In the labyrinth of the growing Denver metropolis, there is a timeless neighborhood on the Westside by the name of Edgewater. This quaint and historic landmark sits perched on Sheridan Blvd next to Sloan’s Lake where you can overlook the city as tangerine sunsets tint the skyline. The city wraps around the locality like a concrete anaconda made of growth and prosperity. Lesser cities could be forgotten or changed completely but Edgewater’s strength is shown through their ability to adapt to Denver’s rapid maturation. It’s a breathing, living, thriving square mile of homes, businesses, and people. And at the heart of it all, under the sign for the City of Edgewater, resides their first and oldest brewery aptly named Joyride Brewing Company.
The post-work-crowd peppers the long beer hall style of the Joyride Brewing taproom as I walk in, immediately connecting me to the vibe where burdens are left at the door. The garage doors that line the walls are closed due to the weather but I can see them being perfect in the summer. I am thoroughly worn out and used up from my corporate job. Or at least I think so. Sometimes a piece of my soul dies in that office like a firefly in a jar with no holes. But, when it does, I pray that it’s on the same day I have a chance to converse with people like Dave Bergen of Joyride, while drinking craft beer, clearing the debris of the day.
The friendly bartender lets me know that Dave is in the back working while the Ski and Snowboard Waxing party is going on. $15 is all that it costs to prepare your gear for the mountain and the price includes a pint to enjoy while you wait. Dave is pouring Coda Coffee into a brewing tank. He sports what I consider a majestic beard that must not only catch all of his food but also make men like me (who can’t grow a proper mustache) jealous. While I simmer in facial hair envy and sip on their Huddle and Cling 100% Brett Amber that exposes the fruitier side of Brett yeast, he reminisces with me about where and when it all began.
The beginnings of Joyride Brewing Company stem from a Mr. Beer Home Brewing Kit that was re-gifted from Dave’s father. I chuckled when he told me this because I bought my Dad a Mr. Beer years ago and we would get drunk on different cloned beers that my father made. It’s a homely way of brewing beer in minuscule quantities but it sparked an interest in Dave, Grant, and Brent at Joyride Brewing.
As their interest grew they made a brewing lab out of Grant’s basement. It was band practice for these guys in their more formative years. Bergen and company spent seven years in these confines and would throw parties on the beer the created. It was a testing ground for a business and brewing skills. Free beer for honest opinions. A true test of friendship.
I love the carefree, untethered tale of how it all began. Their brewery is rooted in good times and risks worth taking. Why not get weird with your beer? But it’s also important to Joyride Brewing to keep the good stuff that their neighborhood brewery was built on. Dabble the wild but don’t concentrate on it. And as a result, they carry three foundational beers: The Edgewater IPA, The Joyride Double IPA and the informally divine, easy on the soul, Ice Cutter Kolsch.
These Midwestern boys have a love for the band Phish like many brewers, it seems. The gentlemen at Woods Boss Brewing Company know this all too well. Music brings it all together. On Joyride’s anniversary party they shut down the whole street just to party with live music. People congregate around music and beverages. The closer I look the more, the more I see the brewing community is weaving a tapestry here in Denver, and since you are reading this you are part of it.
Soon there will be a rooftop bar at Joyride Brewing Company and an expanded barrel selection. Keep your eyes peeled. Then with the sun on your face, a barrel aged beauty in your hand – Sloan’s Lake and the downtown Denver skyline will be there for you to absorb in it all the majesty I like to think it contains. Edgewater will never be the same. None of us will.
The bar is filled up now and people are clamoring for more. The day is winding down like a toy only to turn into a night ripe with possibilities. I finish the evening in the arms of the balanced and suave Joyride Double IPA. It is time for me to call it an evening. Dave is on the board of the Colorado Brewers Guild. No kids. Just fur babies, his wife, and beer. He wants to preserve all that Colorado Craft Culture has to offer and the proliferation thereof. See, it’s a fucking tapestry and it’s made special here in the Centennial State.
The joy and the ride mix and ferment to make a life worth living. It’s not easy to figure this out. In fact, it’s dangerous or at least uncertain. But that’s the reward. And you are free to revel in the journey like Joyride Brewing Company does. They do this well and they share some damn fine beer with the world too.
The Denver Hopper Notes:
Joyride Brewing Company has a ton of events that you can find at the website mentioned below or on their Facebook!
Joyride Brewing Company
Address: 2501 Sheridan Blvd, Edgewater, CO 80214