Two brothers who backpacked together in college and took their mom's minivan on a cross-country road trip in their early 20s have embarked on a new adventure together — one that will have them staying put in South Austin.
The name of the brewery that Dan and Bryce Tyranski founded together hints at their mutual love of travel. Off South Congress Avenue, Nomadic Beerworks celebrates its grand opening June 22 with a party featuring new beer releases, funk records on vinyl and plenty of bites from on-site food truck Kimchi Jon's.
If the Saturday celebration is anything like the first day Nomadic soft-opened, when there was a line out the door for hours, it'll be an exhilarating end to the 2 1/2 years of planning and construction that went into the brewery. But the brothers certainly don't need the crowds to feel like they've taken the right fork in the road.
Both brothers left jobs in California — Bryce at a brewery in San Francisco, Dan at a tech company in San Diego — to move to Austin for Nomadic. It's a perfect fit because they can apply their own skill sets and passions to run the brewery. Bryce, as head brewer, makes the beer, and Dan, with his design and marketing background, sells it. He came up with Nomadic's branding and the taproom's warm, airy layout and decor, much of it made with reclaimed materials.
Most importantly, the Tyranskis can be their own bosses and explore their creative sides while offering a welcoming gathering space similar to some of the places they've seen both locally and on their travels.
"This is exactly what we want to be: a small neighborhood brewpub," Dan said. "You have your regulars, you get to know everybody, and the beer helps to strike up a conversation with the person next to you. 'Hey, did you try this?' 'Have you had this style before?'"
For the most part, the beers at Nomadic will rotate regularly so that customers coming into the brewery can try something new each time. Two that have already proven popular — the Sunrise Getdown, a fruity kolsch-style blonde ale, and Peak Season, a juicy tropical IPA — might stick around, but on the whole, Bryce plans to see what the seven-barrel brewhouse, visible from a window at one end of the taproom, can do with a range of beers.
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Each one is named after the brothers' adventures around the world. The Floating Market, a pineapple basil saison, nods to Thailand's popular markets on the water, where vendors sell their wares by boat. Split to Hvar, a hybrid red ale that has proven to be a sleeper hit, is a reminder of a scary train ride the brothers took on their way to the Croatian island of Hvar in the Adriatic Sea and the amazing, malty red ale they had afterward.
One beer also pays tribute to the state they've left behind. In California, where Bryce worked for both Fort Point Beer Co. and 21st Amendment Brewery (a recent arrival to the Texas market), surfers seek south swells, or waves that form in the Southern hemisphere and make for ideal surfing conditions farther north. The South Swell, thus, is a crisply bitter West Coast IPA.
Like many professional brewers, Bryce got his start as a home brewer, but he freely admits that he didn't become good at brewing until he started training at commercial facilities like 21st Amendment. "That's when things all clicked," he said.
By the time he and Dan had come up with a business plan for Nomadic, Bryce had figured out what it would take to be in charge of running a brewery, all the parts big and small he would need and where to get them. It turns out that the planning part of opening a brewery required a lot of traveling, too.
"We kind of bootstrapped this thing," Dan said. "We were flying all over the country buying used equipment and then driving it back in liftgate U-Hauls. Our chiller is from Fort Collins, Colorado. Our cold box from Pensacola, Florida. At our roots, we've been very nomadic, even in the startup phase. It was about maintaining that creative control, making sure we did this in the way that we wanted."
What also came used? Much of the decor in the taproom. And Dan wouldn't have had it any other way — one thing he's noticed in the countries he's been to, including this one, is what can happen when resources are strained or used up.
"A lot of the materials inside of our taproom build-out are reclaimed materials, down to the light fixtures back there that I built out of old box springs and pallet wood," he said. "The booths over here are reclaimed wood and hardware from a controlled demolition in here. We tried to salvage as much of the existing materials as we could. Those booths are 100 percent reclaimed materials, which is really neat."
Plus, he said, the bar facade was built from a cedar fence that was being torn down in South Austin, and the restroom stalls were built from shiplap that had been in a house about to be demolished in North Austin.
The brothers' plan, for now, is to sell their beers exclusively at the brewery at 3804 Woodbury Drive, Suite A. Eventually, once they figure out demand, Nomadic beers might also be found at select local bars like Craft Pride. The Tyranskis will continue to produce beers inspired by their adventures around the world — even if, at the moment, they're rooted to their fledgling business.
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"We love travel just a little bit less than we love beer, so hopefully these passions will support each other and we'll go to new places to get more inspiration to make new stuff," Dan said. "That's the goal. That's the pie-in-the-sky dream."
Bryce added: "Not that we're going anywhere now. The irony of naming our brewery Nomadic and wanting to travel is that since starting this, we haven't traveled in two years."