It's likely that Middleton will be the next Dane County community to get a new brewpub. Plans are well underway for the Parched Eagle. Madison residents Jim Goronson, 48, and Tom Christie, 45, have identified a potential location in the 6300 block of University Avenue, and if all goes well, they could be making beer there by fall.
"Our intention is to complement the Capital Brewery, and add to Middleton's craft brewing scene," says Goronson. Goronson is hopeful that, if financing falls in place, renovations and construction will begin as early as July, and the brewpub could be open by November: "I want to have my own place, a unique community gathering place and one that makes a significant contribution to the craft brewing community in the Madison area."
The Parched Eagle has been Goronson's dream for more than four years. He developed his love of craft beer in the late 1980s. Then, his parents gave him a homebrewing kit as a Christmas gift in 1995: "That's when I first started homebrewing. I just absolutely loved it."
After years of practice, he shifted to all-grain brewing. Goronson became a certified beer judge for local homebrew competitions. In 2009 he first started planning his own brewery. During a camping trip to northern Wisconsin, he became mesmerized with eagles in flight -- and he visited the Thirsty Pagan Brewpub in Superior. Goronson started thinking about business names: "I liked the whole thirsty angle, and the eagle is a great symbol." At one point he even considered locating his brewpub along the banks of the Wisconsin River in the eagle-watching community of Prairie du Sac. However, he eventually felt that he needed a larger population base so he turned his attention to Middleton (partially at the suggestion of friend and fellow brewmaster Page Buchanan of House of Brews, with whom Goronson completed a brewing internship in the fall of 2012). Goronson also attended the Chicago-based Siebel Institute's Concise Brewing Technology Program in 2012. His business partner, Tom Christie, is an avid mead maker, the honey-based drink which they hope to offer once the brewpub is established.
Goronson will be the president of the company and brewmaster. Christie will serve as vice president and operations manager. Both Goronson and Christie are currently employed at Madison's community radio station, WORT-FM.
The Parched Eagle is expected to have at least five main year-round brews that will include Hop-Bearer (IPA), Crane Ale (American Pale Ale), Parched Eagle Golden Ale (Kolsch), Janethan (Robust Porter) and Verily (Belgian Trappist Dubbel). There will also be a strong commitment to rotating seasonals. The brewpub plans to buy a 3.5-barrel electric brewing system that is nearly identical to what is being used by Next Door Brewing on Madison's east side. Goronson is very familiar with that system, having brewed collaboratively with brewpub owner Keith Symonds this past February to make Secret Alt Transmission, a beer that helped raise funds for WORT on World Radio Day.
Many of the beers, especially the initial releases, will be based on Goronson's homebrew recipes. The Parched Eagle will make only draught beers that will be sold on site, or in limited kegs to a handful of Madison's craft beer bars. "The emphasis will be on the people coming to drink our beer on the premises," says Goronson.
Current plans for food at the Parched Eagle focus on a limited menu involving locally sourced ingredients for sandwiches and light entrees, with an expectation that offerings will expand as the business grows. Goronson and Christie also would like to host live music.