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Woodstock native pours it all into bar

Published: Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT
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(Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com)
Bryson Calvin, owner of Main Street PourHouse, poses for a portrait at his Woodstock bar.
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(Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com)
Bryson Calvin (left), owner of Main Street PourHouse, talks with Amy Nero of Woodstock at his Woodstock bar and restaurant.
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(Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com)
Bartender Josh Lewellyn pours a beer while working at Main Street PourHouse in Woodstock.
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(Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com)
Main Street PourHouse in Woodstock opened in May and offers more than 50 beers from international breweries to micro-breweries.

WOODSTOCK – Randy Oehlerking of Woodstock perched on a stool at the polished wooden bar at Main Street PourHouse on a recent late afternoon, enjoying a draft beer with a friend.

Oehlerking, 30, said he’s a fan of the PourHouse, one of Woodstock’s newest businesses, which opened this spring in the former Odd Fellow’s at the Waverly space at 214 Main St.

“There are great people. They have great food, good drinks and a good atmosphere,” Oehlerking said. “I think it’s one of the best places in town to come and enjoy yourself.”

That’s music to the ears of PourHouse owner Bryson Calvin, a Woodstock native who opened the establishment May 2 after a whirlwind four weeks of refinishing the wooden floors and the bar, repainting walls, adding seating, and redoing the bathrooms. Family, friends and staff members stepped up to make it all happen smoothly and quickly, he said. 

The PourHouse features about 50 beers, from international fare to microbrews. 

“Craft brews are a booming business right now,” Calvin said.

“We do seasonal beers. I try to keep an (India Pale Ale) on there, a domestic, a wheat or a porter.”

Mason jar cocktails add to the offerings unique to the PourHouse, which also has a menu chockfull of burgers, sandwiches, pasta, flatbreads and more – with no meal selection exceeding $15. 

Calvin, 29, has a bachelor of science in psychology with a concentration in outdoor recreation from Indiana University at Bloomington. In addition to his new business venture, he’s an area bartending veteran of eight years and works full time as a ranger for the McHenry County Conservation District.

Calvin said he has poured his savings into opening the PourHouse, with a modicum of assistance from family. Family members also played a key role in developing one of PourHouse’s signature offerings – the Calvin Club.

It’s a mason jar cocktail with “a recipe that started in the Boundary Waters with my grandpa and my dad and my aunt.”

The sweet concoction melding Jim Beam, cherry and peach liqueurs and lemonade was born during a canoeing trip in northern Minnesota, Calvin said.

“It’s really tasty,” he said.

Mason jar cocktails go for $7, while beer specials start at about $2. 

Among the 14 staff members Calvin is employing at PourHouse is his girlfriend, Tymalyn Dooner, who is sales and events manager.

Dooner is credited with coming up with the list of possible business names from which the PourHouse emerged as the favorite.

“We wanted to do something interconnecting the beer selection with the menu,” she said of the place’s double entendre title. “We have over 50 different types of beer … and we have menu items such as the bargain burger, the nickel and dime, and the cheapskate.”

Calvin said that in addition to a great drink selection and affordable menu choices, the PourHouse features frequent live entertainment. 

“We want to give people a place to enjoy,” he said. “We’re starting fairly small, but hopefully this becomes a big thing.”

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Main Street PourHouseWhere: 214 Main St., WoodstockHours: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. SundaysFeaturing: Dozens of beer choices, including microbrews, international fare; mason jar cocktails; variety of chicken, beef and Portobello mushroom burgers, plus flatbreads, classic American and Italian entrees. Nothing on menu over $15.Season specials: Bears ticket giveaways each Monday in September; jersey giveaways during Bears games throughout the season.Information: Online at www.mainstpourhouse.com, or call 815-527-7210

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