South Tahoe: Brewery going into empty Swiss Chalet building |

South Tahoe: Brewery going into empty Swiss Chalet building

After two decades of working in South Lake Tahoe restaurants and resorts, Debbie Brown is taking a plunge and opening her own business, the Cold Water Brewery & Grill, in the former Swiss Chalet restaurant. Brown said her business launch has been years in the making. "I've been looking at real estate options all over town. I've knocked on everybody's door," she said about her search for the perfect location. A former general manager at Stateline Brewery who oversaw its opening, Brown first thought she wanted to open her craft brewery and grill at Heavenly Village. But as time passed, she could not settle on a spot. A friend told her she was being like the little girl who keeps walking to the end of the diving board, looking over the end and turning around. She needed to jump. "Maybe it was the timing, the place, the moment. I don't know. But 10 minutes later I drove over here and I saw it," Brown said about the empty Swiss Chalet. "I've driven by it a million times but couldn't see it. It takes those hard moments to take that leap of faith." At the busy corner of Lake Tahoe Boulevard and Sierra Avenue, the Swiss Chalet building Brown is leasing is getting a major makeover. Much of the inside is gutted already. "People ask me if I'm going to change the outside. Yeah," Brown said. "It's going to look a lot different. It's time." Large windows facing the intersection will showcase the brewery and its cold room to people outside. Brown hopes to get started on exterior improvements to the building in the next few weeks as permits are finalized. The brewery's name, Cold Water, comes from Lake Tahoe. Brown thought about what to name the business for a long time as she walked a new stretch of beach each morning. "I wrote down a bazillion names, I asked for help and for advice and the name came out of the water just like I thought it would," Brown said. "One day when I felt desperate and like the name was on the tip of my tongue, my dog Cooper comes out and shakes off all over me. It was cold water." The goal for Cold Water Brewery & Grill is great handcrafted food and beer and great service at a uniquely Tahoe business. The menu will offer expected pub fare such as burgers and fries but also branch out into more unique items and things for people with special dietary needs, Brown said. "I want to create a place that's fun. I want music and laughter and a place where groups can come together. We want this corner to come alive for people, and for it to be used." Brown said she is excited to join in the "Midtown" concept for South Lake Tahoe, with Blue Dog Gourmet Pizza and Scusa Italian Ristorante both opening businesses at the same corner in recent years. "We want to create that next node in town," Brown said. "In my mind you've got Heavenly Village, Ski Run Boulevard and what's going on over there, and Harrison Avenue. Then we have the 'Y,' and the goal of making all those connections. Now let's have Midtown. I want to be on that corner. I want to be part of it." Brown is keeping the wraps on some aspects of her brewery for now. Suffice to say it will be milling its own grains and starting its brews from there. The goal is to offer at least 12 handles of beer as production ramps up. "We want to have a taste of place," Brown said about the brewery. "We want to use juniper berries. They grow right on Luther Pass. We want to use pine nuts. We want to use mountain sage. We want beer that when you drink it you know you're getting a taste of the Sierra." Cold Water Brewery & Grill will have a full bar and partner with wineries on the West Slope to offer their wines. "We've got so much the Sierra provides. That's our goal, to let the visitor and the local celebrate that," Brown said. Brown wants the business open by summer's end. "Would I like to get July? No one would like to get it better," she said. "A hot day and a cold beer go good together. But we've got to make the beer and get the doors open." Scott Fair, of Century 21 at Tahoe Paradise Realty, helped Brown find the Swiss Chalet building. "The most exciting thing about this is that the Swiss Chalet is one of the most iconic properties in town. With what's happening in Tahoe, this renaissance, it's cool to see someone coming in, taking an iconic property and modernizing it while keeping the traditions of the old," Fair said. "I think this is going to be a great positive thing for our town."

Brewer’s Cup at Tahoe’s Cold Water Brewery to feature selection of winter seasonals

