Nanobrewery opening in Mystic

Mystic — After what owner Drew Rodgers said has been a long time coming, Barley Head Brewery is opening from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, or however long products last.

For its first day, Barley Head Brewery will be serving its EPA, IPA and brown ale in pints, growlers and tastings. It's located at Factory Square, in the same complex as Voodoo Grill and Margaritas Mexican Restaurant, at 12 Water St.

"I want people to come and feel that they can have a connection to how the beer is made and where it's made," said Rodgers, 34. "People working behind the bar will also have been involved in every other step, so they should be able to educate."

A nanobrewery is a very small brewery, smaller than a microbrewery, often producing three barrels or less of beer at a time. Rodgers' plan for his nanobrewery is to eventually offer four to six beers on tap, on rotation. He's working on a Belgium triple, a stout, a brown IPA and a double IPA.

Rodgers is excited about using locally grown hops and barley, though he won't be using locally grown ingredients exclusively. He has gotten help from Cottrell Brewing Company, Outer Light Brewing Company and Grey Sail Brewing of Rhode Island.

He is still figuring out the hours for Barley Head Brewery. According to its website, the hours will be updated weekly on Facebook and Instagram.

Rodgers first got into brewing when he was living in Harlem, after graduating from Vassar College. Marcail Riggs, his girlfriend at the time and now his wife, bought him a home-brew kit.

He moved back to Southeastern Connecticut in 2008 and got a job at Jonathan Edwards Winery, working both in the cellar and the vineyard. Rodgers then worked his way up from sales and bottling to become the head brewer at Cottrell Brewing Company in Pawcatuck, where he worked for seven or eight years.

"I've always wanted to start my own little brewery in Mystic," he said. "That's always been the goal, so eventually I took the plunge and renovated this basement space in Factory Square."

It had been a storage space and before that was the home of Mermaid's Cove Jewelers.

Rodgers began leasing the space about a year ago and got to work on the many needed renovations. He also got to work on naming his business, after realizing that out of the 5,000-plus breweries in the United States, many of the names he liked already were taken.

Rodgers said the chosen name is the scientific name for the "part of the barley plant that's useful, and it just seems like a good fit, and it had a nice ring to it."

e.moser@theday.com

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