For most, traveling along Highway 87 in Navarre, Florida is something you do because you are trying to get somewhere else, mainly Interstate 10, which is the main east-west corridor through the Sunshine State. But thanks to twin brothers Jerry and Larry Rolison — proprietors of Ye Olde Brothers Brewery — there's a reason to turn off the main drag and grab a bite to eat at Santa Rosa County's first brewery.
Ye Olde Brothers Brewery is located at 4458 Highway 87 in Navarre, Florida.
With a menu chocked full of specialty pizzas, like the Ben Franklin, topped with Alfredo sauce, roasted chicken, portabello mushrooms, artichoke hearts and spinach; and the Davy Crockett, topped with barbecue sauce, pulled pork, red onions, bacon jalapenos, and cheese; as well as a wide variety of appetizers, sandwiches and smoked meats, you definitely won't leave hungry. Check out the full menu here.
And you'll certainly need a cold beverage to wash your meal down with. That's where long-time home brewer Bill Bunning comes in. Bunning, an Air Force veteran, has been crafting his own beers for more than two decades, and is quite accomplished. In fact, his brews have won numerous honors over the years.
As the brewmaster for Ye Olde Brothers Brewery, Bunning says he typically brews twice a week and he'll brew twice a day during that period.
"We get about four barrels a week," he says. "In the summer, we can go through that in the restaurant pretty quickly.
During our visit to Ye Olde Brothers Brewery, Brew master Bill Bunning was creating his newest beer, a hibiscus wit.
As a one-man operation, Bunning brews the beer, kegs the beer, cleans the floors and takes the entire brewing process from start to finish. When the Rolison brothers set out to open their restaurant and brewery, they didn't have a particular brewer in mind, but they were introduced to Bunning through a mutual friend.
"They had me come in and brew some beer for them, then they said, 'OK, we'll let you know,'" Bunning recalls.
So, he brewed three different types of beer, which are now known as the Black Bear Honey Wheat, the Panhandle Porter, and the Easy Bay IPA. As they say, the rest is history. Those beers, along with the Blackwater Stout, are staples in the brewery. They also feature four rotating taps, which allows Bunning to exercise his creativity, and a tap with their homemade Root Beer.
Pictured from left are the Black Bear Honey Wheat, the Secret Sound Session IPA, the East Bay IPA, and the Panhandle Porter.
It's like playing mad scientist. For Bunning though, as much as he enjoys drinking beer himself — a self-described IPA lover — he enjoys seeing people enjoy his passion.
"I want them to enjoy it as much as I do," he said. "The beer here has been tremendously popular, so we are doing something right."
The restaurant portion of Ye Olde Brothers Brewery opened in March 2015, while the brewery side of the operation served its first beer in July 2015. Bunning draws inspiration for his beer names from the local area, which is why you'll see familiar images such as the black beer, East Bay and the Panhandle. He also honors the community by featuring names of the area's founding/influential families, such as the Broxons and Tolberts.
"It's something we have fun with," Bunning says. "We try to keep the community involved."
Bill Bunning, brew master at Ye Olde Brothers Brewery, talks about the most popular beers at the Navarre, Florida brewery.
As of this writing, Ye Olde Brothers Brewery is the only operational brewery in Santa Rosa County. But growth along the Panhandle has blossomed. As a fan of craft beer, Bunning is happy to see the local beer scene grow.
So, if you love beer and want to sit back and relax, there's no better place to grab a brew and spend a few hours. The atmosphere, from it's rocking chairs on the porch to its friendly staff, is laid-back and hassle-free. So whether you choose to belly up to the bar or rock on the porch, you won't be disappointed.
Ye Olde Brothers Brewery is located at 4458 Highway 87 in Navarre. For more information, call 850-684-1495 or visit their website at http://www.yeoldebrothersbrewery.com.