Madison’s beer lovers have a new brew to sample with the recent opening of a new brewery on the east side.
The city welcomed its ninth brewery last weekend with the opening of Next Door Brewing Company, a new addition to the city’s expanding craft beer market.
Brewmaster Keith Symonds opened Next Door Brewing Company at 2439 Atwood Ave. alongside his three business partners for a bustling opening weekend. The restaurant sold 2,000 beers in three and a half days, general manager and co-owner Pepper Stebbins said, adding they served more than a thousand people in that time period.
“[Opening weekend] exceeded our expectations,” he said.
Stebbins said Next Door Brewery provides Madison’s east side with community space, noting the tables are arranged in a communal style that allows sociability for people eating and drinking beer.
Stebbins said he, Symonds and their two other partners handpicked the location for the restaurant partially because of its proximity to the bike path because cyclists are one of their key customer bases.
He said the restaurant also revitalized the area by inhabiting a building that sat empty for some time.
Currently, the company is just working on making some basic beers, Symonds said, and they will start work on new beers starting in three to four weeks.
Symonds said he wants to create craft beer so people will drink it not to say they have, but because they actually enjoy it.
“I want to make beer that people want to drink,” Symonds said.
Symonds said he plans to have 11 taps at the bar, three of which will be “everyday” beers and eight of which will be specialty beers, including several collaborative beers.
Next Door Brewing Company is brewing its first collaborative beer with Stalzy’s deli on Thursday Sept. 6, Symonds said.
The other specialty beers will likely be seasonal beers, Symonds said, and will be paired with seasonal menu items as they come out.
Symonds said he is a firm believer that beer goes well with food, and the beer he will be crafting will be aligned with the adjoining restaurant’s menu.
Stebbins said the company currently has four craft beers out and is planning on bringing a new one out every few days during the next three to four weeks.
The idea for the brewery originated when Stebbins met Symonds, who has extensive experience with the trade of craft brewing, years ago, Stebbins said.
“We’ve played off each others’ strengths and weaknesses to create [the company],” Stebbins said.