Life is Brewtiful: Touring delicious local beers, from light to dark.


I have always been a beer-drinking kind of girl, which shocks many people. It wasn’t until recently that I became more adventurous in truly testing my palate. I enjoy light beers and always carried a fear of the darker variety. Boy, was I mistaken!

During a self-prompted local brewery tour, I decided to step out of my ale-filled comfort zone and ask for their most popular brews, as well as one they would personally recommend. Every brewery had so many amazing varieties of beer each with their own distinguished flavor and story. Now, I’m loving the full golden, amber, dark and stormy spectrum making up the local brew scene. 

High Sierra Brewing Company
Serves: Food, spirits, beer and wine

Beer Recommendation: Buzz Bee Honey is a very refreshing light beer frequently featured at local beer festivals and events.

About Them: Located inside Baldini’s Casino, this place is like a hidden gem brewing all of their beer in house. This large space has gaming, pool, darts and don’t forget about the great beer!

Location(s): Sparks – (775) 398-4200

Sidellis Lake Tahoe Brewery & Restaurant

Serves: Lunch and dinner, beer

Beer Recommendation: Blended beer! They’ve combined their Cluanie Farm House Ale and Partner’s in Vine sour for a taste that’s one of a kind! It’s more of a mixed fermentation rather than a blended beer, technically, because it is mixed prior to carbonation and kegging. I loved both beers on their own but they complement each other so well that there was no going back. If you ask for the Blended Beer they will know exactly what you’re talking about!

About Them: A small-batch brewery, Sidellis creates exceptional beers with flavors that will blow your mind. Be sure to ask about their name and the story behind the brewery.

Location(s): South Lake Tahoe – (530) 600-3999

The Depot Craft Brewery Distillery
Serves: Lunch and dinner, spirits, beer and wine

Beer Recommendation: The Voyager West Cost IPA has a wow factor for me! So much flavor packed into such a smooth and easy-to-drink beer.

About Them: The building was built in 1910 and was originally a train depot. Now, it’s the state’s first brewery and distillery. Not only do they offer great brews, but they have their own distillery as well! Try a cocktail or two with spirits made with local Nevada grains.

Location(s): Reno – (775) 737-4330

Cold Water Brewery
Serves: Lunch and dinner, spirits, beer and wine

Beer Recommendation: Mr. Toad’s Wild Rye has a truly shocking color. The Cold Water Brewery is very open and light so this beer looks different under the various hues inside. Smooth, yet full of flavor without feeling like a meal, this is certainly a new favorite of mine..

About Them: All their beers are named after places in Tahoe that they like to visit. The staff is exceptionally knowledgeable about their beers and flavors, take their recommendation because you won’t be disappointed. They really know what they are talking about!

Location(s): South Lake Tahoe – (530) 544-4677

Brasserie Saint James
Serves: Breakfast, lunch and dinner, spirits, beer and wine

Beer Recommendation: Red Headed Stranger for something flavorful but not heavy like I thought it would be. It’s smooth and refreshing! This red farmhouse ale is perfect to complement a variety of their food dishes as well.

About them: Housed in the historic Crystal Springs building, they own the rights to the water source below ground and that’s what is used when making their beer. They have created a lot of Gold Metal Beers for every palate.

Location(s): Reno – (775) 348-8888

The Brewer’s Cabinet
Serves: Breakfast, lunch and dinner, spirits, beer and wine

Beer Recommendation: Boo Boo’s Revenge for an American brown ale, smooth, light and very surprising in flavor, I did not expect to like it but the mild chocolate flavor was definitely good. And if you like this one you should also try the Dirty Wookie.

About Them: They are truly a “brewer’s cabinet” serving a variety of fresh and unique beers. This small-batch brewery has a lot of flexibility in their brewing process resulting in really developed, full flavors.

Location(s): Reno – (775) 348-7481

Great Basin Brewing Company
Serves: Lunch and dinner, spirits, beer and wine

Beer Recommendation: Outlaw Milk Stout is full and hardy and was like a meal for me. But, I really liked it! In fact, I bought a six-pack to bring home with me. You should also try their Cerveza Chilebeso beer, it is extremely unique and is a “love it or hate it” kind of beer.

About Them: Checkout their food menu, everything with a beer next to it means they use their beer when making it. And you should also try a Bloody Mary complete with a floater of their Outlaw Milk Stout on top.

Location(s): Reno – (775) 284-7711 ; Sparks – (775) 355-7711

I learned so much about craft beers and my personal preferences. My beer knowledge has definitely grown and I have just one piece of advice … Don’t judge a beer by the color, judge it by taste because it could surprise you! Just like these beers pleasantly surprised me. Happy tasting!

Where to buy local beers:

Upcoming Beer Events:

Travel Tip: 

Need a designated driver? Book with Tahoe Brew Tours to taste the area’s favorite breweries. Plus, go behind the scenes with brewmasters, enjoy appetizers, with your very own local guide. 

Pedal or just kick back and enjoy the ride on the Reno Brew Bike as you check out some of the awesome breweries Reno has to offer. This is a whole new way to experience the local brewpub scene with 15 of your closest friends or family. 


By: Rebecca David