edible notables

SELF SERVE SUDS

Lake Tahoe AleWorX dispenses great brews, eats, and ambiance.

WRITTEN BY ANN LINDEMANN
PHOTOS BY MICHAEL OKIMOTO

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Austyn Harrington eyes her glass of cider from the self-serve taps

Ever walk into a busy brewpub and find the crowd is five deep to the bar? With an endless list of interesting choices before you, you’d like just a taste or two before settling on the pint of your dreams. But that crowd … Sure, the overworked bartender will oblige, but chances are the four thirsty people behind you will emit audible sighs of impatience.

Now there’s an alternative to this scenario at South Lake Tahoe’s newest taproom.

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Austyn Harrington pours herself a cider from Lake Tahoe AleWorX's self-serve taps

Techie taproom

“Our customers can help themselves on demand,” explains Luca Genasci, the 24-year-old founder of Lake Tahoe AleWorX.

Genasci offers 30 self-dispensing taps, including 25 constantly rotating craft beers. Two of these, Bretted Belgian Pale and Cali Common, are the result of a collaboration between Alibi Ale Works, another Tahoe-area brewer, and Lake Tahoe AleWorX. For non-beer drinkers, three wines, kombucha, and even nitro coffee are available on tap as well. A screen at each tap provides information about what you’re pouring and keeps track of how many ounces are poured. In turn, the drink cost is added to the customer’s bill.

“We wanted a tech-savvy dining experience with a craft beer concept and landed on this self-serve concept during research,” Genasci says.

Genasci actually wrote the business plan while attending the University of California, Los Angeles.

But beer is just part of the taproom’s allure.

A Tahoe native, Genasci says the California side of South Lake Tahoe was in need of a fun gathering place exemplifying the active Tahoe adventure life.

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From left, Kevin Verlander, Austyn Harrington, and Chelsea Welt warm up after dinner beside the patio fire pit

Eat, drink, and relax

Genasci and his team literally transformed a corner of an outdated shopping center. The spacious Lake Tahoe AleWorX is roughly 2,700 square feet and furnished with repurposed materials of all ilk.

“We worked hard to give every material in the taproom a story,” he says.

For instance, the barn wood came from the Genasci ranch in Sierraville, Calif., which is rich with family history. Pennies were used to tile the wood-fired oven, and rafters from the old shopping center were reborn as benches and tables.

Still, customers gravitate toward the taproom’s spacious patio area, featuring three fire pits complete with comfy rocking chairs and a large musical stage.

On one warm fall evening, gregarious young families congregated around the fire pits in the patio area far from the busy road, exuding a happy glamping vibe — parents get much-needed adult time, while their children blow off steam.

“We’ve been really surprised and pleased with the demographic we have attracted,” Genasci says. “We have an atmosphere that is casual enough for families with young kids to feel comfortable. Plus, everyone, including children, loves good, wood-fired Neapolitan pizza.”

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Lake Tahoe AleWorX offers a dozen or so signature pizzas, but diners are encouraged to create their own wood-fired pies, too. A small selection of fresh salads, small bites, and desserts fill out the menu.

The young business owner offers major kudos to all those who have supported him in this endeavor, especially his parents, Paul and Lee Anne.

“Without an amazing team, how could a 22-year-old college kid have any chance at opening something like our taproom?” he says. “This has been a family project through and through to get to this point.”

Because she must hone her craft beer pouring skills, writer Ann Lindemann will be happily visiting Lake Tahoe AleWorX again soon.

Resources

Lake Tahoe AleWorX

2050 Lake Tahoe Blvd., Ste. 2050, South Lake Tahoe • 530-600-0442 • Laketahoealeworx.com

Open 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. daily.

From left, Jan Solberg, Brenda Horton, Susan Hamarlund, and Sue Higgins of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Fleet Reserve Association serve muffins to veterans at Carson City’s Veterans Memorial Hall

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