Truckee’s Thriving Craft Brewery & Distillery Scene

Alibi Ale Works Truckee, California

Calling Truckee home has advantages in all the obvious senses — unfettered access to the mountains, jewel-toned alpine lakes straight out of a postcard, and world-class skiing in every direction. As a creative who has made Truckee my base camp for work and play, there’s no better source of inspiration than the alpenglow on the Sierra. But what good are endless daytime adventures without the local watering hole to dish out tall tales après? It’s in Truckee’s breweries that our community really comes alive.

Craft breweries are on the rise seemingly everywhere — a dozen are located in close proximity in neighboring Reno, and names like Knee Deep Brewing and Moonraker hail from just over the crest in the outlying foothills. Right here in town, we hold our own with a newly launched craft distillery and four noteworthy breweries, making Truckee their base camp for a big brew.

An Homage To Truckee’s Distilling Legacy

Let’s start with FiftyFifty Brewing — an internationally recognized and distributed brewery over a dozen years old. FiftyFifty is home to the infamous Eclipse, a barrel-aged imperial stout, arguably the best damn beer in town (and really, anywhere). FiftyFifty is housed under Truckee Craft Ventures which recently invested in and took over management of Old Trestle Distillery, Truckee’s first distillery in a “very long time” — an homage to Truckee’s rich railroad history in illicit spirits. Jake Holshue, Old Trestle’s Master Distiller, brings almost a decade of distilling experience to Truckee. Two spirits are currently available – Theory Gin and the newly released Sierra Vodka, the first of its kind made with 100% Sierra Nevada water. Next on the docket? Whiskey in mid 2020 (can I get an amen?). When I sat down with Jake he hinted at a speakeasy-esque tasting room hopefully coming to Truckee in the not too distant future, so stay tuned for that — but in the meantime, ask for the French 75 cocktail at the FiftyFifty brewpub here in town to sample a taste of history.

Local Brewery Tour

After you’ve had your fill at FiftyFifty, head downtown to the lively Alibi Ale Works for a pilsner or experimental sour and artisanal nachos (order the Thai Chicken). Alibi answers the age-old question of what to do in town on a weeknight — with a frequently rotating event calendar and live music on the regular, Alibi is where you’re sure to run into the whole town on a Thursday evening. I’ve done après here many times: from following epic powder days at Squaw, to after my opening night appearing in Truckee Community Theater’s The Taming of the Shrew last Fall. After you’ve done your thing at Alibi, head to Truckee’s newest brewery, The Good Wolf. Their debut brews include a selection of thirst-quenching IPAs and pale ales crafted with hops from around the world. If you’re looking for a place to get cozy on a cold winter day, this is it. Settle in with a book by the fire and you’ll feel like you never left the comfort of your living room. Just a stone’s throw away is the Truckee Brewing Company taproom: the anchor tenant for a burgeoning scene of young entrepreneurs’ brick and mortar businesses up in the Pioneer Center, including fan favorite Sierra Bakehouse. You can’t really beat happy hour at Truckee Brewing: with local artwork decorating the walls and ski movies on TV, it instantly felt like a longtime staple, but even better… the beers are really good. Order a flight — just make sure both the East Coast and West Coast IPAs are on it.

Of course, enjoying a sunset brew out on the trail is my favorite way to do après — but you probably don’t need too much guidance in that arena.


About Laura Lawson Visconti

Laura Lawson Visconti is the owner of Geography Creative, a social media agency specializing in telling the stories of adventurous brands around the world. Additionally, Laura is the co-founder of Drink Coffee Do Stuff, a specialty coffee roastery based in Truckee. She is also a Sony Alpha photographer and author, and when not traveling on assignment, she enjoys exploring the mountains of Lake Tahoe alongside her husband, former professional snowboarder Nick Visconti. Keep up with her adventures on Instagram @lauralawsonvisconti.