After five years, the dream to start a local brewery has finally come to fruition. The idea came about after Nick Dockstader began brewing beer as a hobby. I joined him in this project after tasting some of his beer. We started brewing in his apartment, utilizing a relatively crude brewing setup but managed to pull off some reasonably good brews. Most homebrewers begin by using malt extracts, employing whole grains to impart color and flavor. After experimenting with various techniques and ingredients, we expressed a desire to up our game, moving away from extract brewing into all grain. Upon hearing our wish to brew seriously, Levi Williams pitched the idea of opening a brewery in the area.
Levi began by investing at least $20,000 in buying a brewing system along with fermenters and kegs. This gave Nick and I the ability to brew all grain batches with the Rolls Royce of homebrewing equipment at the time. We experimented with various recipes, using different grains, hops, yeasts, and herbs out of the garden. We even harvested local juniper berries.
We brewed a couple of large batches for weddings and other events, trying our hand at new recipes and working to perfect our old standbys. After tasting many of our beers, and having us brew a special beer for his wedding, Levi began the push to get us licensed and into a legitimate facility.
There was a long road leading to the spot we find ourselves now. In the beginning, we felt that it would be better if we remained outside of Colorado City. The Utah side of the border didn’t make sense for what we were trying to achieve with our beers, as the strength and distribution requirements are more stringent. We scoped out various properties in the surrounding area and found none that would accommodate our project without building it from the ground up at a substantial cost.
As time went on, Levi focused on pushing through the complicated process of obtaining a license and facility. After traveling to meet with state and local officials, visiting countless microbreweries across the country, paying the licensing fees, and even working with our US congressional office, Levi was finally able to secure the licensing.
Next, Levi focused his sights on securing a facility, dumping money from savings, investments, and more into the project with endless patience from his wife, Shelly. After considering several properties, we eventually settled on the space adjacent to Berry Knoll Bakery, which used to serve as the old post office.
The space required a complete overhaul. Floor drains had to be installed, which required tearing up huge portions of the floor, trenching beneath, and pouring concrete again. The city government remained very accommodating of our project and worked with us to ensure that standards were met. The space necessitated a new HVAC system, roof,reframing of bathrooms, electrical, and more. Much of this early work was spearheaded by Alvin Zitting, who deserves much gratitude for the work he put in. He eventually decided to move on to other projects and Gwen Darger, who owns the Berry Knoll Bakery, came on as a partner.
Gwen and her husband Richard have been working tirelessly to put finishing touches on the brewery. The Dargers have brought invaluable experience and energy to the project. Along with Maria Jessop, who joined to manage the staffing and day to day food and bar operations, they hammered out the aesthetics, logistics, and detail work to make a successful small business. For months they have spent every free moment working to put the place together. Their work ethic, knowledge, and talent are inspirational.
On Wednesday, March 28, 2018, Edge of the World brewed our very first batch of beer in the new facility. We brewed a best pale ale recipe, which went off without a hitch. March 29, 2018, we turned on the open sign for the first time. As patrons began to come through the doors, sports and music played on the multiple television sets, the sun lit up the blossoming trees framed by the large west facing windows, and conversation gradually amped up the energy in the room.
The scene became surreal. A familiar refrain heard among patrons, “Dude, there is a bar in Colorado City on Central Street,” followed by a chuckle. “I remember when this was the old Post Office. Never thought I would see this,” another said. Some people even came up from Hurricane, Utah, to check it out on opening night.
Currently, we are working toward getting our brews on tap. State regulations require that you must have a qualified facility before you can brew in earnest. Meanwhile, we have curated a selection of beers from various breweries across the state of Arizona and plan to extend our selection as time goes on.
The tasting room at Edge of the World will be open from 4:00 to 10:00 PM, Thursday through Sunday. Follow Edge of the World Brewery on Facebook for updates. Stay tuned for our beers as they come out of the fermenters and into the kegs!