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Joyride Brewing Anniversary

Joyride Brewing Anniversary
Scott Grossman

Joyride Brewing in Edgewater, Colorado, celebrates its ninth anniversary this weekend with a 90s-themed party. The brewery will have bands, merchandise and collab beers brewed by their good friends in the Denver craft brewing community.

The party kicks off Friday, July 14, when Joyride will take over 25th Avenue in front of the brewery for bands and a silent disco. Saturday brings several 90s cover bands. Both days will continue the tradition of selling limited-edition Hawaiian shirts. This year adds matching 90s-inspired fanny packs.

Joyride Brewing anniversary
2022 anniversary from the rooftop patio. Photo credit: Joyride Brewing Company

Tradition of Collaboration

Joyride also continues its tradition of collaborating with the number of breweries that correspond to its anniversary year. This year nine breweries divided into teams and brewed five beers.

As in years past, customers can vote on their favorite. The winner receives “the most prestigious award in Colorado craft beer,” as Joyride co-founder Dave Bergen laughingly describes it.  In reality, the prize is a child-sized WWF belt with the Joyride logo. The belt is inscribed with past winners in the tradition of the Stanley Cup.

Changes & Medals

Over its nine years the brewery has seen significant changes, including the addition of a spacious rooftop deck in 2019 and the evolution of its brewing strategy to concentrate on lighter, sessionable “patio beers” and IPAs. These efforts have not gone unnoticed. The brewery has won numerous Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup (WBC) medals. “It’s very humbling to be getting the recognition that we have been,” says Bergen. Most recently Ice Cutter Kölsch and You Have to Call Me Nighthawk IPA both took home bronzes in 2023’s WBC.

Joyride Brewing bar
Bartender Adam Hall serves up award-winning You Have to Call Me Nighthawk IPA. Photo credit: Scott Grossman

An Unlikely Start

The anniversary allows co-founder Bergen to reflect on the long and beery road that both he and Joyride have taken. Bergen started out brewing almost by accident. He had given his father a Mr. Beer kit but took it back when his father decided that he could simply buy better beer without the work. Bergen began making basic beer for college parties, and was soon itching to explore beer’s full potential. “I was having fun doing it, but I wanted more control. I wanted to do my own.”

Bergen and a couple of friends, who would eventually go on to open Joyride, pooled their resources to purchase an all-grain brew setup and started working on recipes. They brewed ten-gallon batches virtually every week for five years to hone their skills at brewing classic styles. Many of those recipes are the basis of Joyride’s beers to this day.

Joyride Brewing anniversary
Dave Bergen with medal-winning Ice Cutter Kölsch. Photo Credit: Joyride Brewing Company

Evolution & Focus

Joyride opened in 2014 at the height of the craft brewery boom, with over 1000 other breweries opening that year. Originally the brewery was less focused than it has become. “When we first started we kind of dipped our toe into a lot of ponds all over the beer world as far as different styles,” says Bergen. While that served Joyride well as a neighborhood brewery, Bergen felt that there was untapped potential. “I think we may have been spreading ourselves too thin and not being able to improve on some of the things that maybe meant a little more to us.”

A critical moment came when Bergen attended a Craft Brewers Conference seminar that encouraged brewers to identify what they do better than anyone else and focus on that. For Joyride, this meant lighter-style, easy-drinking “patio beers”. Bergen explains, “Between me and the brew team we tend to gravitate more toward the lighter, more sessionable styles anyway. Now we get to brew what we want to brew, and it’s also what matches up with what people want to drink here. It’s a perfect situation.”

Another key driver was the rooftop patio, which was in the works at the time. Bergen believed that a focus on lighter beers, along with IPAs, would mesh well with outdoor environment. The thinking, according to Bergen, was, “Let’s give people the best experience that we can where the vibes that they’re getting from the roof are matching up with the vibes that they’re getting from what they’re drinking.”

Joyride’s big rooftop patio. Photo credit: Scott Grossman

Since then, Joyride has won numerous competition medals and consistently fills the patio with happy drinkers in all seasons. “I still firmly believe that beer is the official beverage of being outside,” says Bergen.

Time Flies

Looking back, Bergen seems a little surprised at how far the he and the brewery have come. “It’s weird to think that I’ve spent almost an entire decade of my life here in craft beer,” he says, adding, “It was a dream and a goal of mine to be doing this. When you open up you think you’re only going to make it two years and you’re going to last 100 years at the same time and you’re curious which one it’s going to be.”

By now, the brewery has easily cleared the two-year mark and looks set for success in the foreseeable future as well. Says Bergen, “It’s been a fun nine years. It has been a really long, difficult road for every reason. We’re happy to be here and still kicking harder than ever.”

Joyride Brewing Anniversary Pour List

West Coast IPA | Cannonball Creek & Westbound & Down Brewing
Hazy IPA | Call to Arms & Odell Brewing
New Zealand Pilsner | Station 26 & Woods Boss Brewing
Cherry Limeade Gose | Downhill Brewing & Strange Craft Beer Co.
Fruited Light Lager | Barrels & Bottles Brewery

Feature image photo credit: Joyride Brewing Co.

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