After much anticipation, Joyride Brewing will open its doors and start serving beer today on a prime corner of West 25th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard overlooking Sloan's Lake. The brewery, hailing itself as Edgewater's first brewery and occupying what was the town's first grocery store back in 1910, will start pouring at noon today and continue through 10 p.m. Dave Bergen, co-owner and head brewer, invites beer lovers and neighbors to stop by for a pint to "stress test" the staff in anticipation of expected crowds spilling over from this weekend's Dragon Boat Festival in Sloan's Lake Park across the street.
Joyride's inaugural tap list includes a seasonal 5.4 percent ABV witbier spiced with coriander, grains of paradise, and lemon and orange peels; two pale ales; a 5.8 percent ABV amber ale and a German Kolsch. Not on tap yet, Edgewater IPA will become part of Joyride's list of year-round beers when it debuts next week.
Of the two pale ales, Cougar Pale Ale -- a traditional, balanced version of the style -- will also be a standard. Little Edge Pale Ale, the second of the two, is a "super hoppy" brew intended as a session beer. Bergen calls it the "younger brother" of Edgewater IPA, adding that he dislikes the term "session IPA" and prefers to just call it a hoppy pale ale. Made with Apollo, Chinook and Amarillo hops, Little Edge is lower in alcohol (at 4.2 percent ABV), but not in hop flavor.
Bergen says he and co-owners Brent Smith and Grant Babb are looking forward to serving beer to their neighbors, many of whom have already stopped by. "We open our garage doors when we're brewing," he says, "but eventually we have to close them again so we can get some work done."
In the spirit of supporting Edgewater, the brewery will carry copies of menus from neighboring restaurants so that customers can pick from local businesses. Bergen says he plans to have food trucks come by on certain days (Rolling Smoke Barbecue will be there Friday evening), but wants to make sure customers' food dollars are spent locally first.
The brewery's interior is also focused on Edgewater and its history. Large framed photos of the original grocery store and of a famous mural that had to be removed from the space decorate the walls. The mural, which depicted nineteenth-century amusement-park attraction Roger the elephant, was taken down in order to comply with regulations requiring the addition of more windows. Bergen says the mural's removal was an unfortunate necessity, but points out that Roger's story and detailed photos of the mural are now preserved in the captioned photos.
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Joyride's name derives from the owners' ideas of slowing down and enjoying life's ride, rather than focusing on the destination. "That will be easy to do," Bergen assures us, "with a beer in hand and a view of the lake from our open garage doors."