Jim Goronson, owner and brewmaster of the Parched Eagle, at work in the current Westport brewery.
Madison’s growing thirst for craft beer may soon be served by another taproom. The Parched Eagle Brewpub plans to open a taproom at 1444 E. Washington Ave., joining the current Art In gallery and bar space, Maria’s. Parched Eagle owner Jim Goronson hopes to begin renovations on the building by early April and have his grand opening sometime during Madison Craft Beer Week (April 28-May 7). The Madison Plan Commission approved his request for a conditional use permit on March 20.
Goronson opened the Parched Eagle Brewpub two years ago in a small storefront at 5440 Willow Road in the town of Westport. While the brewpub has created a small following, being so far on Madison’s northern edge makes it challenging to attract customers. Goronson says he’ll keep that brewery with its small bar open, and close a side room that he’s been using for additional seating and musical performances. The new location on East Washington Avenue near the Yahara River will give him greater visibility. “Customers like to tell me we’re a hidden gem,” he says. “Our goal is to become less of a hidden gem.”
Goronson is excited about joining Madison’s east side, which is becoming a haven for craft beer drinkers. Just last month BarleyPop Tap and Shop, a craft beer taproom and beer store, opened on Atwood Avenue, among two nearby breweries (Next Door and One Barrel) and other well-known beer bars. While somewhat concerned about holding his own with the nearby craft beer venues, Goronson says the new location should provide a steady customer base, and he can fill a niche there.
The Parched Eagle Taproom will look much like the current Parched Eagle Brewpub, with a wooden bar and rustic atmosphere. With approximately 675 square feet, the maximum capacity will be about 50 people. Goronson intends to offer up to 12 beers on tap. Eight taps will be reserved for Parched Eagle brews, with the rest from other Wisconsin breweries. The taproom doesn’t plan to serve food.
The Parched Eagle is one of the smallest brewpubs in the state. Goronson makes his beers using a one-barrel brewing system. With the additional taproom Goronson will look to contract with House of Brews to make some of his best sellers in order to meet the demand of both locations. However, he intends to keep brewing specials, seasonals and experimental pilot batches at the Westport location. The core set of beers is expected to include Hop Bearer (IPA), Crane Ale (APA) and Golden Ale (Kölsch); however, both locations will have a few beers of their own. One he’s excited about as a house beer for the new taproom is Burgeoning Goth Queen, a rich, big and bold oatmeal stout.
Goronson plans for the new Parched Eagle Taproom to be open Tuesday through Sunday.
Editor's note: The story has been corrected to reflect the fact that the Parched Eagle will be joining the space that includes Art In at 1444 E. Washington Ave., not replacing the gallery.