In October, Denton welcomed the city's first microbrewery, Audacity Brew House, and now it's preparing for the launch of the city's first brewpub this summer.
[UPDATE Aug. 5 at 3:10 p.m.: Barley and Board will open to the public Wednesday, Aug. 12 for lunch and dinner. Hours and menu are listed at the bottom of this story.]
Barley and Board, as it's called, will inhabit a 5,000-square-foot space on the ground level of the Texas Building on the Denton Square, the combined former locations of Cafe Herrera and Subway. Crews have been hard at work doing something of a rehabilitation to the space to expose the original brick and refurbish the east wall of windows in hopes of hitting a July 20 open date.
Barley and Board is the brainchild of a group of entrepreneurs including John "Sparky" Pearson, Midlake guitarist and singer Eric Pulido, actor Jason Lee and Eric Hartman from Emo's in Austin, none of whom brew.
"I just drink," laughed Pulido during a recent tour.
So the crew is bringing in Derrick Rima, brewer at Four Corners Brewing Co. in Dallas, to head up all things beer at Barley and Board. (He'll remain at FoCo, too.) The restaurant will house a 10- to 20-gallon system, making it a nano- or small-batch brewery.
But Rima won't be the only one at the helm of the brew kettle -- Barely and Board plans to invite guest brewers and local home brewers to flex their muscles and test out recipes. Rima described it as a "brewers' jungle gym" and said he hopes to collaborate with local coffee shops and even the restaurant's kitchen to develop recipes.
It's part of the Barley and Board's mission to be a communal space for residents of Little D, said Pearson.
"The thinking is you have all these folks, they brew out of their houses, they're geniuses," he said. "We want to invite them to sit with us and tell what they like doing and what style they want to try."
Of the bar's 36 draft taps, one or two will be dedicated to house brews at any time. Barley and Board will also serve bottled beer, wine and a select menu of cocktails, in addition to root beer, ginger beer and lemonade.
The kitchen falls under the direction of executive chef Chad Kelley, formerly of Dallas establishments Cafe Pacific and Meddlesome Moth. Diners can expect a refined American gastropub menu, said Pulido, perhaps similar to the Moth, with a variety of shareable plates, charcuterie, entrees, desserts and seasonal plates.
Expect the vibe to be "classy comfy," Pearson said.
Barely and Board joins a recent wave of foodie-focused brewpubs to hit North Texas, including Small Brewpub and BrainDead Brewing in Dallas. It's also one of several new establishments taking root around the Square, which Pulido called the "heartbeat of Denton."
Pulido, which who partnered alongside Midlake to open Paschall Bar cocktail lounge, attested many of these businesses, such as West Oak Coffee Bar and Service Industry, are lifelong Dentonites' way of giving back to their community. Himself included.
"It's really cool because that's the most natural, organic way to invest back into the city and community you love and live in," Pulido said. "If there's a blank canvas we can put a painting to, why not?"
Barley and Board will be open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to midnight, Saturday 10 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.