WOODSTOCK — Boxes of glass bottles and wooden barrels fill the front rooms of the new Barrel and Barley craft beer market that is set to open Friday in downtown Woodstock.
Owner and founder Zach Yurchuck said the market will have 20 tap lines with craft beer, hard cider and gourmet sodas for children, a cool dark cellar for aging beers, a cooler filled with craft beer ice cream and a specially built cooler for cold, single-bottle beers, which can be selected and put into custom six packs.
“A lot of beer actually ages like fine wine, and develops new flavors over the years,” Yurchuck said. “We’re eventually trying to build up to about 500 different beers in this (cellar), and another 200 to 300 in our cold storage.”
Yurchuck, who is originally from Woodstock, graduated in May from the University of Georgia with a degree in marketing.
The 21-year-old craft beer enthusiast, who attended Woodstock High, said his interest piqued during his time in Athens, where he “caught the craft beer bug.”
“Woodstock didn’t have anything that did craft beers justice,” Yurchuck said. “So I thought it’d be a good place to come and introduce these people to a fun hobby of mine.”
On opening day, Yurchuck said the store will have a two-hour tasting, probably between 6 to 8 p.m. He said that the growlers, which are refillable glass beer containers, will come in two sizes and cost $5.
“The support and momentum that we’ve built up is much more than I ever expected, we may hit a thousand Facebook likes before we open,” Yurchuck said. “I’m ordering a lot more beer than I originally planned to.”
Yurchuck explained that once a customer buys a growler, they can switch it out for a clean one every time they come back to buy beer with no charge, and they can switch between the sizes, too. The sizes are roughly a gallon or a half-gallon, he said.
Yurchuck said the growler-filling nozzles he will use keep the beer from being exposed to oxygen, and that most growler shops use a normal tap handle that causes the beer to lose carbonation. He explained the problem as being similar to when soda loses carbonation and said he will give customers growler beer “the way it should be.”
“Keeping that carbonation there is crucial to delivering the beer the way it should be,” he said. “So we solved that problem with these things called counter-pressure fillers.”
His family was at the market Thursday afternoon to help prepare the store for opening day, carrying boxes and painting door frames.
“I’m very blessed to be able to have this opportunity,” Yurchuck said. “We’ve been working on it for months, but the renovation started in May.”
The front door of Beer and Barley opens into a lounge area that Yurchuck said will have outdoor furniture and tables, and he said eventually the room will have old brewing equipment on display.
Yurchuck said he plans to eventually teach home brewing classes, and said that will be part of the market’s first expansion.
Through the lounge is the main store area, with tap beer and other drinks for sale. Yurchuck said the bar was freshly lacquered and will be shelved with their signature Beer and Barrel chocolate brown-colored glass growler bottles.
To the left is the cellar with motion sensor lights that Yurchuck said will keep the aging beer fresh, and directly through the tap room from the main entrance is a custom-built cooler along a hallway in the back.
The market is at 9010 Main St., beside the Tea Leaves and Thyme shop. There is parking in front and to the left of the market.