The Parched Eagle's owners anticipate a February opening.
The Parched Eagle Brewpub is set to make its home on the northern edge of Lake Mendota, and hopes to be serving beer come February. Dane County is one of the epicenters of craft brewing, notes owner Jim Goronson, and the area around the northern fringes of Madison is really buzzing with activity, given the expansion of Ale Asylum, the growth of Karben4, the approval for Octopi Brewing in Waunakee and plans for Prairie Brewing in Sun Prairie.
The Parched Eagle has been a dream of Goronson's for nearly five years. Last April, he and business partner Tom Christie announced their plans to establish a small brewery in Middleton. Their attempts to finalize a location in that community didn't work, though, nor did several other options in Madison.
That led the pair to the northern shore of Lake Mendota, near the Yahara River and Cherokee Marsh, where they leased a space at 5440 Willow Rd. in the town of Westport, near Madison's north side. The space was formerly home of Bunky's Deli and Catering, which closed last May. The Waunakee-Westport Joint Planning Commission approved zoning for a brewpub early this fall.
"We've been considering a whole bunch of locations," says Goronson. "Middleton turned out to be too expensive, and we also looked at several different spaces in Madison that were not viable."
The Westport location offers about 1,500 square feet of space that will be remodeled to accommodate a brew house, kitchen, bar and dining room. A 12-foot serving bar will be made from reclaimed local wood, and will seat about seven patrons. As with several elements of the renovation, the bar itself will be constructed by a friend of the owners. Once open, the capacity of the Parched Eagle will be about 45 people.
Since announcing their original plans for the Parched Eagle, Goronson and Christie have scaled back the size of the brewpub. They now intend to use a one-barrel nano-brewery system, on which Goronson says he figures to be turning out batches three to four times per week. That frequency is intended to allow the Parched Eagle maintain a core selection of its brews on tap, but on such a small system, Goronson admits he may need some help keeping up with the more popular releases. "As needed, we may have some contract brewing done for us," he adds.
Once up and brewing, Goronson intends to offer at least eight beers on tap; five will be house-brewed Parched Eagle brands, while the other three will be local guest labels. The brewpub's own standard releases will likely include Hop-Bearer India Pale Ale, Crane Ale (American pale ale), Janeathan (robust porter), Parched Eagle Golden Ale (kölsch) and Verily (Belgian-style dubbel).
The Parched Eagle also plans to offer light food options, including soups, appetizers and panini. The renovations to the Willow Road storefront will also provide a limited amount of space for live music, which Goronson hopes will attract local artists.
Construction on the brewpub is scheduled to begin this week. "Our build-out will be minimal because it was a restaurant previously," explains Goronson. "We should be able to do it in a couple of months." While it may seem ambitious, Goronson's goal is to open on February 4, which also happens to be his 49th birthday.