TOWN OF WESTPORT — For anyone who gave away a piano over the past six months, there’s a chance it is now in the newest brewpub in Dane County.
But leave any hopes of playing the instrument at home along with your music.
At the Parched Eagle, 5440 Willow Road, located along Highway M north of Middleton, four pianos have been put to good use as they were cut into pieces and used to create the bar at the 45-seat establishment scheduled to open at 3 p.m. Thursday.
The backs of the pianos create the base of the bar’s counter while other parts helped form the back of the bar. Rob Rivan, the project’s carpenter, even salvaged foot pedals that are now handles on cabinet doors.
“We’re pretty happy with the way it turned out,” said Jim Goronson, co-founder of the small brewpub. “We told some (about the fate of their pianos), others we didn’t.”
If a pre-opening party held Saturday is any indication, the bar and the beer should be a hit.
About 100 people filled the business and bought 265 glasses of beer, made recently in the brewing room that is crammed with stainless steel pots and kettles from Stout and Psycho Brew, companies that specialize in brewing equipment.
Goronson’s hope is to brew 150 barrels in his first 12 months with the majority sold in his tasting room. There are plans for growlers and to have his brews on tap at other craft beer-centric pubs in the area.
On Wednesday, Goronson was brewing Verily, a Belgian Trappist dubbel that includes a Mexican brown sugar and hits 7.3 percent alcohol by volume. He was also readying a brite tank to carbonate Hop-Bearer, a flagship India pale ale he brewed three weeks ago. He plans to keg the brew a few hours before opening.
“It’s borderline overwhelming,” Goronson said of preparing to open. “It’s a tremendous amount of work but tremendously gratifying.”
Goronson spent more than eight years at WORT-FM, where he was in charge of fundraising but since 2009 has been planning to build his own brewpub. He considered a Middleton site along University Avenue, but he found a smaller, less-expensive spot in what had been Bunky’s Deli and located next to Living Word Church in a strip mall here.
Goronson has more than 20 years of experience as a home brewer and three years ago was tutored by Page Buchanan, brewmaster at House of Brews in Madison. Goronson’s partner is Tom Christie, whom he met at WORT. The project was financed through loans, investors and owner contributions. Goronson declined to say how much was being spent on the brewpub project but in December, at the start of construction, he estimated it would cost about $150,000.
The plan is to have five year-round beers and 25 specialty beers throughout the year. Also, three taps at the Parched Eagle will feature beer from other craft breweries. A small menu will include panini sandwiches, wraps, imported German pretzels and cheese and sausage plates.
Goronson has no reservations about his semi-rural location.
“It seems the Parched Eagle has landed in an area of beer geeks,” Goronson said after assessing his pre-opening party. “What this is about is people coming in and drinking our beer.”