Joyride Brewing Company is located in Edgewater, CO across the street from Sloan’s Lake, a popular Denver park for walking, biking and even boating. Due to their location, Joyride has become a hot spot for visitors of the lake. If you’ve never heard of Edgewater, it’s because the city is less than one square mile in size. The area has a unique history that Joyride embraced in many aspects of their operation. From the logo, to the names of the beer, there are some really cool facts about the area that have been integrated into the brewery and taproom.
History of the Brewery:
Joyride Brewing Company opened for business on July 16, 2014 to great fanfare. There was a great deal of excitement for the opening because the building had been vacant for a couple of years, and Joyride would become the first brewery in Edgewater. The first day was crazy as group after group kept coming and the staff realized they were not quite ready for the amount of people that showed up. Thanks to great support, and the amount of people that visited the brewery early on, Joyride streamlined their processes and can now handle large crowds.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Dave Bergen, Brewmaster and Owner of Joyride Brewing. Dave went to college for management of business computers, but it wasn’t something he was really excited about. He ended up going into sales, but felt like he wanted to do something different. Dave bought his dad a Mr. Beer homebrew kit, but his dad wasn’t really into it. He got the kit back from his dad and started getting really excited about brewing, and the science behind it. He then got a second Mr. Beer kit and started brewing more and more. In late 2008, Dave reached the point that Mr. Beer was too limiting, and he got into all-grain brewing so he could try new things, and of course, brew better beer. Eventually he joined a homebrew club, Foam on the Range, and began gaining notoriety for brewing good beer.
After a few years of learning, and gaining experience brewing quality beer, Dave and two friends, Grant Babb and Brent Smith, decided they wanted to partner up and open a brewery. The trio decided to treat their goal like being in a band, and they dedicated regular time to brewing, much like a band having regular practices. After about three years they started writing a business plan, looking for investors, and searching for properties for the brewery. They found the location in Edgewater after walking about fifty buildings. They signed a long-term lease on an abandoned pawn shop that had been vacant for about two years. The building Joyride Brewing occupies had been various businesses, including a pawn shop, a record store, and Edgewater’s first grocery store and meat market. The building was built in 1910 and operated as Knoll’s Meat Market.
Sloan’s Lake also has an interesting history. Thomas Sloan, a cattle rancher, was digging on his land in 1861 and hit an underground aquifer, creating Sloan’s Lake (which people dubbed Sloan’s Leak when it first happen). Sloan would cut ice blocks from the lake in the winter and sell it to breweries. This fact inspired Joyride to name a beer “Ice Cutter Kolsch” in honor of the German breweries that were prevalent when Sloan was supplying them with ice blocks. Manhattan Beach opened in 1881 on the shore of Sloan’s Lake and was the first amusement park west of the Mississippi River. Roger the Elephant was the first elephant that P.T. Barnum (founder of Barnum & Bailey Circus) purchased, and he spent time at the Manhattan Beach Amusement Park at Sloan’s Lake. Roger had a woven basket on his back, and gave kids rides around the park. There was an accident and Roger was put down, then buried nearby at 20th and Depew. Joyride Brewing really embraced the great history of the area, and this why they have an elephant in their logo. Dave is very knowledgeable about the local history, and says that it’s a good reminder that life’s about the journey instead of the destination. Another historic aspect of the Joyride story, is that their building had a mural detailing the history of Edgewater. Unfortunately, they had to tear off the mural to meet the city regulations for having windows for a minimum transparency from the outside looking in. Where the garage doors are now located, there used to be a mural detailing much of the history of Edgewater, and Sloan’s Lake. Joyride’s ownership was really bummed about taking down the mural, but they were happy to have helped bring more people to the area, which has helped many of the local businesses. I’m very impressed with the level of knowledge of local history, and the amount of history that Joyride incorporated into their operation.
Joyride boasts a diverse mix of beer, with options for people that like all different beer styles. They embrace having people visit that may not have a lot of experience with craft beer, and educating them on different beer styles. Dave loves the discovery aspect of craft beer, where he can try new beers. He even plans his vacations around being able to check out new breweries and brewing styles. The brewers at Joyride (Dave + three assistant brewers) brew six regular beers, but they try new styles, and are constantly looking to evolve their skills. They use a wide variety of hops in their beers, where some breweries use the same hops for many of their beers.
