Southern Nevada’s first and only nomad brewer
By Bob Barnes | Las Vegas, NV
What do you do if the brewery at which you have worked your way up to as the director of brewing operations suddenly and permanently closes in the first months of the pandemic? If you’re Kyle Weniger, you become Southern Nevada’s first and only nomad brewer and create a one-man operation named Juxta Nomad.
The Beginnings of Juxta Nomad
If you’re not familiar with the term, a nomad brewer is one who doesn’t have a brewing facility of his or her own, but instead travels to functioning breweries to produce their own beer, which is exactly what Weniger has been doing since Joseph James, a production brewery in Henderson that had been open since 2008, shut its doors in April, 2020.
After first working at the brewery in packaging, then cellaring and pretty much every job in the brewery including assisting in the brewing process, he eventually was named director of brewing operations. As there were little job openings at the time of Joseph James’ closing due to the pandemic shutdowns, his only option to remain in the brewing business became following his family’s motto of “the only course is to always move forward” and do his own thing.
Weniger explained that the Juxta part of the name is short for juxtaposition, a word meaning to balance or contrast two things. In his case he is juxta-positioning two of beer’s main ingredients: hops and malt. As for the self-designed logo depicting a caution sign with a person on the move carrying a bag of possessions over his shoulder, he describes it as “a simple design that gets the message across.”
Creating Connections with Local Brewers
Forging his own path meant building on his connections with other local brewers and brewing collaboration beers at their various facilities, which so far has included Able Baker, Astronomy Aleworks, Bad Beat, Hop Nuts, HUDL, Lovelady, Scenic and Tenaya Creek. It also means he is free to flex his creative muscle and make beers using non-traditional ingredients, with some of his favorites being pastry ingredients such as his Big Baby B’s Barrel-aged German Chocolate Cake Stout (a collaboration with Able Baker) with coconut, cacao nibs and pecans; DBL BBL Raisin Bread (Astronomy collaboration), a bourbon barrel-aged Belgian dubbel with raisins, torched cinnamon sticks and brown sugar; and Scene Kids Sour Dessert IPA (Scenic collaboration) with toasted coconut, macadamia nuts and graham cracker.
While most Nomad brewers make only one-off beers, Weniger has proven his beers to be popular enough to entice several bars and restaurants to have him brew exclusive house beers to their specifications. Currently, there are six brews for seven establishments: Nueva Esperanza Mexican lager made with Vienna malt and maize for Servehzah; 365 Days of Beer, a light, easy-drinking brew for Tuscany Casino and its Pub 365; Pilau Talk, a Southeast Asian-inspired rice ale made with three types of rice for subtle flavor contributions for 595 Craft & Kitchen; Rollin’ Smoke Amber, a lightly smoked amber ale with layers of rich malt and caramel for Rick’s Rollin’ Smoke; Buxta Move Berliner, a lightly tart, classic Berliner weisse that is paired with a rotating flight of traditional fruit and herb syrups (just like they do in Germany) for Berlin Bar; and Bin Blonde, a crisp and clean citrus-forward malty blonde ale for Bin702 and 18Bin.
The Future of Juxta Nomad
Weniger has since been offered a head brewing position comparable to his former one at Joseph James, but said he likes what he is doing and plans to continue on this path for as long as possible, with his main goal to eventually have his own brewery and equipment (he currently has a 20 bbl fermenter and 20 bbl bright tank housed at Astronomy Aleworks). In the meantime, there is no shortage of brewpubs and craft beer bars pouring his unique creations, the likes of which you will find nowhere else on the planet.
For more information, visit Juxta Nomad’s website.