With more than two decades of combined brewing knowledge, three best friends, brothers Chris and Eric Endrikat, and Vince DesRosiers, will realize a longtime dream when they debut the New Ridge Brewing Company on Ridge Avenue.
“I knew that if not us, then someone was going to do this,” Chris Endrikat said. “We are very happy that it is us doing it, right in the heart of our neighborhood.”
The Endrikat brothers grew up in Roxborough on Manatawna Avenue. Their father, Fred Endrikat, spent more than three decades as a Philadelphia firefighter and has long been committed to and passionate about revitalizing the neighborhood. As children, Chris and Eric would help him with home brewing projects. Fred always thought a brewpub would be a great addition to the neighborhood.
“As kids we would clean the bottles and help him brew. It was always our dream to have a brewpub. So our dad was really the catalyst for this project,” Chris said. “He was the inspiration for our interest in beer in general, and he encouraged us to do this.”
A few years ago, when the Roxborough 2020 strategic revitalization plan was just beginning, a community survey overwhelmingly found that residents wanted to see a brewpub as an addition to the corridor. Now, as requested, residents will have a place to bring their families for a fresh beer, a sit-down meal – or a dinner under the stars.
Located at 6168 Ridge Avenue next to a new Santucci’s , just up the street from the Foodery, and between Krams Avenue and Leverington Avenue, New Ridge Brewing Company will open its doors for the very first time this December.
“We wanted a place where we would bring our own families, a neighborhood place.” said DesRosiers, “we also think it will be a great date night place.”
Chris and Vince met seven years ago, when Vince was head brewer at the Iron Hill in North Wales. Their story began when Chris Endrikat, a new employee working as a server, was encouraged to learn the brewing operation, and says he couldn’t have found a better tutor.
“Vince was my introduction into really brewing,” said Chris Endrikat. “He hired me on as his assistant.”
Vince DesRosiers learned the craft 14 years ago, when, as a newbie himself at the Iron Hill in Media. Brewmaster Bob Barrar (now at 2SP Brewing) took DesRosier under his wing and taught him the basics. He was immediately hooked.
“I guess the two things I loved most were: I was working with my hands, and I was up moving around,” said DesRosiers.
Eric Endrikat, who spent 11 years in the office world, will be the administrative and marketing end of the business.
“We will all be doing everything, but I will be doing the marketing, social media, and admin,” he adds.
Plans to rebirth the building at 6168 Ridge, a former carpet gallery, began when the Roxborough Development Corporation purchased the three-story space with plans to encourage a new restaurant use for Ridge Avenue that would fill unmet demand. With a public park created by the organization adjacent to the brick structure, it seemed like the perfect spot to utilize a portion of the space for an al fresco neighborhood restaurant.
The Roxborough Pocket Park opened in 2018 from a once vacant lot, with the revitalization plan in mind. It includes dozens of plantings, a mural that expands along the wall, as well as environmentally friendly receptacles to collect rainwater and return it to the Schuylkill watershed. After the brewers received a critical variance in 2018 from the city zoning board that allowed them to build a 500-square-foot addition to the rear of the building to house their brewing vats, the plan began to come to life.
For nearly two years, they have been innovating the family-friendly space, and are finally seeing it come to fruition as a neighborhood hotspot. The space will lend itself to a galley-style restaurant, with a bar that seats a dozen customers and a dining room with a capacity of roughly 55. But it is the outdoor space that will truly make the brewpub shine. DesRosiers explained that the Pocket Park will be home to another 40 seats, with a 16-foot glass wall overlooking the park from inside the brewery. A mural on the opposite-facing building across the park will be mirrored on the brewpub windows.
“I’ve worked in a lot of places and just looking out onto this park, it really is beautiful here,” DesRosiers said.
Chris Endrikat and DesRosiers will be the brewers, using 10 vats to create a wide variety of beers. The German lager Munich Helles, as well as a West Coast IPA, will always be on tap, with an additional half-dozen choices rotated monthly. Some beers will be seasonally flavored; others will be what the brewers feel like making on a whim.
“We designed this brewery to be able to do that,” said DesRosiers. “The size of the system allows us to go through beers quickly and allows us to keep new styles on tap.”
“Keeping a smaller tap list allows us to rotate styles more often,” said Chris Endrikat. “Rotating varieties keeps the product fresh.”
Though the trio is still deciding on the perfect chef, they say the menu will be New American meets upscale gastro pub.
“There will be some classic pub food, but mainly we want it to be a place where people can come sit down to have a nice dinner with full service,” Chris Endrikat said.
The brewery won’t be open in time for the seventh annual, but the brewery’s Munich Helles and West Coast IPA beers will be featured at two beer gardens along the street on the day of the event.
Oh... and there’s one more reason why Roxborough will love this new venture. The guys plan on allowing anyone in the neighborhood interested in learning how to brew to come on in, roll up their sleeves, and help them in the brew room.
“It’s an open-door policy if they want to learn how to brew, we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have good teachers, so we want to teach anyone who wants to learn.” So tap into what is sure to be a neighborhood favorite, and raise a glass to a new chapter in Roxborough!