By Susan Hale Thomas (Courtesy photo)
Beer connoisseurs will be licking the froth from their lips when they hear that plans for a beer garden are underway across from the King Street Metrorail station. Brew enthusiasts and entrepreneurs Ryan and Sarah Schradin hope to have at least 30 craft beer taps flowing at Good Beer if they can get financial backing.
The Schradins are looking to remodel the space at 1725 Duke St., formerly Stella’s Restaurant, to create a beer garden, gastropub and specialty beer shop. By offering unique and lesser-known quality beers from microbreweries, nanobreweries and brewing companies across the globe, the Schradins are hoping to lure discerning beer fans out there to a community indoor-outdoor pub.
The first-time business owners are using their savings, exploring different opportunities through the Small Business Development Center and have launched a Kickstarter campaign seeking $50,000 to finance initial building plans and regulatory requirements to get the project started.
“We love beer so much, we’re looking to make a lifetime commitment to it … by making beer our business,” Ryan Schradin said.
Given Stella’s was a restaurant that served alcohol and food both indoors and outdoors, the Schradins are optimistic the city will approve their idea. The location has easy Metro access and underground parking.
Schradin dismisses concerns that the establishment would attract a beer pong crowd.
“This is craft beer, not Miller Lite,” he said. “You won’t see drunks roaming the neighborhood after a long night of drinking games.”
Beer seems to be part of the couple’s way of life.
“We’re big fans of craft beer, so much so we do beer tourism,” he said.
The couple explored the breweries of northern California, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey and Mexico in search of the ultimate beer. There are hundreds of sours, big IPAs, big imperials and stouts waiting to be discovered.
Ryan Schradin speaks of beer with the conviction of a religious convert.
“In Marshall, Mich. at the Dark Horse Brewery, I tasted a Russian Imperial stout called Plead the Fifth,” he said. “It’s barrel-aged and made it such a small quantity. I had my mind blown and it was hands down the best beer I’ve ever had.”
The Schradins want to bring that experience to the Port City. The couple believes a good relationship with their distributors, a vast knowledge of craft beer and knowing what to ask for, will enable them to offer Alexandrians innovative beers selections in a fun neighborhood atmosphere.
“If we can’t live our passion somewhere, we’ll create it,” Ryan said.