1. Bone Hook Brewing Company, Naples
The Story: John English, Dave Genson, and Jason Vogel founded Bone Hook in 2016. Last year, they partnered with Phelan Family Brands, and have since expanded the operation to feature a full-service restaurant.
Philosophy: “We don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we take our craft seriously.”
Taproom Vibe: Rustic and industrial, a fusion of wood and metal.
The Beers: The 20-plus beers on tap rotate weekly.
Best Known For: Dirty Dave’s IPA, the flagship beer and the most popular.
Food: The on-site restaurant serves burgers, ribs, wings, salads, and more.
Music: House band The Woodwork plays every Thursday night from November through April.
Consumer Education: There are monthly beer dinners with brewers and specialty tastings for the most frequent patrons. Bone Hook participates in the annual Brews, Blues, and BBQ, and is planning its own festival this spring to bring together all the local Southwest Florida breweries.
Giving Back: Managing partner Dan Bilzor plans on giving a gift certificate to every schoolteacher and first responder. “We feel the work they’re doing is so much more important than making and serving beer.”
2. Momentum Brewhouse, Bonita Springs
The Story: Brian Hahn, a former industrial engineer, opened Momentum in November 2014. “I was a home brewer and had no intention of going pro,” he says. “But then I started to get great feedback on my beers, and they won awards, so I eventually decided to make the leap.”
Philosophy: “Everything we do revolves around quality of beer, quality of service, and quality of atmosphere.”
Taproom Vibe: The 1,000-square-foot space is convivial and familiar. Regulars can walk in on a Friday night and know everyone’s name.
The Beers: Ten core brews, with at least one rotated each week. The focus is on making beers according to style but with flair.
Best Known For: Pierce’s Pale Ale, named for Hahn’s son. He describes it as “a little hoppy,” the perfect cross between a lighter brew and an IPA.
Food: Visiting food trucks include JewBan’s Deli, Maria’s El Local Taco Truck, and RRB (Rollin’ Raw Bar).
Music: For the Beats & Brews program, the band actually comes in before the gig and helps make the beer.
Consumer Education: Momentum has hosted beer dinners in area restaurants and participates in the Bonita Brew Fest every February.
Giving Back: Causes include Eva’s Closet (which supports needy families), Everglades Wonder Gardens, and the Bonita Springs Fire Department.
3. Naples Beach Brewery, Naples
The Story: After Will Lawson moved to Florida from Michigan, he had trouble finding craft beer. He became a home brewer, graduated from the brewing program at Chicago’s Siebel Institute of Technology, and founded Southwest Florida’s first microbrewery in November 2012.
Philosophy: “We’re dedicated to bringing the variety and quality of craft beer to the local Naples community.”
Taproom Vibe: Warehouse industrial, with the feeling of hanging out in your friend’s garage.
The Beers: A wide selection of seasonal specialties joins 28 fixed taps.
Best Known For: Keewaydin Crusher, a cream ale named for a nearby barrier island, and an IPA titled Latitude Adjustment.
Food: A rotating schedule of daily food trucks.
Music: Naples Beach Brewery regularly hosts local performers such as Bill Beck, Dan Baptista, and Chris Stoltz.
Consumer Education: Lawson welcomes groups for tastings and explanations of the brewing process. The brewery also participates in festivals such as Brew Ha Ha (October) and the Naples Craft Beer Festival (March).
Giving Back: Naples Beach Brewery was heavily involved in the relief efforts following Hurricane Irma, and it sponsors the Red Snook Catch and Release Charity Tournament to raise funds for the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.
4. Riptide Brewing Company, Naples
The Story: Three friends—Bob Menzies, Scott Alexander, and Norm Scherner—began brewing beer together in their garages. “When our wives kicked us out of the garages, we rented an office warehouse as a man cave,” says Menzies. “It morphed into a brewery, and RipTide opened in November 2015.”
Philosophy: “We just try to make really good craft beer for the local community.”
Taproom Vibe: Comfortable and friendly, welcoming families, children, and dogs, with table games and TVs for diversion.
The Beers: Between 10-15 on draft, including guest taps from other local craft breweries. A special keg, such as the experimental Jalapeño IPA, is released every week.
Best Known For: The Paddlepuss Blonde Ale (paddlepuss is surfer lingo for someone who can’t catch a wave) and Kraken Double IPA, which has 10 percent alcohol and is heavy on the malt and hops.
Food: A variety of rotating food trucks including Porker BBQ, Fire and Rice (paella), Gyros 2 Go, and Doggone Organic.
Music: There’s live music nearly every night in the taproom, including an Irish music jam, guitarists Zac Sperry and David Hunter, and a weekly open mic night (musicians get free beer).
Consumer Education: RipTide has participated in beer dinners with local restaurants such as Jimmy P’s and Tavern on the Bay. It also makes appearances at festivals like Bonita Brew Fest and Mercato’s Brew Ha Ha.
Giving Back: RipTide’s biggest cause is the Make-A-Wish Foundation, along with the Naples Zoo and the Humane Society (it has sponsored pet adoption days at the brewery).
Craft Beer Styles
Short for India Pale Ale, the American IPA features bold, up-front hops, with a base of caramel-flavored malts to balance the bitterness. The latest sensation is the New England or “hazy” IPA, in which the cloudy appearance is due to suspended yeast, lack of filtration,or added proteins from wheat and oats.
American Pale Ale:
Sierra Nevada launched the U.S. craft beer movement with its pale ale in 1981. Clean in flavor, with a perfect balance between hops and malt, the American version avoids the added yeast of its British counterpart.
Occasionally maligned as the style of Budweiser and Miller Lite, a well-made lager can serve as a stepping-stone to more complex brews. Made from bottom-fermenting yeast (as opposed to ales, which are made with top-fermenting), lagers are light, refreshing, and charming at their best, particularly the more flavorful pilsners.
Inspired by the German hefeweizen, American wheat beers are primarily ales but occasionally lagers. They share the wheat-dominated, bread-flavored texture of the German version, but are lighter and hoppier.
Sometimes referred to as farmhouse ales, saisons are best described as rustic, low-alcohol beers. American craft brewers like them because they’re based on fresh, local ingredients.
Porters and Stouts:
Ranging from deep brown to black in color, these English transplants are made from roasted dark malt. They generally share a bitter flavor and high alcohol content. «