Edgewater Tap & Grill gives GJ another place to enjoy outdoors
Warmer weather causes many people to seek outdoor dining and a cold brew. Grand Valley residents can now enjoy another venue offering both at Kannah Creek Brewing Co.‘s new Edgewater Tap & Grill, 905 Struthers Ave., along Riverside Parkway.
Construction on Edgewater Tap & Grill began in October 2012 and finished in May. Edgewater officially opened May 9 and held a grand opening celebration May 16.
“It was a real big project for us to do and it put a lot of stress on our 12th Street location,” co-owner Jim Jeffryes said.
But, stressful as it may have been, Edgewater is open and business is booming, owners say.
They felt they had maxed out production possibilities at the original location, at 1960 N. 12th St., and the goal to get Kannah Creek beer bottled and on the shelves increased the desire to build the new location. So far, it has been a welcome addition to the south downtown area, it seems.
“We’ve been really well received so far. We’ve had a lot of positive response as well as constructive criticism,” said co-owner Eric Ross. “We’re really excited about it so far.”
So excited that the brewery is already planning to expand Edgewater. The restaurant is overwhelmed with the amount of customers coming in, Jeffryes said. He plans to expand the restaurant and kitchen into the current patio area and move the current patio further out on the property. He is even planning to have rooftop dining above the expanded restaurant.
But, until then, the owners plan to make use of the spacious, scenic location. The brewery plans to put a bandstand at the north side of the property for live music as well as make use of a grassy area. They are looking to add picnic benches close to the patio and are even considering setting up lawn games for patrons to enjoy.
“I really like the parkway, the riverfront and think business will do well here,” Jeffryes said.
Beer and food expansion
The brewery hired 45 new people for Edgewater, mainly to man the restaurant but also for the expanded brewing production. Kannah Creek expects to hire additional employees when the bottling process begins.
The brewery bought a brand new bottling system from a Czech company, as opposed to finding used equipment, like other producers its size might have done. The current popularity of craft beer made used equipment hard to find and the owners of the brewery wanted to make sure that the equipment would be reliable. The bottling machine will be able to bottle two cases of beer per minute, Jeffryes said.
Bottling mechanics from the beverage technology company will start work June 3 to get the machine going and to train the staff at Edgewater on how to use it. After the first round of bottling, the brewers will set aside the beer for a couple weeks to ensure the quality they are looking for is there. And if all goes according to plan, fans of Kannah Creek beer can expect to see the Lands End Amber Ale and the Standing Wave Pale Ale in liquor stores by the end of June.
The brewery’s goal is to get its beer into every liquor store in the valley. Jeffryes is working on getting a distributor lined up to sell the products and expects to have a contract by the end of June, when the first bottled beers are expected to go out.
“I’d like to see it all over the Western Slope and Denver and eventually the entire Front Range. But, each one is a different market,” Jeffryes said.
Jeffryes hopes that the brewery will be able to offer the beer in cans as well, but it will likely not happen for a couple more years. The canning equipment for beer costs about a half-million dollars, which would mean another loan for the business. For now the brewery is focusing on bottling and distributing as well as improving its new menu.
Diners won’t find the same Italian brick oven-inspired menu at Edgewater. Instead, they can expect to see a more traditional pub-style menu.
“We had a philosophy we were trying to express through the food,” Ross said. “We want to be the best burger in town.”
That meant a lot of tasty research. Ross and the chef, Jeremy Alderman, spent time eating burgers from several different restaurants and sampled different breads, buns, meat grades and cheeses to develop a quality burger to boast about. The menu change was in response to customer requests at the 12th Street location and so as not to have the two restaurants competing against one another.
“The way I see it is, now you can have pizza and beer on one side of town or a burger and beer on the other side of town,” Ross said.
And for some patrons, having a place to eat in south downtown is superb.
“Just be able to go across the Riverfront Trail and have a place to stop and eat and grab a beer is great,” said local resident Paul Brummet.
Brummet frequently bikes along the Riverfront Trail and noted that Edgewater is the only restaurant along the trail between Fruita and Palisade.
Kannah Creek promises to continue its charitable contributions at Edgewater, all of the owners believing in the importance of being involved in the community. The brewery will continue hosting fundraisers and will host the St. Baldrick’s Foundation head-shaving event at Edgewater June 29 to raise money for childhood cancer research.
“I definitely see us continuing to do things to support the community that supported us,” Ross said.
Edgewater Tap & Grill is different in many ways from the company’s first location but the devotion to quality and community remains unchanged — and, or course, it is another place to get a cold Kannah Creek brew.