Featuring a seasoned chef and expert brewers, this restaurant and bar is exactly what this Philadelphia neighborhood needs.
With its chic concrete bar, exposed brick wall and stacked brewing tanks that soar 23 feet into the air, New Ridge Brewing Company is just the sort of dining and drinking hub Roxborough needs. Unfortunately, few people have been inside. Since its launch this past June, the brewpub’s dining room has been closed more than it’s been open. Because it’s inside city limits, New Ridge must adhere to Philadelphia’s COVID mitigation restrictions. Relegated to alfresco dining, it’s making the most of its 40 outdoor seats with heaters and other tools for winter.
The normally packed patio is evidence of how heartily New Ridge Brewing has been embraced by the community. “We’re doing our absolute best to show our customers how much we appreciate their patronage,” says partner Vince DesRosiers, who runs the front of the house. “The pandemic isn’t going to stop us.”
Since leasing the building in 2017, the New Ridge partners have faced a few hurdles. Formerly a carpet store, the building had been vacant for at least seven years before the Roxborough Development Corporation stepped in and rehabbed it, leasing it to DesRosier and his partners, brothers Eric and Chris Endrikat. The trio met at Iron Hill Brewery in Media, where DesRosier was head brewer and Chris was his assistant. “Chris and I wanted to brew incredible beer and pair it with equally incredible food,” says DesRosier. “We wanted to be in control of our message and our business—and we wanted a place to have date night with our wives.”
DesRosier and the Endrikats have started small, limiting their list to four to six beers they could fine-tune. “Lots of places offer lots of beers, and that’s great,” DesRosier says. “We said, ‘Let’s make it simple and kill everything that we do.’”
A signature offering is the New Ridge IPA, a dry and clear West Coast style that’s light, fresh and filled with flavor. “It goes against the trend of having hazy, hoppy beers,” says DesRosier.
New Ridge IPA is one of two house varieties always on tap. The other, Moscow Speed Wolf, is a Russian imperial stout. With a name was inspired by title of a song by a punk band favored by the Endrikat brothers, it’s a must for any dark-beer lover. The complex and rich flavor profile is the result of DesRosier’s tutelage under Bob Barrar of 2SP Brewery in Aston. “He’s one of the best brewers in the world, and he’s won multiple awards for this imperial stout,” DesRosier says. “It takes a lot of effort and technique to brew this beer. It was fun to see if we could do it.”
Though he’s a veteran of several Philadelphia restaurants, chef Nate Moyer’s culinary heart is in Nashville, where he honed his chops at Husk, a mecca for modern Southern cuisine. “Locally raised products, heirloom vegetables and healthy, hearty food” are the lynchpins of Moyer’s culinary model. For the wholly unique maitake mushroom sandwich, a beer-battered deep-fried mushroom is topped with radish, lettuce and a spicy chili-molasses sauce and served on a sweet-potato brioche bun. Sea Island red peas add Southern charm to a recent halibut dish, served with an aged cheddar sauce. His Brussels sprouts are pan-fried in apple butter, deglazed with butter and vinegar, and topped with shaved apples.
Desert is a collaboration between Moyer and the Endrikat brothers’ sister, Nicole. Sweets include a seasonal crisp and a rotating roster of cookies served with shots of raw milk.
It’s worth noting that the menu has since changed due to the COVID shutdown. Moyer reworked the takeout options, adding mac ‘n’ cheese and additional sandwiches, along with a giant cookie. “Most restaurants in our category don’t do a lot of takeout,” says Moyer. “But that’s been our lifeline.”
The beer is another lifeline. “We’re here for the long haul,” DesRosier says. “Next spring, we’ll make new menus—and new beers.”
New Ridge Brewing Company, 6168 Ridge Ave., Roxborough, (215) 330-4677, newridgebrewing.com COST: $5-$24. ATMOSPHERE: Industrial chic. HOURS: 4-9 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, noon-9 p.m. Saturday, noon-8 p.m. Sunday. ATTIRE: Casual.