These may be the dog days of summer, but nobody’s feeling lethargic at Dr. Brewlittle’s Beer Company.

In fact, their enthusiasm is a bit like a puppy giddy with anticipation when you finally open the back door and tell him to go play.

After all, the owners of the Maple Shade craft brewery and their head brewer have had to wait six extra months to greet their first customers and tap their first brew.

Originally, the brewery had been set to open by St. Patrick’s Day, but the COVID-19 pandemic and a resulting slowdown in the state licensing process forced them to be patient.

As established breweries throughout the state were given the OK to offer curbside pickup and delivery and then outdoor seating, the Dr. Brewlittle crew waited for the green light to get their kegs flowing.

That day has finally arrived. On Friday, Dr. Brewlittle’s will greet the first beer lovers to the Main Street business.

During the intervening months, brewery staff added socially distanced outdoor seating behind the business and modified a Main Street takeout window to keep everyone safe as they celebrate their first weekend in business. And with Gov. Phil Murphy allowing indoor-dining to resume Friday with limited capacity, the brewery is excited to also allow guests inside the tasting room.

Dr. Brewlittle’s will become the downtown’s first microbrewery, joining Iron Hill Brewing Co., a brewpub, as the second brewery in the township.

Principal owner is Chris Torre of Shamong, owner of Mount Laurel Animal Hospital, the second largest veterinary hospital in the state, as well as Pennsauken Animal Hospital.

“I’ve always been passionate about craft beer,’’ Torre said earlier this year. “I wanted to diversify and do something a little bit different, and I really liked the idea of bringing people together in a social setting and having a vision of being able to use the brewery to leverage certain fundraisers and do good altogether.’’

Eventually, Torre and his three partners plan to host fundraisers, including for the animal hospital and other animal-friendly causes, as well as showers, birthday and anniversary parties.

Partner Jack O’Connell, a former veterinary technician and IT specialist with Mount Laurel Animal Hospital, serves as the brewery’s operating manager. Also partners in the brewery are brothers and real estate experts Matt and Jeff Baals, of the Baals Group, who discovered the Maple Shade location. (Matt lives in Tabernacle; Jeff lives in Haddon Heights.)

Dr. Brewlittle’s is housed in a former barbershop. The brick building houses a 1,500-square-foot ground floor tasting room, as well as smaller second-floor tasting room and private events space with a small deck. The brewhouse is located in a new pole barn behind the main building.

Josh Caputo of Philadelphia, a graduate of American Brewers Guild in Vermont, is the head brewer. Caputo came to Dr. Brewlittle’s from St. Benjamin’s Brewing Co. (now closed) and also worked for Duck-Rabbit in North Carolina. He’s brewing on a five-barrel system from Portland Kettleworks, with four fermenters and one brite tank. Four beers can ferment at a time, while other beers can age in barrels.

O’Connell, who lives in Mount Laurel, and Torre put a lot of time and effort into outfitting the tasting room with exposed brick, subway tiles, live-edge tables and Edison lighting.

The rest of the time, guests will be served outside in an extended seating area that provides plenty of room for social distancing, O’Connell said.

“Right behind our building is a public parking lot and a big row of hedges. We have seven spaces and 70 feet of space, and we’re going to build a nice pallet fence around it, put in some picnic tables and umbrellas and we’re going to serve fight from our driveway so people don’t have to walk up and down to get beers.’’

For now, with capacity requirements for social distancing, the outdoor space will seat about 45 customers at a time, and about 20 people inside.

But the team is not complaining.

“It’s been tough,’’ O’Connell said of the long wait for permission to open. “But I’m very fortunate that [Torre] has a lot of success in business and a lot of animal hospitals, so me and Josh have been able to stay employed through all of this. And we’ve been working, doing touch up work and coordination and such.’’

“This is going to be pretty good for us,’’ O’Connell continued, anticipating a busy opening weekend.

Guests can also bring beer home in new Dr. Brewlittle growlers or 32-ounce crowlers.

O'Connell says the brewery will open this weekend with four beers and plans to add more.

Want to be in an exclusive club? Get to Dr. Brewlittle’s in time to try some of the Monkey Business, a single keg batch of 7.5% banana bread stout. “It tastes like liquified banana bread,’’ said O’Connell, who plans to only serve it on the premises.

The brewery is also exploring the possibility of getting a transit permit so they can offer home delivery and will work toward getting Dr. Brewlittle's beer on tap at area restaurants and bars.

But for now, first-time guests will be greeted by a staff wearing gloves and masks, eager to talk beer.

O'Connell said the brewery wants to make guests leery about indoor seating feel comfortable.

"We are renting a tap trailer that is going to be refrigerated and we’ll build a picnic set up, and no one has to come inside. They can get a beer either through my front window, or out back," if they don't want to come inside, he said.

He said he’s been to other breweries in the area to see how they are handling the COVID-19 restrictions and outdoor set ups, and feel they are all taking the precautions very seriously.

After all, there is a doctor in the house.

An animal doctor eager to pour you a beer.

The brewery opens Friday, Sept. 4 at 2 p.m. After that, hours will be Thursdays and Fridays from 2-8 p.m.; Saturdays noon to 8 p.m.; Sundays noon to 6 p.m.

Tammy Paolino covers restaurants, breweries, food trucks and arts events for the USA TODAY New Jersey Network. She’s an award-winning reporter and editor who has covered the Garden State for more than 30 years. Reach her at tpaolino@gannett.com or 856-486-2477 or on Twitter @CP_TammyPaolino. Help support local journalism with a Courier-Post subscription.