South Shore homebrewers are set to gather this week with their latest creations, and everyone 21 years old and older is invited to come out and sample their creations. The second Brewer's Cup at Cold Water Brewery & Grill takes place Wednesday, Oct. 28. The winning brewer, determined via a blind taste test by attendees to the event, will have the opportunity to work with Cold Water brewmaster Ryan Parker to brew 200 gallons of their beer. The drink will then go on tap at brewery. The Brewer's Cup is scheduled to take place every six months at Cold Water and is part of the brewery's efforts to develop a community of beer lovers at the South Shore. The brewery also holds a gathering of homebrewers the last Wednesday of every month. "We think that beer equals community," said Cold Water owner Debbie Brown. For this Brewer's Cup, homebrewers were asked to create a winter seasonal beer. During the event, Cold Water will also have a chef's special and Cold Water beer available for $10. A bluegrass duo will also play starting at 6 p.m., Brown said. Sampling and voting will take place from 5-7 p.m. The winner will be announced at 8:30 p.m. Eighteen homebrewers competed in the last Brewer's Cup in March. South Shore resident Mike Crow won the last competition with a smoked porter, Brown said. Cold Water Brewery & Grill is located at 2544 Lake Tahoe Blvd. More information is available at

Brewer’s Cup at Tahoe’s Cold Water Brewery to feature selection of winter seasonals

South Shore homebrewers are set to gather this week with their latest creations, and everyone 21 years old and older is invited to come out and sample the beer. The second Brewer's Cup at Cold Water Brewery & Grill takes place Wednesday, Oct. 28. It starts at 5 p.m. The winning brewer, determined via a blind taste test by attendees to the event, will have the opportunity to work with Cold Water brewmaster Ryan Parker to brew 200 gallons of their beer. The drink will then go on tap at brewery. The Brewer's Cup is scheduled to take place every six months at Cold Water and it is part of the brewery's efforts to develop a community of South Shore beer lovers. The brewery also holds a gathering of homebrewers the last Wednesday of every month. "We think that beer equals community," said Cold Water owner Debbie Brown. For this Brewer's Cup, homebrewers were asked to create a winter seasonal beer. During the event, Cold Water will also have a chef's special and Cold Water beer available for $10. A bluegrass duo will play starting at 6 p.m., Brown said. Sampling and voting will take place from 5-7 p.m. The winner will be announced at 8:30 p.m. Eighteen homebrewers competed in the last Brewer's Cup in March. South Shore resident Mike Crow won the last competition with a smoked porter, Brown said. Cold Water Brewery & Grill is located at 2544 Lake Tahoe Blvd. More information is available at

New Lake Tahoe Brewfest headed to South Shore this summer

Mark your calendars — the inaugural Lake Tahoe Brewfest is headed to South Shore on Saturday, June 10. From noon to 5 p.m., approximately 10 local breweries will unite in the Swiss Chalet area of Lake Tahoe Boulevard to bring a festival celebrating craft beer to the region. "It's a great opportunity to link arms and celebrate beer around the lake. The beer movement and what's happening for Tahoe is awesome, and it's an opportunity to roll out the new breweries," Cold Water Brewery & Grill owner Debbie Brown said. She spearheaded the brewfest effort to establish a summertime kick-off party for visitors and locals in the Tahoe Basin. "Beer is the common denominator; it's what brings us together," Brown explained. While logistics are not yet set in stone, things to look forward to include multiple vendors, live music and of course, food and beer. Local brewers such as Alibi Ale Works, Sidellis, Cold Water Brewery, Tahoe Mountain Brewery and up-and-coming South Lake Brewing Company are currently expected to have booths at the event, which will also feature a home brewing competition. FNCTN, a Tahoe-based production and promotional company, is teaming up with Cold Water to host the brewfest and is currently in the process of making applications for the contest available online. "Breweries are blossoming, and we want to bring together the brew scene," FNCTN's Nick Rogers said. Details for the competition have not been solidified, but those wishing to participate should keep tabs on all things Lake Tahoe Brewfest — details for the home brewing portion will be released with enough time for participants to perfect their drinks, according to Rogers. Various permits and applications for the inaugural event are still in the filing process, and additional details will be released as the event draws nearer — be sure to stay tuned for more information. "It's a big endeavor for us and the South Shore," Brown added. "Put it on the calendar and save the date." Visit the Facebook event page for the Lake Tahoe Brewfest to learn more.

