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New friend-founded brewery on tap in Forest Grove

Would-be tapas joint on 21st Avenue will become city's fourth taproom

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: TRAVIS LOOSE - Formerly a nondenominational church, a preschool and an event hall, this Forest Grove building sat vacant for years. Remodeled, then abandoned, by a different owner in 2014, the building will soon be home to Ridgewalker Brewing.Two dreams will come true when a new brewery opens this summer in Forest Grove.

For four local friends — Justin Marble, Storm Brown and brothers Jason and Chris Cirlincione — their Ridgewalker Brewing company will finally have a brick-and-mortar home where customers can gather and relax over a pint.

For Forest Grove residents, the beautifully remodeled building at 1921 21st Ave. will finally open for business. Stecchino’s owner Christian Geffard bought the decrepit structure in October 2013, intending to open a tapas restaurant there. After remodeling the outside and raising the excitement level among local foodies, Geffard abandoned the plan and the city, opening a restaurant in Portland instead.

Just before he left in March 2014, Geffard told the Forest Grove Leader he’d like to see the building used as a restaurant or brewery: “It has a large deck, that would be perfect for a brewery.”

That’s where the Ridgewalker Brewing crew comes in.

To distinguish themselves, the friends plan to use natural wood for the interior design, aiming for an antique look to “give it some character,” Marble said. “There’ll be lots of wood all over the place.”

Additionally, a kitchen is an eventual goal. “It’ll be important for our place to be family friendly, not just for the 21s and over,” Marble said. “We want to be a good neighborhood place with a distinctly different vibe.”

Since last October, Ridgewalker Brewing has been selling its beer at taprooms and brew houses in Hillsboro, Aloha, and Forest Grove and hopes to continue its success as Forest Grove’s fourth combination brewery/taproom.

“Having more places will bring more people into town. I think it’s a good thing,” Marble said.

The other three are Bull Run Cider at 2225 Cedar St., Kaiser Brewing on Hawthorne Street and Waltz Brewing on the corner of 19th Avenue and A Street.

Marble said he and his partners talked extensively with Waltz owner Adam Zumwalt and his son Noah. The friends were inspired by Waltz’s brewery model and tap selection — having a small brewing system and a big selection of taps from a wide variety of brewers.

“They buy our beer, so I think that speaks volumes. And I’d be willing to sell Waltz’s beer. It’s mutually beneficial,” Marble said. “There is competition, but it’s generally a friendly environment. We don’t plan to steal anyone else’s regulars.”

Marble hopes his brewery will be creating its own regulars soon.

“Our goal is early summer, and we’ll do our darndest to get there,” he said. “We’re excited to be up and running. This has been a dream of ours for some time.”