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.
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,