South Lake Tahoe’s Cold Water Brewery celebrates one-year anniversary

For brewmaster Ryan Parker, joining Cold Water Brewery was a chance to branch out and try something new; and it was a place to expand on his craft. "Every beer is an art form," he said, describing his approach. "Experimentally it's nice to have that room to grow." For him, it's all about the beer and the community that comes along with it. He leaves the business side of things up to longtime food and beverage industry director and brewery owner Debbie Brown. "I don't get out front very often," Parker said of his focus on brewing. "I just like making beers." For Brown, opening her own place was a lifelong goal, and a chance to play by her own rules. "We can do anything we want," she said with a smile, explaining plans to continue to mix up the menu with dishes and beer options to cater to each season. "I don't have to ask anybody. That's the beauty of it." The two will celebrate Cold Water's one-year anniversary with a party, live music and beer specials on Saturday, Nov. 21. "It's amazing to feel I finally got it. I finally got my dream," Brown said, looking back at a year in business that has, so far, exceeded expectations. "I fell in love with craft brewing," Brown said of the idea for Cold Water. "I love the combination of the food and the energy that a brewery produces." She credited word of mouth and community support for the brewery's early success in an industry that has a staggeringly high failure rate. "Word of mouth is the most valuable asset," she said. "People are telling everybody." "It's grown by leaps and bounds," Parker added of the brewery's popularity. "More than I could imagine." But it's just the beginning. Brown and Parker each said they believe there is continued room for growth both for Cold Water and the brewery scene as a whole on the South Shore. "I think if we didn't do it, someone else would have," Parker said. "I think we just got ahead of the crowd." As to their growth potential, Brown said simply, "there are some ideas in the works." While declining to elaborate, she did add that their beer will be on tap this winter at both Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort and McP's Taphouse Grill near Stateline, with the potential for additional locations. New Brews As part of the anniversary celebration, the brewery tapped a special commemorative Pink Boot Double IPA this week. "This double IPA is my newest experiment," Parker said, crediting Brown with the idea. "I think it's a good beer. I get good feedback from it." "I wanted a big bang," Brown said describing her desire to brew their first double IPA. "I wanted to celebrate." The name also pays homage to the Pink Boots Society, a group dedicated to women in the brewing industry. In December, the brewery will also unveil local female brewer Teri Jones' "El Niño Stout." Jones, an aspiring brewmaster herself, won Cold Water's biannual Brewers Cup home-brewing competition earlier this fall with a Mexican chocolate stout recipe. First prize was a chance to collaborate with Parker to brew using Cold Water's equipment. "The El Niño Stout is going to be a big thing," Parker said. "I think it's going to be awesome," Brown added, saying it will be ready just in time for the holidays. "It's going to be a great addition to our lineup." One and Counting Cold Water will host their anniversary celebration from 5-11 p.m. on Saturday. The event will feature live music from Ike & Martin starting at 8 p.m. Anyone in attendance wearing pink boots will receive discounted beers. All guests in attendance will also receive a free raffle ticket to be entered to win a paddleboard. "We're so excited to celebrate the South Shore," Brown said. "There's nothing more special than to have the community involvement."

Crafty kickoff: Lake Tahoe Brewfest celebrates local beer, jump-starts summer

After approximately four months of prep, the inaugural Lake Tahoe Brewfest is finally here. On Saturday, June 10, a mix of local and regional breweries will take over the Swiss Chalet Village located on Lake Tahoe Boulevard for a five-hour festival that celebrates the growing craft beer movement in the area. "Everybody involved has been amazing — from all over the lake. It's about celebrating beer around the lake and the coming together of North and South shores. It's all about community, beer and Lake Tahoe," said Debbie Brown, owner of Cold Water Brewery & Grill, the main sponsor of the event. "Even people who aren't from the lake are excited about beer being in our scene, so it's a great opportunity for the new breweries. It's a summer kickoff — a cheers to us lake-wide." Guests can look forward to sampling beer from a total of 14 breweries: Cold Water Brewery & Grill, Fifty Fifty Brewing Co., Tahoe Mountain Brewing Co., Outbreak Brewing Co., South Lake Brewing Co., Sidellis Lake Tahoe, Alibi Ale Works, Lake Tahoe AleWorX, Auburn Alehouse, Anderson Valley Brewing Co., Lagunitas, Ninkasi Brewing, Saint Archer & Hope Valley and Modern Times Beer. Each location will have its own booth set up in the village, which will be closed to cars throughout the course of the event, held from noon through 5 p.m. Apart from beer, food vendors such as Cold Water Brewery & Grill, Salsa Girl Salsa, Chimayó and The Baked Bear will be at the event, in addition to arts and crafts vendors and the shops located in the village. Local groups Ike & Martin and Sierra Gypsies will perform live music throughout the day, and lawn games such as corn hole will be set up. "It's going to be a fun family atmosphere, it'll be sunny and we're expecting the local person to ride their bike and grab some brews. There won't be Coors Light fans — these are the real crafty beer drinkers, which is what Tahoe is known for," said Nick Rogers, the co-owner of FNCTN, a production company that serves as one of the promoters for the event. The inaugural Brewfest will also host a homebrewers competition — King of the Home Brew — that is open to 100 attendees and lasts throughout the day. "The homebrew is a separate ticket along with the normal one — the reason being we can't ask homebrewers to brew a batch for 500 people," Rogers explained. Those competing in King of the Home Brew battle for a cash prize. Judges from the craft brew industry determine first, second and third place, but all attendees receive a ticket to vote for a People's Choice winner. Pre-sale tickets are sold out, but at-the-door admission for Lake Tahoe Brewfest is offered for $25. Tickets to the homebrew competition are an additional $10. All proceeds go to the Boys & Girls Club of Lake Tahoe. Can't make it to Brewfest this year? Don't fret — the all-ages event is expected to become an annual start-of-summer party. "It's an opportunity for a Tahoe-created scene, and it's another reason to come to Tahoe. People don't realize that tourism with beer is a huge staple and industry. Look at Colorado: There's a brewery on nearly every corner," Brown added. Learn more online at

