Dave Eldridge is the co-founder and brewer at Eldridge & Fiske, a brewery and taproom in downtown Lithopolis. Eldridge, a former brewer with Columbus Brewing Co., opened the brewery earlier this year with Tim Fiske — thus the name Eldridge & Fiske.
Question: Why did you become a brewer?
Answer: I simply love brewing. I was a homebrewer when I moved to Colorado in a failed attempt to become a ski bum. While I was there, I spent some time at the Breckenridge Brewing Co., small brewpub at the time, waiting for one of the guys to get off work so we could go out. At first, I was intimidated by the operation but in time it started to click. Then it occurred to me, "I have to do this." They didn't hire me so I returned to Columbus and begged for a job.
Q: Why did you decide to name the brewery Eldridge & Fiske? While naming breweries after the founding families was common before Prohibition, it hasn't been in the modern era.
A: The decision may be lack of creativity more than anything. We started with a long list of names. When Tim Fiske and I would try to narrow the list down, we would end adding more, often ridiculous, but funny at the time, names. Eldridge & Fiske wasn't on the list until the very end and ultimately the only one we didn't cross off. I still fully expect someone to walk through the door and request legal services.
Q: What are your favorite and least favorite craft beer trends now?
A: I love that brewers are free to experiment and put out anything they want. I think brewers are empowered by the consumers who are willing to seek out and support these beers. Things have changed in the last 25 years and it's exciting to be a part of it. My least favorite trend: those pedal bar hopper things. It may not be a trend exclusive to craft beer but I can't pass on the opportunity to say those things can go away.
Q: What's your best-selling beer and why do you think it's so popular?
A: We are a small town brewery and while many of customers are very educated beer drinkers others are figuring out what they like and don't like. Our flights are most popular and our best-selling pint is a kolsch we call Uncle Charlie. My Uncle Charlie gave me my first beer and it turns out every one has an Uncle Charlie. I hear many stories of the uncle who can always beat them at pool or arm wrestling. We all know one and ours is available on tap.
Q: Which beer – any beer in the world – do you wish that you created/brewed and why?
A: I know exactly where I was and who I was with when I had my first Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I think it is an American classic and I know it changed the way I looked at beer and my relationship to the beverage. I'm grateful to them for that and would love to have that kind of impact on someone through brewing.
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