead center of a small Naples industrial park, you’ll be good to go for a quaint tap house with quite the impressive tap list. 

On one side is their 15 BBL system, steam heated, churning out a huge variety of beers on tap at the adjacent tiki hut-themed row of taps. A few beers are starting to be canned & bottled, but most of what NBB has is only available on draft (and growlers, of course). 

Keep in mind, our samples tended to be a little on the dark side, especially since they just released their impressive fall lineup of pumpkin porters. Here’s what we had:

Classic Cubano (Blonde Ale, 5.0% ABV) – Blonde ale with coffee and vanilla. The adjuncts weigh the beer down more than the light malts bring it up, making for a slightly visually deceptive drink. But the vanilla is king here, and lends to be a wonderful sweetness to the beer. 

White Chocolate Pumpkin Porter (Porter, 6.2% ABV) – Very strong in the white chocolatey flavors, with a moderate pumpkin flavor in the background. I would not be shocked at all if lactose made an appearance here, too. 

Keewaydin Crusher (Cream Ale, 4.3% ABV, 10 IBU) – This is named for Keewaydin island, a pristine and undeveloped barrier island just off the coast of Naples. The beer is a simple and unassuming as the island, clean and crisp. 

Key Lime Dropper (Strong Ale, 9% ABV) – This is a variation of Line Dropper, their mango ginger Strong Ale.it definitely is strong, with a big heady feel from the high ABV and a light tartness from fresh key limes. 

Peanut Butter Cup (Stout, 5.8% ABV) – Yes. Very much so, and served on Nitro, no less. A big peanut butter flavor, although slightly sour in  the aftertaste.  

Boogie Gourd (Porter, 6.2% ABV, 26 IBU) – This is their basic pumpkin porter this year. It’s also the first pumpkin porter I’ve had with lactose. Simple, with equal qualities of pumpkin and spice. Very flavorful, and I would love to have tried this on nitro as well. 

Smoked Pumpkin Porter (Porter, 7.9% ABV) – The pumpkin spice is not prevalent here. Instead, you get a moderate smokiness of a rauchbier with the light meatiness from the gourd. Interesting, flavorful, and would go very well with similarly smoked foods. 

Pumpkin Latte (Porter, 6.2% ABV) – Just as easy to imagine as you might think. Good, strong flavors of coffee and spice with a creamy body. 

Triple C (Stout, 5.8% ABV) – Those three C’s are Coconut, Coffee, and Cream. It’s strong, however, and the coconut takes a light backseat to a strong, but never bitter, coffee flavor.  

They’re not open every day, but when they are, there’s a food truck on premises. When we went, the food truck was an awesome BBQ & brick oven pizza truck whose crusts were made with spent grain from Naples Beach Brewing. Really, incredibly good. 

I brought home a little NBB with me, and I’ll be enjoying that soon. In the meantime, there were some really good beers to look back on and hopefully enjoy again in the near future. 

Even if I don’t have a degree in Turfgrass Management. 

Drink Florida Craft, 

Dave

@floridabeerblog

Floridabeerblog@gmail.com

Floridacraftbeerday.com