Regular Beers (descriptions from the Joyride menu):
- Ice Cutter Kolsch – 5.5% ABV, 25 IBUs: In the winter after Thomas Sloan flooded his farm, he would cut ice from the lake and sell it to local breweries. As most brewers in the day were of German decent, a Kolsch style beer could have been produced. Joyride’s Kolsch is a classic interpretation of the style, very smooth and drinkable like a lager with a light fruit flavor from ale fermentation. It has moderate levels of bitterness and noble hop flavor and a crisp, dry finish. Nothing pairs better with our Lakeside view than our Kolsch.
- Bear Paw Oatmeal Milk Stout – 7.2% ABV, 45 IBUs: The Bear Paw is a deliciously decadent Sweet Stout that is robust and silky smooth. Seven different malts create chocolate, roast, caramel and coffee flavors, while five pounds of lactose sugar per barrel balance it out with a velvety sweetness. The flaked oats contribute to a luscious mouthfeel that will leave you wanting another glass. It may seem cute and cuddly, but at over 7%, this one’s got some claws.
- Cougar Pale Ale – 5.1% ABV, 40 IBUs: Cougar Pale Ale is west coast inspired with English character. We use a method known as “hop bursting” and add all of the hops after the boil during our whirlpool. This gives the beer an extremely soft and pleasant bitterness while maximizing hop flavor and aroma. We also add Maris Otter malt as about 20% of the grist to provide a more toasty and bready malt backbone. The result is a very balanced American Pale Ale without the hops or malt being over the top. Take a Cougar home tonight!
- Dry Hopped Antelope Amber – 5.3% ABV, 50 IBUs: Antelope is a bold rich and hoppy American Amber that leaps across your tongue. Antelope weaves caramel, nutty and dark fruit flavors from six premium malts with the citrus characteristics from four types of American hops to create a delicious Amber Ale. For this batch, we dry hopped with Amarillo hops to increase the grapefruit and floral aromas. Let this one run wild.
- Edgewater IPA – 6.5% ABV, 70 IBUs: Edgewater IPA is a west coast style IPA that bursts out of the glass. We use obscene amounts of Apollo and Chinook with a touch of Amarillo hops to layer citrus, piney, resiny and floral characteristics across your palate. The hop explosion and dry finish make this extremely drinkable and enjoyable. Edgewater. This is our town. This is our IPA. Take it for a ride.
- Joyride Double IPA – 9.3% ABV, 100+ IBUs: Intended to be seasonal but the response was strong it’s now always on tap. Calling all hop heads, this beer is for you! We used three pounds of hops per barrel to give our Double IPA an aggressive and delicious hop profile. We used 4 different types of American and German malts, but the hops are definitely the star here. We did 7 different additions of Simcoe and Citra hops to layer piney, citrus, tropical fruit and melon flavors into this dangerously drinkable ale.
- Black Razz Blonde
- Give Peach a Chance Berliner Weisse
- Sloan’s Pale Ale
- Emerald Irish Stout
- Batch 69 Hoppy Wheat Ale
As described above, Joyride offers a diverse mix of beer to fit nearly any taste. I was impressed by a few of the beers, but my absolute favorite is the Antelope Amber. I’m not normally a huge fan of Ambers, but the dry hopping makes this one unique and flavorful. My next favorite is a tie between the Ice Cutter Kolsch and the Batch 69 Hoppy Wheat Ale. Both are simply easy drinking, complex, tasty beers. Joyride switches out their beer menu about once per week, so the list above may not be exactly what they will have when you stop in. They’re looking at doing limited canning through a mobile canning provider, but that has not been finalized. For now you can only get Joyride’s beer at the brewery. You can purchase a 64oz glass growler for $20, or a 64 oz stainless steel growler for $60. The cost to fill a 64oz growler is $12. You can also purchase a 32oz growler for $8.
I would like to thank Dave Bergen for sitting down and talking craft beer with me. The team at Joyride is extremely knowledgeable, and create a fun environment for beer lovers to enjoy a fresh local brew. I definitely recommend a trip to Joyride for anyone that is looking to try a new brewery. The taproom is a fun, open room that is normally full of people enjoying a beer and a conversation. Denver Westword recently awarded Joyride as the “Best New Brewery Taproom” and the “Best Brewery Taproom Ambiance”. So get some friends together and take a trip down to Joyride Brewing, you won’t be disappointed!
Joyride Brewing Company
2501 Sheridan Blvd
Edgewater, CO 80214