Cold Water Brewery awards California woman top honor for craft ‘El Niño Stout’

Community was the theme at Cold Water Brewery Wednesday night, Oct. 28, as the restaurant hosted its second Brewer's Cup home-brewing competition. The now biannual event gives local home brewers the opportunity to showcase their work and receive feedback through a blind taste test format. The winner earns the opportunity to have their recipe featured on tap at the brewery later this year. With nine locally crafted home brews presented to guests in attendance Wednesday, one Mexican chocolate stout stole the show. Avid local brewer Teri Jones' "El Niño Stout" took top honors with a second beer of hers claiming third. "You have to think about what's a crowd pleaser," she said of her winning decision that featured a strong chocolate taste. "It's really chocolaty," the Woodfords, California, resident added. "It smelled like a chocolate cookie," South Lake Tahoe local Michael Plotts said of Jones' beer, also commending the wide variety of brews at the event. "It was a nice lineup." In addition to the amateur aficionados in attendance like Plotts, Jones' brew also won over the experts. "I thought it was excellent," assistant brewmaster and local brew club organizer Ron Buck said of the beer that will likely make its debut on tap at Cold Water in mid-December. Jones' win shouldn't come as a surprise, however, as the amateur brewmaster is about to turn pro. Working in the industry in a variety of capacities since mid 1990s, Jones, 44, will be entering the master brewers program at University of California, Davis, in January 2016. "I feel like I always wanted to brew," Jones said of her decision to go back to school. "It was one of those things. I graduated college and thought, 'I wish I would have done that.'" She got her start in the industry working on the bottling line at Northern California-based Humbolt Brewing Co. before moving to Hood River, Ore., and working for Mount Hood Brewing Co. as a cellarman. She currently works for Jack Russell Farm Brewery in Camino, California. Earlier this year, Jones' IPA finished second at the El Dorado County Fair. The same beer also finished third at Cold Water's first Brewer's Cup. This will be the first time any of her beers will be mass produced, however. She will work with Cold Water brewmaster Ryan Parker to craft approximately 200 gallons of her stout. Jones wasn't the only aspiring pro to participate Wednesday. Former cup winner Mike Crow also took part. He said he's working on plans to open his own brewery — aptly named MikeCrowBru — as early as next year. BRINGING COMMUNITY TOGETHER Cold Water Brewery owner Debbie Brown and brewmaster Ryan Parker founded the Brewer's Cup as part of an effort to further promote craft brewing in the Tahoe Basin — a market they both believe has room to grow. "It's Ryan's baby," Brown said of her brewmaster's idea for the competition. "He wanted to bring home brewers together." According to Parker, he was inspired "to bring in the community so people can see what's going on in the beer scene. " Their first competition featured over 20 different beers across a broad range of styles, so they decided to narrow the field with a seasonal theme this time around. Parker and Brown said they will continue to hold the competition twice a year with the same honor going to first-place winners. The next competition will feature spring and summer brews. "It's definitely outgrown our restaurant," Parker said of the already popular event. They had hoped to hold it on their patio Wednesday night, but weather did not cooperate. Parker said eventually the competition could move to a larger outdoor venue. He also expressed a desire to see more breweries open in the area and welcomes the competition. "There's no reason there shouldn't be a half-dozen breweries in South Lake Tahoe," he said. Cold Water will celebrate its one-year anniversary Nov. 21 with a party and the unveiling of their Pink Boot IPA, honoring women in the brewing industry. More information is available at

