Co-founders Ryan Van Biene and Tyler Norwood have known each other since 1997. They maintained a friendship from grade school to undergrad, and after Norwood began his studies in business school at The University of Texas, he met co-founder Ned Lavelle.
As they entered the restaurant industry, Norwood and Levelle had a creative itch to make something of their own. Van Biene was already familiar with Pizza Port in San Diego, a brewpub similar but not quite the same as Pinthouse Pizza, and shared the concept with them.
“We used it as a launching point and made it our own, and we’ve continued to evolve the concept,” Norwood said.
They added family friends Kyle Detrick and Nic Van Biene as co-founders in addition to Joe Mohrfeld, a former head brewer for Odell Brewing Co., bringing Pinthouse's ownership group to six.
The group opened their first brewpub on Burnet Road in North Central Austin, producing 690 barrels of beer a year back in 2012.
Now, Pinthouse Pizza has four locations, expanding to South Lamar Boulevard in 2016, Round Rock in 2019 and its newest location, Pinthouse Brewing on Ben White Boulevard, in 2020.
After adding another fermentation vessel in 2021, Round Rock will be able to produce 7,000 barrels of beer a year. The restaurant's beer capacity is not the only thing that has grown: The Round Rock location is 12,900 square feet, three times the size of the South Lamar Boulevard location.
The much larger space not only provides a spacious zone for customers, but also gives staff more room to work with, Norwood said.
“The kitchen is bigger, which allows us to be more efficient and have more capacity in terms of production,” Norwood said. “The brewery is three times as big as our South Lamar one. We’ll do close to 7,700 barrels here when we’re up and running full. Lamar does about 3,000 now.”
According to a 2020 chart of top ten individual brewpubs by region, Brewers Association ranked Pinthouse Pizza Round Rock No. 1 in the south region.
“It’s the biggest brewpub in terms of barrelage in the south region and top ten nationally in terms of how much beer we make.” co-founder and culinary director Ned Lavelle said.
True to the Pinthouse creative spirit, the team continued to expand on the ideas of their older brewpubs.
“[Round Rock] is the only location out of the first three original pizza pubs with a bar as the focal point,” Norwood said. “The Burnet and South Lamar locations feel more like a restaurant with a bar that’s a part of it. With the bar being in the middle from when you come in on either side, it makes it feel more like a bar. I think that transformation speaks to our desire to continue to evolve and be creative.”
2800 Hoppe Trail, Round Rock