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Pigeon Head Brewery celebrates 10 years in business

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Pigeon Head Brewery on Fifth Street celebrated 10 years in business with a party and grand opening of its new beer garden on May 11. 

“It took me a couple years to get permits for it,” said Bryan Holloway, co-owner and head brewer, about the outdoor expansion. Now, however, the space underneath the Wells Avenue overpass offers a shady spot to play cornhole, drink beer and hold events.

While the fenced-in beer garden, which expands the brewery’s outdoor seating (and is connected to the existing front patio), was perhaps the largest physical expansion Pigeon Head has undergone at its Fifth Street location, it’s not the only change the brewery has endured in its decade of serving the Reno community. 

Holloway also mentioned several expansions that took their previous two fermentation tanks to 20. 

Brew tanks
Image courtesy of Pigeon Head Brewery and used with permission.

“It hasn’t all come at the same time,” he said, acknowledging three or four enhancements over the years. But he’s been there for all of it.

Holloway took over ownership of Pigeon Head in 2017, but he’s been the head brewer since it opened in 2014. When he bought Pigeon Head from its previous owners, Peter Crooks also bought into it. Holloway is more of the figurehead of the business.

While the space itself is worthy of much praise – and available to rent out – the most important aspect of Pigeon Head is, indeed, its beer. A flagship pilsner has been on the menu since they opened, and while Holloway admits to minor tweaks here and there, it’s largely the same. 

If you’re only slightly familiar with Pigeon Head, it’s likely this is the beer you’ve tasted as its distributed throughout Nevada and the California side of Lake Tahoe into Sacramento.

“I personally drink pilsner,” Holloway said. “I’m a light beer drinker.”

Despite his personal preferences, Holloway’s other passion is to dabble in market trends, so while Pigeon Head is primarily known for its pilsners and other light ales, they now offer several IPAs, including a hazy and a West Coast style. Seasonally, you’ll see an Octoberfest in the fall and dark beers over winter. 

“This area, in general, has changed a lot in 10 years,” Holloway said, referencing the Brewery District and the Fourth Street area, which is undergoing a period of gentrification. More businesses have opened, and the space itself has cleaned up. 

Holloway said it’s one of the reasons Pigeon Head wanted to add the beer garden.

“We’re trying to build a nice sense of community down here… and make this area a desirable place to come visit,” he said. “We’re going to keep brewing to the best of our ability over here… we’re super involved in the community.”

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Nora Tarte
Nora Tarte
Nora Heston Tarte is a long-time Reno resident living on the southside of town. In addition to food, her hobbies include wine, hiking, yoga and travel. She is also the managing editor of a regional, lifestyle publication and freelances for other publications most frequently in the travel space. Nora received her bachelor's in Journalism from California State University, Sacramento before graduating from University of Nebraska, Lincoln with a master’s in Professional Journalism. You can follow her travel adventures, and local exploits, on her Instagram account @wanderlust_n_wine.

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