Beer Study“It’s what everyone wants — a good beer. It’s what they drink.”

Opening in Dec. 2012, Beer Study, located just off Franklin St on North Graham in Chapel Hill, offers a diverse array of craft brew options sure to quench the thirst of even the most staunch connoisseurs.

Beer Study serves a dual role as bottle shop and bar. Featuring over 500 bottled beers and 12 drafts, this local joint seemingly has it all.

Recently, I had a chance to sit down and chat with JD Schlick, owner and founder of Beer Study. Schlick had previously worked at a bottle shop in Carrboro, but he always had bigger dreams.

“It’s something me and my other guy who works here always wanted to do. We decided there was a market here and no one had been doing this yet. So we just jumped on it,” Schlick said.

And Schlick isn’t the only one “jumping on it.” In fact, six brew stores have opened up in the area in the past year.
Schlick acknowledged the competition and gave his take on the future craft brew market.

“That is the unknown. I personally think there will be a bubble. And it will burst. We’ll just go from there and see how it goes.”

But for now, Beer Study is basking in the sunlight that is the craft brew scene, and Schlick believes his creation will be just fine for one simple reason.

“I just bring good beer in. People are always going to drink good beer. It doesn’t matter if there is more of it. They’re just going to be like if it’s good, I’m going to drink it.”

Cheers to that! This simple philosophy is refreshing to hear, and although simple, it really hits the nail on the head in the beer market. If it’s good, people will drink it.

Schlick also seems to have a firm grasp on what Beer Study stands for. When asked about his relationships with the other area breweries, Schlick said he viewed them more as family members rather than competitors. Keeping in communication with other local brew businesses, Schlick is thankful for a supportive environment. And he wants to keep it that way.

“The more people, the more beer is readily available for people. I think it’s just good for everyone to have more options,” Schlick said.

And speaking of options. Boy, does Beer Study have those. Find yourself overwhelmed by all of the choices? Don’t worry. The workers will ask you what beers you normally enjoy, and then they will match you up to a local brew that will be sure to electrify your tastebuds.

Some of the top beers featured in the shop include Old Hickory, NoDa, Pisgah, Foothills, Lonerider and Big Boss. But an assortment of quality beers isn’t the only thing Beer Study has going for it. Part of its allure is the quaint, homey feel of the establishment.

The interior is lined with shelves of the stars of the show themselves: beer bottles. The bar itself is nothing special, but does the job. Roughly between eight and ten customers can belly up to the bar at any given time.

The importance of familiarity for the customers is obvious in the fact that Beer Study has a grand total of two workers. And Schlick likes it that way. When asked what brings people back, Schlick responded:

“Hopefully the vibe. Hopefully, they like it — the people who work here and the fair prices.”

Schlick went on to emphasize the importance of building strong, genuine relationships with his customers. He wants to make it feel like home for the regulars.

Beer Study even featured its own resident mascot when I stopped in. A sharp-looking Cockapoo (fittingly named Stout) greeted me at the door. It felt like a home more than a bar at times, sans the countless bottles of beer lining the walls.

Another important aspect of Beer Study is its commitment to “staying local.” The vast majority of the shop’s beers are NC brewed. In addition, 10 of 12 beers on draft at the bar are always from the Tar Heel state. And this local connection isn’t by mere coincidence.

“We always want to support local as much as possible. The more we support local, the more the money stays in local communities,” Schlick explained.

So whether you’re looking for a new pit stop to sip a couple cold ones after work, really want to support local, or just want to stock up on some quality local beers to sample with your friends on the weekends, Beer Study is your spot. This hidden gem is worth checking out. You might just find the casual, laid-back atmosphere to your liking.