Double Groove Brewing, the newest brewery in Harford County, has generated a significant amount of interest and support during its first week in business, as patrons are drawn by its fusion of craft beer and the owners’ passion for music.
Double Groove, which gets its name from the rare records that have two rather than the typical single spiral groove, is owned by business partners and friends Mark and Lisa Moody, of Bel Air, and Craig and Donna Willig, of Fallston. The official opening for the Forest Hill business happened Jan. 22, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 23.
The owners have received positive feedback since then, as patrons visit the taproom and compliment each beer, and there have been “many returning customers that seem to be regulars,” Lisa Moody said Wednesday.
People can purchase glasses of beer in the taproom — growlers also are available — and they can socialize while checking out shelves of records and making requests to have them played on an in-house turntable. One wall is decorated with a slew of albums released by popular music artists and bands such as Prince, Queen, Bon Jovi, AC/DC, Van Halen and Guns N’ Roses.
The taproom also is decorated with works by local artists, such as a mural by Baltimore-area painter Marshall Adams, which covers most of the second side wall and has a beer/music theme.
Six beers were on tap for a packed house the evening of Friday, Jan. 24. Their names are plays on song titles, such as the “Walking on Sunshine” Golden Belgian Ale, a Milk Stout called "Sweet Stout O’ Mine and the “Gimme 3 Hops” Double IPA.
Jim Borzatti, who grew up in the Bel Air area and now lives in Chester County, Pennsylvania, visited with his father, John Borzatti, of Forest Hill. Jim said the stout was his favorite of the beers he tried Friday.
“It gets high ratings from me, and I drink stouts all over the place,” said Jim, who noted he visits the many small breweries in his area.
He said the Double Groove stout has “a nice sweetness, and it has a nice roasted flavor to it, almost like a coffee stout.” He also said the brewery has “a great theme,” combining music with beer, and described the taproom as “cozy.”
“It’s just a nice atmosphere here,” added John Borzatti, who said he sampled the stout and Irish Red but does not have a favorite.
The 91-year-old said he grew up working with his father, a beer delivery truck driver, and recalled “when bar rooms were very simple,” with spittoons where patrons could spit the juice from their chewing tobacco.
There are no spittoons in Double Groove’s brightly-lit taproom, with its walls painted yellow, but it was filled with people and good cheer last Friday evening.
“It looks like a very popular place to have a drink,” John Borzatti observed.
All four business owners hustled back and forth, taking orders from patrons, drawing beer from the taps, giving tours of the brewery in the rear, and in Craig Willig’s case, handling music requests and spinning records on the turntable.
“It’s a long time coming, and I’m glad to see my husband doing something he loves,” Donna Willig said between filling patrons’ glasses.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s a great atmosphere,” she said. “You meet people and make new friends.”
Willig, who works for the McCormick spice company in Hunt Valley, said Craig plans to retire from his job in the medical field in June. She praised how she and her husband worked with the Moodys in a “collaborative effort” to conduct research and develop their brewery.
“To finally see it come to reality is a thrill for all of us,” she said.
Mark Moody works at the brewery full time as the head brewer. His wife, Lisa, serves as finance director for the Town of Bel Air. Both were on hand last Friday, interacting with patrons, filling orders and giving brewery tours.
Laura Mills, who said she is a cousin of Lisa Moody, traveled from her home in Cleveland to make a surprise visit last week to support the brewery opening.
“I love the concept,” Mills said while in the brewery. “I love that they have the records that you can pick and play a song.”
Mills said she is “not a huge fan of beer,” but she did enjoy the lighter Blonde Ale, called “Atomic Blonde.” She also praised the taproom artwork and albums on display.
“It’s awesome, just awesome,” she said.
Street resident Debbie Rondo looked through a collection of albums on shelves near the bar. She picked out a copy of Bob Dylan’s 1975 record “Blood on the Tracks.” Rondo, who visited with her husband, Tony, recalled seeing Dylan live in the 1970s.
Rondo also praised other finds in the record collection, albums by rock and pop artists such as Bad Company, J. Geils Band and Dan Fogelberg.
“I thought he was an amazing guy that wrote the most amazing music,” Rondo said of Fogelberg, a soft-rock singer/songwriter who was popular in the 1970s and ’80s and died in 2007.
She praised the atmosphere of Double Groove, lauded how the owners have incorporated music into the setting and noted the crowded taproom just a few days after opening. “I think they’ve done really well here,” Rondo said.
Lisa Moody thanked the community for their support. She said the owners plan to promote the proximity of the brewery, which is on Robin Circle off of Granary Road, to the popular Ma & Pa Heritage Trail.
The owners also plan to have more beers on tap and get patrons involved with music-themed events, according to Moody.
“We want the brewery to be a place where people can come and enjoy great beer, listen to great music, and enjoy the company of friends/family,” she stated. “As the back of our coaster states — ‘Chill, Taste and Listen.’”