FLIGHTS FOR EVERY FANCY
Reno-Tahoe taprooms offer tasting adventures.
WRITTEN BY SUE EDMONDSON
PHOTOS BY JAMIE KINGHAM
A flight of IPAs and pale ales at Piñon Bottle Co. in Midtown Reno
Craft breweries and brewpubs are perfect places to enjoy the beers you love. But say you’re in the mood to try something different. Or what if you have no idea what you like? Then it’s time to go hops-shopping at an independent taproom.
Here, we offer insider tips on taprooms in the Reno-Tahoe area.
Bret Schaeffer, owner of SixFour Growlers in Midtown Reno
It’s fine to admit that as far as you know, malt is something added to milkshakes. (By the way, flights is just another word for samplers.) Taprooms are excellent places to learn about beer and discover what you like.
“Introducing people to new beers is one of the best parts of the job,” says T.J. Sheldon, taptender at Midtown Reno’s Piñon Bottle Co.
With all the variety at Piñon, you’ll definitely want to ask about styles and flavors. Thirty-six beers (including locals) rotate through the taps. Coolers house up to 300 different beers, and the selection changes weekly, depending on what’s available, new, or requested by customers. Try flights of four beers, and when you find those you love, fill growlers to go.
Piñon offers something you won’t find in other Reno taprooms — build-your-own six-packs.
“That’s one of the things the owner Clint Neuerburg felt was missing,” Sheldon says. “People don’t always want to drink six of the same beer. This way they get the variety they want.”
One thing Piñon doesn’t offer is food, but customers are welcome to bring their own. Noble Pie Parlor happens to be right next door, too.
From left, Clint Neuerburg and Radium Sulprizio at Piñon Bottle Co.
Taprooms as nuanced as their beers
Beer NV in South Reno is a craft-beer-tasting mecca, with a rotating selection of 60 on tap, 10 to 15 of which are local. It’s also a full bar, where flights include cocktails and spirits in addition to beers.
“Most customers are here for the beer, but not all of them,” says co-owner Jaimi Ficco. “We wanted a place where non-beer drinkers could join their beer-drinking friends.”
The large number of taps provides space to showcase new and unusual beers.
“It’s fun for our customers but risky to bring in beers people might not like,” Ficco says. “Luckily, most of the time we get it right. Even if we don’t, with so many taps, it’s not a problem.”
Customers take home their favorite brews in growlers or crowlers and are welcome to bring in food. Fortunately, Beer NV is in South Creek Retail Center, where restaurants abound.
Speaking of nuances … Mellow Fellow Gastropub, with locations in Downtown Reno, Virginia City, and Truckee, offers food, a full bar, and a slew of American craft beers on tap — 40 in Reno and Truckee, 24 in Virginia City. All include local beers that rotate as often as daily. The Reno location offers unlimited free parking in the adjacent garage (except when the Aces play). If it’s a game day, a complimentary beer softens the hit to the wallet.
Owner Ryan Eller focuses on specialty, higher-end beers and has a cooler filled with specialty and rare bottled beers. Check out Sunday brunch and play trivia. On Wednesdays from 3 p.m. until closing, $25 will buy unlimited flights of beer. Fill a growler with your favorite.
Award-winning chef Clint Jolly is Mellow Fellow’s menu and recipe designer, a bonus for customers.
“Everything we make is from scratch, and it’s all designed to go with beer,” Eller says.
He’s sure customers will find beers they like.
“Not every beer is for everyone, but there’s a beer for everyone,” he says.
Taprooms outside Reno
In fact, Incline Spirits & Cigars in Incline Village specialized in craft beers before most people knew what they were. It may not sport as many taps as some, but it has a massive, rotating selection of bottled and canned beers — about 350. Customers are welcome to taste, or mix and match 16-ounce cans in a six-pack and try them out on the spot. Growlers come in 32- or 64-ounce sizes.
“We always have local beers in our cooler,” says owner Miles Hendrickson. “Tuesdays and Thursdays are two-for-one draft days. Whiskey drinkers are welcome, too!”
Nearby is Brewforia, a gastropub with an affinity (to put it mildly) for craft beer. Brews rotate through the 11 taps, and coolers sport about 500 different brands. One entire cooler is dedicated to local beers.
Down the hill in Carson City, you’ll find The Union. Not only is it award-winning chef Mark Estee’s restaurant, it’s also a taproom with a recently opened brewery. In addition to house brews, many of The Union’s 15 taps will feature guest beers.
“We’ll have four to six of our beers on tap and keep the rest as local as possible. Sky’s the limit on the styles we’ll offer,” says general manager Nick Meyer.
There is one caveat — beers poured will be food friendly to pair with The Union’s beer-friendly food.
With all the fabulous beer choices available locally, there’s only one thing left to say: Cheers!
Freelance writer Sue Edmondson has written for various Northern Nevada and Northern California publications. A former dedicated wine drinker, thanks to taproom visits, she now is dedicated to barrel-aged sour beers.
15 Foothill Road, Ste. 1, Reno • 775-448-6199 • Beernv.com
800 Tahoe Blvd., Incline Village • 775-298-7660 • Brewforia.com
Incline Spirits & Cigars
120 Country Club Drive, Ste. 25, Incline Village • 775-831-9292 • Inclinespirits.com
Mellow Fellow Gastropub
300 E. Second St., Reno • 775-657-8946
171 S. C St., Virginia City • 214-914-9155
10192 Donner Pass Road, Truckee • 530-214-8927
Piñon Bottle Co.
777 S. Center St., Reno • 775-376-1211 • Find Piñon Bottle on Facebook.
555 S. Virginia St. Ste. 105, Reno • 775-337-9578
302 N. Carson St., Carson City • 775-885-7307 • Theunioncarson.com