In a weird way, Eric Endrikat said, the pandemic has helped New Ridge Brewing Co., a new brewpub in Roxborough that has been three years in the making.
“I mean, from a health standpoint, it’s terrible, of course,” he said. “We were looking to open in April or early May. [The shutdown] stalled construction and took the wind out of our sails. But it’s allowed us to roll things out slowly. We didn’t have to lay off staff.”
The only employees at the outset in June — when takeout beer sales started — were Endrikat, his brother, Chris, their friend and business partner, Vince DesRosiers, and bar manager Laura Riley. Food trucks later showed up to feed the beer drinkers on a 36-seat patio.
As they figured out how to operate under restrictions, they brought on chef Nate Moyer, a veteran of Pumpkin, Harp & Crown, and River Twice, who opened the kitchen in August. His menu includes a charcuterie board featuring Benton’s prosciutto; a burger made of Primal Supply beef; a vegan maitake sandwich; shrimp and grits; and a schnitzel sandwich that puts chicken, pickled green tomatoes, and a togarashi buttermilk sauce on top of a Merzbacher’s roll. Brunch and cocktails started last weekend.
The 55-seat dining room and bar will not seat patrons for a while, Eric Endrikat said.
New Ridge is a homegrown effort. The Endrikat family lives nearby on Manatawna Avenue, and the boys helped their father, Fred, a city firefighter, with his homebrewing projects.
For years, they had talked about getting into the beer business. While Eric headed for a career in marketing, Chris took a job as a waiter seven years ago at Iron Hill Brewing Co. in North Wales, where he met DesRosiers, who was brewer. (DesRosiers learned brewing 15 years ago at the Iron Hill in Media from Bob Barrar, who later left to open 2SP Brewing.)
Three years ago, the Endrikats and DesRosier signed a lease on a former carpet store, which Roxborough Development Corp. had purchased as a community investment. It took two years for permitting and construction, including an expansion of the building to accommodate the 10-barrel brew house.
Chris Endrikat and DesRosier are brewing four to six beers now, and hope to step up to six to eight soon, including a refreshing helles lager, a weisse, and a fruited sour. “We’ve been flying through the beer now,” Eric Endrikat said.
The brewpub is open from 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, noon to 10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday for takeout beer and patio seating.
The beer scene in Northwest Philly seems to be thriving, when you also factor in newcomers such as Attic Brewing in Germantown, Bald Birds Brewing in Manayunk, Chestnut Hill Brewing in Chestnut Hill, and recent-comer Twisted Gingers, which opened five minutes downhill and boasts a pizza menu. (Note: The pandemic has forced Boston’s Night Shift Brewing to scuttle its grand plans to open a massive brewery on Domino Lane.)
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