When Tim Turner started homebrewing, he had three benchmarks he wanted to reach. The first goal was to simply brew beer that was drinkable. A few cracks at a Mr. Beer kit later, he was onto something. Then he wanted to open a craft beer bar, where he could sell his homebrewed creations, in addition to suds of local breweries. So, in 2018, Turner and three friends opened Huntsman Tavern off of Pyramid Way in Sparks. Turner’s last objective, his ale end-game, was what inspired him to experiment with grains, hops, yeast and water to begin with. “I started to homebrew to maybe, one day, open a brewery,” Turner said with a shrug. “That was kind of the goal.” He’s well on his way. Turner is in the midst of leading an overhaul of the Silver Peak Brewery and Restaurant at 124 Wonder St. in Reno’s midtown. Once finished, the brewpub will launch as Huntsman Brewing, which is on track to open in late August, according to Turner.
From left, Huntsman Brewing partners Brian Bosma, Tim Turner, Paul Bray and Nick Taylor stand behind the bar. Photo: Kaleb M. Roedel / NNBW
Turner said he and a group of friends are leasing the property from Silver Peak owners David Silverman and Trent Schmidt, who closed the brewpub in 2020 after operating for 21 years in Midtown. As for the Silver Peak location in downtown Reno, Silver and Schmidt sold those business assets in September 2019 to new owners who kept the name, a spokesperson with Silver Peak on The River told the NNBW. Meanwhile, at the Silver Peak spot in midtown, Turner said the Huntsman ownership group plans to purchase the building within two years. Until then, the Huntsman Brewing team has plenty to work on before they start pouring pints. In late July, they installed new draft lines and glycol cooling systems and were in the early stages of decorating the interior of the two-story brewpub, which includes a rooftop patio. ‘THE BEER IS BOSS’ Turner said Huntsman Brewing will have a rustic vibe, influenced by fantasy games and books like Dungeons and Dragons and The Lord of the Rings. “I’m a huge nerd,” Turner said with a smile. “Our theme, once we get everything decorated, is going to play into the fantasy element. A lot of our beer names are going to have fantasy influences.” Helming Huntsman’s production is brewmaster Nick Taylor, who will lead the creation of lagers, sours, ales, porters, stouts and more. Huntsman, Turner said, will focus heavily on specialty, barrel-aged beers — from milkshake IPAs to “heavily-fruited wheat beers” and everything in-between.
Huntsman brewmaster Nick Taylor stands near bright tanks as he talks about the brewery’s new draft lines. Photo: Kaleb M. Roedel / NNBW
In the process, Turner and Taylor said they won’t rush the production of their beers. After all, that’s why Huntsman Brewing’s slogan is “The beer is boss,” a statement Taylor made during his job interview with Turner. “As soon as he said that, I was like, ‘that’s our motto,’” Turner said. “We’re never going to push beer out that’s not ready. We’re going to make sure it’s done right every time.” Turner and Taylor estimate Huntsman Brewing, which houses a 10-barrel brewhouse and a total of 20 barrel fermenters, can produce up to 60,000 barrels of beer annually. “If everything should go to plan and distribution takes off and the brewpub takes off, we can increase that probably another 20,000 barrels a year,” Turner said. WHAT’S ON TAP? Huntsman Brewing will feature 20 taps, with about 15 of its own beers and the remaining taps rotating beers from other local brewers. Along with a wide selection of beverages, the brewpub will offer a full menu that includes wings, pizza, fish-and-chips, pork belly sliders, IPA beer-battered French fries and much more. And, in a nod to the brewery they’ve inhabited, the Silver Peak Black Bean Nachos will be on the menu. Huntsman’s inside dining has a capacity of 120 people, while its rooftop can seat 100 people, Turner said. He added that he expects Huntsman to create 25 to 30 jobs, noting that about half of the positions have already been filled, including head chef and sous chef. With the pandemic hitting the bar and restaurant industry perhaps harder than any other sector, Turner admitted it’s a “strange time” to be opening a new brewery and restaurant. Yet, he was encouraged by the fact that his Huntsman Tavern in Sparks stayed afloat in 2020 and has bounced back this year. Huntsman is also embracing the pandemic-driven acceleration of contactless payments. The brewpub uses a point-of-sale system called SpotOn that gives customers the option to scan the menu’s QR code and order online instead of waiting for a server to take their order. “We’re really hoping that once people are used to it, it will make a better experience for the customer,” Turner said. “For instance, we’re hoping that you could sit and immediately scan the QR code, put in your beer order, and within a minute or two, the first time your server’s coming over to see you, they’re bringing up your first round of beers.”