New brewpub created by unlikely trio opens with eclectic vibe in warm space

Published 7:23 pm Friday, November 30, 2018

The concept of a new brewpub opening its doors downtown this weekend was an easy one, says co-owner Morgan Bird — creating an inviting, eclectic space for people from all walks of life. After getting friends Craig Butler and Brian Reynolds on board in February, Gypsy Run Brewery was born.

Just above the Dabberhashery and next to the Frame Cellar on North Fourth, climbing the black metal stairs gives a downtown city vibe, then the uniqueness of the space hits you inside. The guys sit around the handmade red oak bar top with aluminum siding below, and some original artwork on the wall by artist Molly Selby; she also created the logo on the door and street outside.

Photo by Bobbie Curd/
Craig Butler, from left, Morgan Bird and Brian Reynolds stand at the handmade, red oak bar top at Gypsy Run Brewery, which opens this weekend.

As the former bartender for Beer Engine, Bird became fast friends with Butler and Reynolds. His new business partners enjoyed it there because they are beer lovers.

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“But not everyone is,” Reynolds says, whose day gig is helping people with 401(k) investments at Wealth South, a division of Farmers National Bank. Although he likes taking in a craft beer now and then, his wife — not so much. So Gypsy Run will offer wines and eventually local bourbon.

With 14 taps, the beer board offers a good selection; they’re sold for $5-$7 a pint, plus flights, growlers and a small selection of eats, like salsa, beer cheese, soup, chips and pickled eggs to help drinkers not get too tipsy. Bird created more than 30 craft recipes but will open with two original beers — Gypsy on da Road, an English IPA, and I’m Four, an Irish stout, adding more of their own as they go along. They’ll probably keep two ciders on tap.

The space was Butler’s old CPA firm, before he merged with Kerbaugh & Rhodes. There’s an open front room with a few tables, and a long hallway (they call it “the run”), a game room with multi-colored walls and a lounge room in the back with cozy characteristics overlooking what will become the courtyard this spring.

Bird said he had no specific design vibe in mind; it all came together pretty organically, much like the whole venture. Yeah, the rooms are all different, Bird says — much like what you find inside of a family home.

“I still can’t believe I’ve spent the last 10 months or so doing this,” Bird says, his eyes widening. A few years back, he was laid up after a bad car accident on an icy road that required follow-up surgeries and extended rehab. He saw a side of Danville that fed his soul — people offering help, support and concern who he hadn’t even known that long.

In turn, he wants to offer that warmth back. Gypsy is a place everyone should feel comfortable hanging out, he says.

Butler jumped at the opportunity; Bird has the passion to brew, he says, and it helps that everyone likes him. “He’s a hard worker and a people person. He’s the face, and we want him to be. We even like that damn crazy hat he wears.” He said he will pitch in wherever Bird needs him; with 30 years and counting in the CPA game and grown children, he sees it as something new to bite into.

Reynolds says Bird has his finger on the pulse of what people like, want and expect. “I think our beer board will show that.”

Bird says it’s been eye opening. From the time the dream first entered his mind, to initial conversations and realizing “that others saw my capability differently than I did. It all started then.”

“I’ve been a lifelong W2 employee,” Reynolds says. “I haven’t done anything like this. I wouldn’t have done it, if Morgan wasn’t involved. We saw what he could do … knew he had a following. He has a vibe about him.” He says he’s fine with being the behind-the-scenes guy.

For now, Gypsy will be open seven days a week with Bird as frontman. Around the corner will be comedy nights, live music, poetry readings and “a soapbox night, where you get three minutes to talk about anything at all you want to,” Bird says, a way to encourage the community to share its voice.