New event space, parties, product line, and menu at The Depot.
Written by Annie Flanzraich
Photos courtesy of The Depot Craft Brewery Distillery
Hold on to your hats (feathered or not). The Depot Craft Brewery Distillery in Reno is racing into its fifth year with singular parties, a new event space, and a way to bring the flavors of its kitchen, distillery, and brewery home.
Fête by fête
The Depot’s parties celebrating Derby Day, Oktoberfest, and New Year’s Eve always have been a bit extra — in the best of ways. Now that the Fourth Street restaurant, craft brewery, and distillery has a new 9,000-square-foot event space (more on that in a bit), expect those shindigs to be even more extra.
On May 4, The Depot will host the 5th Annual Derby in that new event space — also known as Rick House. Tickets to the event, which are $35 and must be purchased in advance (get them here), include unlimited mimosas, Ranch Hand American Ale, mint juleps, hot brown sandwiches, and more. Fellow Fourth Street neighbor Nevada Sunset Winery will offer a private tasting of some of its wines at the event, says Brandon Wright, The Depot’s co-founder, brewmaster, and distiller.
Attendees will be able to watch the “most exciting three minutes in sports,” as Wright calls it, thanks to 16-foot video projection on one of the interior walls. For the other four hours and 57 minutes of the event, participants can peruse wares from local vendors, such as the Biggest Little Fashion Truck. Derby wear is encouraged, so, sport that seersucker. In need of a hat? Wright suggests participating in a Derby Day hat making class The Nest will host on May 1 in preparation for the event.
“It’s a good day to get out, enjoy the weather, and watch the race, and it’s a great excuse to day drink,” Wright says, adding, “But please, drink responsibly.”
The Depot has other events on tap for the year, including a new block party called Art On 4th that will take place during Artown on July 18. Presented by the Brewery District, of which The Depot is a part, the event will include a walking tour, live art, beer, food, music, and more. The Depot will be serving ballpark fare before the Reno Aces play the El Paso Chihuahuas at nearby Greater Nevada Field that night.
“Come have a dog and eat a beer with us and check out our longstanding neighbors or one of our cool new friends on the block,” Wright says.
As we move into fall and winter, The Depot also has plans for an Oktoberfest event and, of course, its annual New Year’s Eve affair.
“We like to party,” Wright says. “That’s why we’re in this business. We enjoy throwing these big events, and they’re just as much fun for us as they are for everybody else.”
Space to socialize
The Depot’s new event space — located to the west of its flagship, historic, three-story brick building — opened in December. It houses slumbering, 23-gallon barrels of whiskey and can accommodate about 200 revelers, yogis, or corporate warriors.
“We had people inquire as we were giving tours of the facility if they could have their retirement party or gathering, business lunch, whatever it may be,” says Nick Strowmatt, executive chef and general manager. “And we made it happen.”
The space’s two separate areas allow for multiple configurations or event opportunities, including corporate events, private whiskey tastings, yoga classes, and wedding receptions.
“It allows us to be super flexible and really create a unique experience every time we do one of those banquets,” Strowmatt says. “We can really tailor it to what the guest wants, and I think that we’re able to do that in a way that nobody else does.”
Inside, the space’s unadorned walls, high rafters dotted with bistro lights, and muted color palette make it a space that’s easy to transform with decor.
“It’s kind of a blank slate,” Strowmatt says. “We can do whatever we want in there.”
Provisions for all
Also implemented, in part due to popular demand, is Depot Provisions, a product line that allows gourmands to bring the restaurant’s artisanal flavors to their own kitchens.
“Our mission from day one has been to try and make as many things as we can, both to control the quality and the process,” Wright says. “For example, we wanted a house bloody mary mix that would complement our spirits, particularly our vodka.”
Now, The Depot Craft Provisions’ Bold and Spicy Bloody Mary Mix is available on its own for $8 or paired with The Depot’s East Slope Vodka for $40. Find it at The Depot and other local retailers such as Raley’s.
Wright and Strowmatt also are collaborating with Hub Coffee Roasters to release barrel-aged beans.
“It’s kind of a perfect fit,” Wright says. “As our barrels run their course and reach the end of their lives for whiskey, we use them for aging coffee. Then, the Hub takes the beans and roasts them.”
Hub Coffee Roasters in Reno uses bourbon barrels from The Depot to age coffee beans before roasting them
The coffee beans are honey-processed and sourced from Colombia’s Finca Santa Elena. Then they’re left unroasted to age in barrels, which formerly housed The Depot’s award-winning Biggest Little Bourbon. Beans aged in The Depot’s Rye Whiskey barrels are coming this summer.
“We’re really looking forward to that,” Wright says. “We use chocolate malted rye in our whiskey, and it brings this awesome kind of bittersweet chocolate note into the spirit, and it should impart that in the coffee as well.”
The rye-rested coffee should be available at The Depot and Hub locations in the next six to eight weeks, he says.
The Depot’s popular Viking Blonde Barleywine is aged in Bourbon barrels
Canned, not bottled
Beginning this summer, The Depot will be offering canned versions of its beers for the first time, thanks to a new 35-foot-long canning system. The line outputs 65 cans per minute, which allows The Depot to can 900 gallons of beer in about six hours.
“We’ve been bottling some of our specialty ales and lagers since we opened, but because of the nature of the way we do it, and the scale at which we do it, it prohibits us from putting out some of our more seasonal beers,” Wright says. “We’re really looking forward to getting out into the market with new varieties and our IPA.”
The facility also will produce Battle Born Beer, Wright says. “We’ve been working with the owners in the Battle Born brand for about two years.”
Warmer weather also will bring new items to The Depot’s menu — but don’t worry, the shishito peppers, mac and cheese bites, and burgers aren’t going anywhere.
“We’re going to start a rotating special,” Strowmatt says. “We’ll have six entrées that’ll change week to week and allow the chefs to play and get some new and exciting flavors out there.”
The rotating items will be inspired by seasonal ingredients that are locally sourced whenever possible, keeping the menu fresh.
“We’re going to take a little bit more license with our creativity and move in that direction,” Strowmatt says.
Annie Flanzraich is a freelance writer and editor whose birthday is July 18. So she knows where she’ll be celebrating.