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Craft brewery to open in Woodstock

Trip French, right, pours crushed grain into a mash tun while Karl Roulston stirs the mixture. Roulston, owner of the Woodstock Brewing Company, said he hopes to open his craft brewery in the former WAZT building this summer. Photo courtesy of Karl Roulston. (Buy photo)

By Ryan Cornell

A historic Woodstock building once used to manufacture Casey Jones denim bell-bottoms and most recently housing the WAZT TV station will see its next life as a craft brewery and alehouse.

Located at 123 E. Court St. behind the Bank of America and amassing 3,000 square feet on each of its two floors, the brewery could open to the public for tours and tastings as early as this summer.

The first level will store the brewing equipment. The second level will house a tasting room for visitors and could host special events in its banquet area, seating up to 80 people.

Along with seven partners, Woodstock Brewing Company Owner Karl Roulston said he hopes to "give the building a second chance."

"I think we all felt that it would help with the Downtown Woodstock area," he said. "There's kind of been a lot of shops closing and going places, so we would like to contribute to bring people back to that downtown area."

According to Roulston, a single batch at the brewery would produce about 300 gallons of beer. He said the company will start with these individual batches and brew more in response to demand.

He said they'll start hand-bottling some of their beers, but mostly will serve them out of kegs at the brewery.

"We think the fun part will be having people come into this facility and if they want to take a six pack or growler, we'll fill those," he said. "Hopefully some of the local restaurants will want to buy a local beer to have on tap."

Roulston's roots in brewing began with a homebrewing kit given as a Christmas present by his brother-in-law upon moving to Woodstock in 1998.

Roulston started his first batch mimicking a clone of the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale recipe.

After the three-week process, he tasted the result and, recalling that it turned out well, discovered his new passion.

But it wasn't until this year that he decided to open his own craft brewery.

"It was just like, if we don't do it now, somebody else will, so why not jump on it," he said.

Currently, his beer is crafted from hops ordered from the Midwest, but he's hoping to shift to an area supplier.

"Some local folks have been calling me about growing hops," he said. "It would be fun to use hops grown local in the valley to make the beer."

He said he wants to start out crafting ales, including American Pale Ales, blonde ales and nut brown ales, and then he might branch out into brewing lagers.

Roulston said he hopes to renovate the building, add the brewing equipment and open the brewery to the public this summer, though the required licensing and permitting could prove to be a challenge.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com

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