The Good Wolf features forest-inspired beers.
Tucked away in a nondescript warehouse area in Truckee is a secret garden devoted to the flavors of the forest melded with fermentation.
Open since early 2020, The Good Wolf is a craft brewery with a unique twist on its offerings. Along with its selection of hop-forward brews, the brewery’s Forest Beer Program features regularly rotating beers made with foraged ingredients from the woods around Lake Tahoe.
“We wanted to capture the terroir of the Tahoe National Forest,” says Matthew Petyo, owner of The Good Wolf. “In fine dining, wine especially has a place at the table, but beer absolutely belongs there as well. We wanted to express our time and place in one of the most beautiful areas in the world.”
Into the Woods
Petyo, along with Neil Moroney, head of the brewery’s Forest Beer Program, regularly visits the forest for ingredients such as pine tips, turkey tail mushrooms, witch’s butter mushrooms, juniper berries, yarrow, young wild sage, blackberries, and even aspen leaves.
Petyo and Moroney also utilize produce from local farms, such as bay and badger flame beets from Riverhill Farm in Nevada City, craft malt from 40 Mile Malt in Fallon, and honey from Hallelu Yah Honey in Carson City.
The brewery also offers community foraging events with local experts, such as a mycologist, or fungi expert. The brewery files a foraging permit with the United States Forest Service each year.
“It’s a whole different way to look at the forest,” Petyo says. “Where is there food here? What tastes good? If it tastes good, it’s going to be good in beer.”
Petyo previously worked at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and at breweries in Seattle, Wash., and Austin, Texas. Moroney worked as a chef in Olympic National Park and Yosemite National Park. Both men really enjoy the brewery’s Needle & Resin, a black lager with foraged pine tips, and the Diving Bell light lager made with yarrow flowers.
The tasting room is just as distinctive as the beers. Full pours, half pours, and flights are served in a tranquil space dripping with plants and reminiscent of a forest glen. Customers not only get to sit under a full moon or at a farmhouse table, but they also are encouraged to give their input on the beers.
“We are asking people to go out on a limb a bit,” Petyo says. “Hey, we’re making beer out of beets, so if they are involved in the process, it helps them to understand why that’s special.”
For details, visit Thegoodwolfbrewing.com.
Writer Christina Nellemann loves not only The Good Wolf’s woodland tasting room, but also the beer’s wonderful names.