The Generator, where artistry and nevadabeer meet

nevadabeer tap

Jordan Needham, creator of the nevadabeer tap handles, takes a look at several Under the Rose Brewing Co. logos cut from the laser cutting machine.

nevadabeer release party tonight will feature specially made tap handles, community-inspired beer and special guest chefs

The Generator immediately overwhelms visitors with the smell of pine, metal, paint and burning leather. The huge warehouse buzzes with bohemian pride and creativity. Unisex bathrooms, Pappy’s Master Bait Shoppe, Burning Man art creations, a wood shop, a metal shop and a laser cutter are all free to use for anyone who signs the snarky waiver. The Generator’s few rules tell visitors not to be an asshole, pack it in, pack it out and put your name on any food in the fridge or the starving artists will eat it.

nevadabeer tap

A box of Truckee River nevadabeer tap handles ready to have new UTR logos burned into their leather Nevadas.

Here, Jordan Needham, industrial hygienist by day, artist on the weekend, made the Yelp’s On Tap (#yelpsontap) handles for the release of Under the Rose Brewing Company’s nevadabeer. The week-long event kicks off tonight at the Siena Hotel starting at 6 p.m. with a $5 or $10 suggested donation.

Nevadabeer started as a collaboration between Under the Rose, Yelp Reno and the rest of the community. Owner Scott Emond brewed the beer out of 2-row, Munich, wheat and caramel 120 malts then hopped it with citra and dry-hopped it with simcoe. Scott then created heavily concentrated “teas” out of sage, juniper and pine. It’s an aromatic amber ale representing some of the outdoor aspects of the state.

Jordan created three different types of handles for nevadabeer: stacked Truckee River rocks, stacked leather circles and stacked wood designed in the shape of Nevada. On Sunday, Jordan added Under the Rose logos to each handle using a laser at The Generator. He made several different versions of the logo by cutting and engraving UTR symbols into leather and wood. Jordan’s mother used to work at Tandy Leather on Kietzke so he favors leather as a working material.

“I always have to have a project or I feel like I’m going nuts,” Jordan said.

He learned to use the laser cutter on his own by watching hours of YouTube videos and playing with the software until it did what he wanted. Jordan said he’s not naturally inclined toward applications like Adobe Illustrator so it was a steep learning curve for him.

The laser whirred to life after multiple calibration passes on the irregularly shaped tap handles with their little leather Nevadas on top. Once the machine starts, it only takes a minute to burn the desired shape into the material. Engraving works much like an inkjet printer, speeding back and forth, burning millions of tiny dots into the material one line at a time. Cutting, however, looks like Goldfinger’s laser streaking toward 007, minus the tense music. Looking through the glass door, it’s difficult to tell what the laser will make once the wood lights up and the smoke starts billowing. But within a minute, the machine finishes its job and the tap handles look more complete.

Scott liked the designs so much he might ask Jordan to make enough to replace all the Under the Rose tap handles throughout the city, which could mean 50 or more new tap handles for Jordan to make. Depending which designs he duplicates, that could mean a lot more time spent at The Generator. Jordan said the Truckee River rocks required 45 minutes of drilling for each rock and two or three drill bits per tap handle while the others take less time on the laser. 

But for now, Jordan only needs to prep the first nine handles for the release of nevadabeer and Yelp’s On Tap events this week.

The following two tabs change content below.

Mike Higdon

Editor & Publisher at Drinkable Reno
Mike Higdon is a journalist passionate about beer and cocktails. He started the site because no one else covered Reno's growing craft scene at the level of detail required to stay in the know about all things drinkable in Reno.

2 thoughts on “The Generator, where artistry and nevadabeer meet

Comments are closed.