This article was originally on The River City News
By Bryan Burke
Darkness is brewing in Bellevue, but in all the right ways.
Two men—Eric Bosler and Ron Sanders—are working to open a brew-pub there called Darkness Brewing, and while there are still many steps for them to take before becoming a business—they are shooting for this fall as a general time frame to open their doors.
Both have wives that work in the neighborhood hair salon, 501 Salon and Spa, and began brewing beer together on a weekly basis a few years ago. The result of their craft improved to the point where those who drank their beer regularly recommended that they open up shop for themselves.
“I've been a home-brewer for seven or eight years, and Ron's always liked beer and was interested,” Bosler said. “Having our friends drink our beer and having them keep telling us they love it and that we should open up a brewery, all led up to 'Well, why don't we?'.”
That's when the business partners began putting money aside and eventually scouting for a location. They had Bellevue at the top of their list and recently signed a lease in a building there that Bosler said is the perfect spot at 224 Fairfield Avenue.
“The location we found is the prime location that we always wanted that finally became available about a month ago,” he said. “It's a handful of blocks from the Party Source, it's a 42,000 square-foot warehouse with a big garage door, and it's got some existing plumbing that is going to help us out.”
He said that being near the interstate will help draw customers from other nearby areas, but that being in Bellevue will also facilitate a pedestrian customer base of the city's residents that are within walking distance. Customers will be able to drink their beer at the brew-pub or take growlers with them, but Darkness Brewing does not have an eye toward distributing to retailers, at least not right away.
“That way nobody's upset that there is not enough beer left over to sell them,” Bosler said.
The plan is to brew the beer in the back and have the bar in the front, but Bosler said the designs are to expose the brewing machinery to the public so that they can see where the beer is made.
“We're hoping that we will be able to set it up to where you can still have visuals of where our equipment is so people can see what's going on, and not just sit at the bar and drink the beer without knowing how we make it.”
The bar will function as a comfortable place to enjoy the fresh beer. The taproom will feature occasional live music and pool tables, but there are no plans to serve food at the establishment.
Bosler said that when he moved to the area, he saw an untapped market for brew-pubs.
“I'm from Denver and they're everywhere out there. It's kind of where craft brew started,” Bosler said about the brew-pub model. “My goal was to start a neighborhood bar that makes its own beer that you find out West and that didn't exist here. Unfortunately, because of money and time, a few other places have opened up since.”
The brewing tandem wants to specialize in darker beers to not only live up the business's name, but also because the current craft-beer market leans more toward pale ales, and Indian pale ales.
“Our goal is to focus on dark beer—stouts, porters, etc.—but we want to sort of cross some styles and boundaries of perception. A black beer that is light, for example. Just a few little things to fill the niche that exists but still isn't everywhere.”
Bosler said that not everything will be dark at Darkness Brewing and that they will definitely also do blonder beers like goldens, wheats and IPA's. He and Sanders want to offer a variety because they want to serve the different tastes of Bellevue.
“We want to make sure that we have products offered for everybody that lives here,” Bosler said.
There are still a long list of meetings, forms and other procedural steps for the partners to take before officially becoming a business in Bellevue, thus the autumn target range for opening, but the two men appear determined to keep the Darkness Brewing.