Beer Man

Joyride Brewing will soak in Edgewater's history when it opens at year's end

When it opens in December, Joyride Brewing hopes to use a little bit of Edgewater's history to help propel the little town on the edge of Sloan's Lake into the future.

Created by friends Dave Bergen, Brent Smith and Grant Babb, Joyride will be located at the corner of 25th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard in a former pawn shop building that is decorated with a mural that showcases bits of Edgewater's past.

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One of the scenes is of Roger the elephant, who was part of an amusement park and circus located on the banks of the lake in the later 1800s and early 1900s. And although the elephant's story ended in tragedy, the owners of Joyride plan to keep the mural -- or the majority of it -- and to connect their business to the town's roots.

"We are not a circus by any means, but we like the idea of leading a fun lifestyle," says Babb. "And the city is excited because we will be the cornerstone of the new main street, the historic 25th Avenue business district."

Edgewater, a small city wedged between Denver, Wheat Ridge and Lakewood, is home to about 5,000 people and several thriving restaurants and bars. Babb says the brewery will be a showpiece because of its location on the busy corner of Sheridan.

The brewery's logo features an elephant doing a handstand (tusk-stand?) on a tricycle, in keeping with the fun circus theme, although Babb says he and his business partners may change the vehicle, depending on the season, possibly to incorporate a boat since the brewery will be across from the lake, where motorboats are permitted.

Joyride will include room for 75 to 90 people, twelve taps and a ten-barrel brewing system, on which it will brew a wide variety of beers, including lagers, pales ales and stronger Belgian varieties. Eventually, the owners hope to add a rooftop patio with 360-degree views of the park and the skyline to the east and the mountains to the west.

Formerly called Crooked Keg, the brewery's name was changed to avoid confusion with the Crooked Stave brewery, which moved from Fort Collins to Denver in 2012 and will expand from the Sunnyside to the River North neighborhood late this summer.

Bergen, Smith and Babb ran a successful Kickstarter campaign in late 2012, raising $7,500 dollars and will now be able to give the gifts they promised.

Oh, and Roger the elephant?

According to various histories, web sites and a Rocky Mountain News article from the time, Roger was a big deal at an amusement park called Manhattan Beach, located next to the lake, where Edgewater is now. He carried a basket on his back to give rides to children, but was spooked one day by a hot air balloon and threw the basket.

Most of the children ended up the ground, and Roger stepped on one, a six-year-old boy, killing him instantly. As a result, Roger was killed by his handlers and buried nearby. Some people say that his gravesite is at 20th Avenue and and Depew Street, but construction there in 2002 turned up no bones.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes