Touchdown!

 

How a retired NFL player and former aerospace engineer opened the first brewery in East Greenwich

By Robert Isenberg
Article Courtesty of
SoRI

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What does a football star do once he’s retired from the NFL? How do you follow up an eight-year career as a center for the New England Patriots, including two Super Bowl wins? If you’re Dan Koppen, you move to East Greenwich, meet a future business partner through your child’s kindergarten, and decide to establish the town’s first brewery.

“I tried a number of other things that didn’t work out, or I wasn’t passionate about,” says Koppen, who opened LineSider Brewing Co. with Jeremy Ruff last November. “When you retire young, you try to find that next step.

Koppen’s wife is a Cranston native, and they decided to make Rhode Island their post-football home. Koppen met Ruff a few years ago, because their children attended the same elementary school. Ruff was an aerospace engineer who had a fondness for home brewing, and the two started making beer together.

LineSider Brewing Co. opened on Black Friday, and crowds poured through the door. “It was crazy,” Koppen recalls. “We wanted to establish something in the community, and be part of it. It was a no-brainer. [This location] was our first choice. And it really blew away our expectations. ”

The 4,200-square-foot facility is capable of brewing 1,000 barrels of beer every year. The tasting room is already buzzing on Fridays and Saturdays, partly thanks to food truck partnerships. LineSider will stay open for the Super Bowl on March 3, and Koppen and Ruff are considering keeping the tasting room open on Sundays thereafter. The bar has nine beers on tap, which will rotate regularly, and a limited number of cans are available for carryout.

“We’re still young, and we’re still finding our balance,” says Koppen. “We want this to be a place where families are welcome. Beer drinkers are welcome. Non-beer drinkers are welcome. We want to put something on the menu for everybody.”