Powell's second brewery opens this weekend, aiming to turn even beer amateurs into craft-brew enthusiasts.
Nocterra Brewing is set to open its doors at noon Saturday, Feb. 2, at 41 Depot St. in downtown Powell.
The brewery is the brainchild of brewers Bryan Duncan and Bruce Vivian. Before the brewery, Duncan had worked as an ICU and paramedic flight nurse, and Vivian had been a mechanic specializing in Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
The pair had met at home-brewing competitions and decided they wanted to open their own craft brewery.
Since that vision, they've added former CNN producer James Knott and Bryan's wife, Lori, to the leadership group and installed Dustin Cordray as the taproom manager.
The group has been working on the project since 2017, and the two brewers finally made the leap to full-time work in late 2018.
"We were both doing this and working full time," Bryan Duncan said. "We were about to explode."
"But once it was time to make beer, we just knew we had to be here," Vivian said.
After a long year of work, Nocterra's space finally is complete. The former train-depot building is more than 100 years old, Knott said, and had been through a fire in 2014 that necessitated renovation of the entire interior.
The space has turned into a building that feels like a ski lodge, with high ceilings, wood finishing and a few nods to its depot heritage, such as pieces of railroad track serving as footrests.
In front of the building, a quarter-acre patio area that will "easily double" the 99-person indoor capacity is in the works but is paused for the winter, Knott said.
In that area, several rows of picnic tables and a pair of fire pits promise to be a popular attraction in the summer, with service from a food truck in the back.
"We wanted it to just be a chill place to hang out," Knott said.
But back inside, Nocterra's beer is the focal point.
Ten beers will be on tap for the opening, and the brewers eventually expect to fill 22 taps -- mostly with beer, but also with their own brewed craft sodas.
The pair are aiming for beers that "have a real drinkability," Vivian said, but that remain creative and interesting.
"There's kind of a no-limits, no-rules approach," Bryan Duncan said. "It's not brewed to a price point. That's one of the things we really wanted to make sure we didn't do. There's so much beer out there -- why limit yourself?"
In the brewing process, the two brewers have found their perfect fits.
Vivian takes the lead in maintaining the equipment and following the precise measurement processes that are required to make the beer.
"Brewing is such a mechanically oriented process," he said.
Bryan Duncan is in charge of working with the brewery's yeast cultures, guiding fermentation and the other more chemically oriented portions of the brewing.
"He tends to our patients," Vivian said with a laugh.
The results, the leadership group unanimously agreed, are why they believe the brewery will work.
Knott said he was looking for a new project while running a beer blog. When he tasted the first Nocterra beer he was given, he was sold.
"I thought, 'This is really good beer,' " he said. "The beer really won me over."
From brewing lagers -- a lengthier process than ales -- to a series of sours, a quarterly tree-inspired beer and heavy, high-ABV offerings, plans include a lot of experimentation and variety.
On the way, they'd like the brewery to become a place where anyone in Powell can feel comfortable.
"We really want to be a big part of the Powell community," Lori Duncan said.
Nocterra is Powell's second brewery, following Ill Mannered Brewing Co., which opened in 2015 and moved last year to a larger space nearby on Grace Drive.
Lewis Center also saw its first brewery -- Olentangy River Brewing on Green Meadows Drive South -- open last year.
For more information, visit nocterrabrewing.com or find Nocterra on social media.