🎵 Over the horizon
She’s smooth sailin’
These concrete seas
Now she’s headed
East down the boule, the vard 🎵
Once a week, I — like the subject of Leon Bridges’ “Smooth Sailing” — hit the concrete seas of South Austin, headed east on Ben White Blvd., en route to Nomadic Beerworks. One of the newest taprooms to grace the Austin, TX craft beer scene, Nomadic founders Bryce and Dan have set out to create something a little different, a little more relaxed than the standard urban brewery. They’ve set up shop close to South Congress and Ben White, in an area that’s fast becoming a destination for beer lovers (St. Elmo, Skull Mechanix, Orf, and 512 are all in the vicinity) and remote workers (Cosmic Coffee and Spokesman are awesome spots nearby.) The brothers have, intentionally or not, built a space that supports both the craft beer and remote worker audiences in perfect harmony. And they have quite literally built the space, by hand; from the poured-concrete bar top, to the booths, to the stained wood elements throughout the taproom. Dan runs the business side of things, including the branding and taproom, while Bryce runs the brewing operation. Their complementary skillsets have produced a cohesive, polished experience in a very short span of time since they opened in May 2019
In my opinion, playlist selection can usually tell you a lot about a brewery, as was the case when I first visited Nomadic Beerworks in June 2019 and was welcomed in by the aforementioned Leon Bridges track. It set the tone for a very chill afternoon in the taproom. A couple like-minded patrons had their laptops out, others were just taking a break from the Texas summer sun while running errands. Around 4:00, the happy hour crowd starts to roll through, but the vibe was friendly throughout my visit and not at all disruptive if you needed to get some work done.
As mentioned earlier, Dan and Bryce custom-built almost everything in the taproom, and that pride of ownership shows everywhere you look. It just feels like a cool place to hang out as soon as you walk in; it’s a minimalist aesthetic elevated by homey touches like throw pillows and floral arrangements. From a workspace perspective, you have your pick of the bar top, counter-height tables, bistro tables, booths, or a bench by the entrance. The only limiting factor for you will be the availability of outlets…I could only locate 2, which isn’t ideal if you need to juice up your laptop or phone. On the connectivity side, the Wi-Fi is more than ample at 38mbps down and 14mbps up.
Did you notice that Nomadic opens at 7:30AM on weekdays? Too early for an IPA, but certainly not for a coffee and pastry. The brothers have positioned their business as a brewpub AND coffee shop, which further indicates their desire to serve more than just the beer community. Whether you’re posting up in the taproom, or just stopping for some caffeine and a morning snack to go, Nomadic offers 3 pour-over options, nitro cold brew, and fresh-daily pastries. I’ll personally vouch for the cold brew (from local roaster Little City) and the cream empanadas…good choices for the AM menu. On Fridays, the excellent on-site food truck Kimchi Jon’s opens up for lunch at 12:00PM for a more substantial afternoon food option.
The afternoon is also a much more appropriate time to enjoy a beer. Austin’s beer scene is among the most collaborative I’ve seen, with newcomers eagerly welcomed to the fold by the OG brewers that have put Austin on the craft beer map nationally. Since moving here in 2010, the variety and quality of diverse styles available has blossomed, and that has to be (at least in part) attributed to a constant flow of best-practice sharing across breweries and brew-pubs in the area. Nomadic was established with mindset of collaboration > competition. That mindset frees head brewer Bryce from having to brew beers to meet a perceived quota, or to check the boxes on trendy styles. To paraphrase Dan, Nomadic is brewing beers that they want to brew because they sound fun.
Sunrise Getdown is a great example of the Nomadic brewing approach. They’re not going to commit to lagers just yet, as they take longer to produce, but also don’t feel any pressure to replicate what other local brewers have just about perfected. Instead, beers like Sunrise Getdown (a kolsch ale) fill the gap nicely. It’s the perfect summertime beer; it’s light grain bill and low hop volume make for a refreshing, endlessly drinkable brew.
Nomadic Beerworks also has its IPA bases covered. Peak Season and South Swell will take you on a journey to the East and West coasts, respectively. On the one hand, Peak Season is a hazy juice bomb, but with a crisp, fresh-squeezed agua fresca flavor profile. South Swell, meanwhile, is a more clarified, resinous IPA. Both exceeded my expectations for a brewery so new.
Not all breweries have designed their taprooms with remote workers in consideration. In fact, some express outright distaste for people setting up a laptop instead of socializing with their fellow beer fans. Nomadic Beerworks is a refreshing addition to the Austin beer scene, as few breweries have created an experience so accommodating to remote workers as they have. From the earlier opening hours and coffee offerings, to the welcoming décor and digital nomad-friendly work spaces, Bryce and Dan have built a taproom that should quickly rise to the top of the Austin craft beer scene. For my part, I’ll continue to tell everyone that will listen that this is an exemplary blending of Working Remotely and Drinking Locally.
If Nomadic continues to crank out quality beer, and encourages the community to use their beautiful taproom for work and play, becoming a bona fide Austin institution should be smooth sailing.