Note: This has been updated with new breweries and bars in August 2018!
While we’ve been enjoying Miracle March, spring shoulder season is fast approaching. And, in my opinion, there’s no better time for a beer tour than spring! Maybe it’s because I’m from the Northwest, but it always seemed to me that the Tahoe area could support more breweries than we had. It took awhile, but better late than never – the brewery scene in Tahoe is finally expanding. Between the new breweries and the arrival of shoulder season, it’s the perfect time to embark on a ‘Round the Lake Beer Tour.
Obviously, you’ll want a designated driver for this endeavor! My route starts in Truckee and heads west, but it can easily be adjusted for whatever starting point you want.
- Smokey’s Kitchen: You’ll want a hearty breakfast before starting out, and despite being a BBQ joint, Smokey’s has something delicious for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. For veggies, I recommend the Huevos California and the Donner Pass Omelet for omnivores. To get the beer tour started, Smokey’s has a few beers on draft, including Racer 5 and lighter options.
- The Tahoe Mountain Brewing Co Brew Pub in Tahoe City opens at 11:30 am, so that’s our first brewery stop. Tahoe Mountain is known for its saisons, and that’s what I have to recommend. Try Provisions, a multi-grain Farmhouse saison or ask the bartender for their seasonal recommendation. If you’re a diehard IPA fan (like I am), I like the Hop Dragon Imperial IPA.
- Head south on Highway 89, down the gorgeous West Shore of Tahoe. Just outside of Tahoe City is the West Shore Market, which has delicious coffee and a really good selection of beers if you want to grab some to go. Be sure to pull over at the look out above the famous Emerald Bay.
- Once you’ve reached South Lake Tahoe, head to South Lake Brewing Company. Here, I like the Fog Nozzle Hazy IPA and the Trail Builder Pale Ale. A portion of the Trail Builder’s proceeds go to TAMBA, which I heartily support.
- Next up is Sidellis Lake Tahoe, just down the road. It’s the newest brewery on this tour, but they’ve already got a few delicious beers. I like their Bitter Creek Pale and their nachos for a quick snack.
- Now we’re traveling back north – this time up Tahoe’s East Shore. Check out the view along the way, maybe at Sand Harbor State Park.
- Just before downtown Incline Village, stop for beer at Tunnel Creek Cafe where they always have some interesting options on draft and in the bottle/can.
- You’re on the home stretch now! Drive through Kings Beach and make a right at Highway 267 and head back to Truckee. Park your car downtown, and get ready to hit up the last two stops. First up, Alibi Ale Works. Alibi has an Incline Village location as well, but the Truckee spot has more beers available and amazing nachos.
- The final stop of the tour is Mellow Fellow, also in downtown Truckee. Mellow Fellow is a taproom with 40 beers on tap and a very knowledgeable staff that will help you find a beer or two or three that you’ll love.