Our favorite brews from the Tahoe region’s booming craft beer scene

The craft beer revolution has finally arrived at Lake Tahoe, and it's exploding. While microbreweries are staples of West Coast cities like San Diego and Portland, a plethora of craft brewed options is a newfound joy for our mountain community. Three new craft breweries have opened in the past two years alone, spanning both sides of the lake, and more are on the way. To find out what local brewers are up to, I grabbed my beer-loving boyfriend and hit the road to sample the smooth, the hoppy and the deliciously sour. BEST ENGLISH-STYLE PORTER Alibi Ale Works Opened by two home-brewers in December 2014, Alibi Ale Works passed on creating fancy beer names, preferring to let the beers speak for themselves. With wood paneling made from warehouse pallets and a bathroom floor of laminated pennies, Alibi offers a cozy, public house atmosphere that could just as easily exist in Portland or San Diego. As breweries along the West Coast compete for the hoppiest IPAs, Alibi has gone the other direction, offering a rotating IPA program and focusing on its flagship porter, saison, pale ale and barrel-aged beers. The porter, in particular, is a favorite among Alibi's brewers and patrons alike. Lighter bodied and extremely drinkable, Alibi's English-style porter is rich but not too heavy, with balanced notes of chocolate and coffee. "Porter is the beer that got me into beer," says Kevin Drake, Alibi's co-founder and head brewer. "I always had a passion for a great porter, so when we opened, I knew I wanted to make a Porter you could drink year-round." As Lake Tahoe's only brewery without a kitchen, Alibi's food offerings are limited to a small snack shelf, but the ale house encourages outside food, including everything from local take-out to picnics and full-blown potluck dinners. Alibi also hosts a pop up sushi restaurant every Wednesday evening at 5 p.m., as well as Paint & Pint events and collaborations with local food trucks. Must-Try Beers: English-style Porter, Golden Mocha Stout, Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, Dark Saison, rotating dark sours BEST SOUR Sidellis Lake Tahoe Sidellis Lake Tahoe opened in January 2016 in South Lake Tahoe with a simple, warm interior and friendly, community vibe. Though Sidellis' IPA is its biggest seller (they sell more IPAs than all the other beers combined), the brewery has made a name for itself with its barrel aged sour program. The brewery's rotating sours change roughly every two weeks, meaning there is always a complex and tart new brew to sample. The rest of Sidellis' beer list is also worth a try, with a delightfully hoppy IPA, surprisingly light and dry white ale, an earthy farmhouse ale and light-bodied brown-style porter. The brewery offers a straight-forward and affordable food menu, with some favorites including the pulled pork and french dip sandwiches, triple play, taco salad and varying house-made pickle jars. Preferring to keep their prices low all the time, Sidellis doesn't have a happy hour, so stop by anytime daily from noon-9 p.m. Must-Try Beers: Brewocracy "Red Tape" IPA, Clockwork White Ale, Claunie Farmhouse Ale, Petey's Porter, rotating sours BEST EXPERIMENTAL FRUIT BEERS Tahoe Mountain Brewing Company Located off the beaten path in one of Truckee's industrial parks, Tahoe Mountain Brewing Company's brewery and cozy tap room serves up an array of barrel-aged, sour and wild beers, with respect for traditional styles. Best known for experimenting with fruit, TMBC bottles all of their non-traditional beers, while its flagship staples are available only on tap. This winter, head brewer Andrea Keil is most excited for Tahoe Mountain's oatmeal stout, named Ms. Coco & The Delicate Oatsters. Other beer list favorites include the hoppy passion pale ale; a dry, roasty porter; their Récolte Du Bois barrel-aged farmhouse ale series; and the delicately sour Evolution of the Barrel Gueuze-style beer. Open afternoons and evenings Thursday to Sunday, the Truckee taproom typically keeps 15 beers on tap, as well as a full selection of bottled beers. The brewing company also operates a brewpub in downtown Tahoe City, where you can find TMBC's flagship beers on tap and a pub menu with favorites like pretzel bites and the cheddar bacon burger. However, the brewpub only carries TMBC's non-traditional beers in bottles, so if it's the beer you're after, stick with the Truckee taproom. Must-Try Beers: Ms. Coco & The Delicate Oatsters, Porter, Evolution of the Barrel, Midnight in Reno, Reno Noir, Récolte Du Bois ales BEST CUISINE Cold Water Brewery Longtime South Lake Tahoe local and the brewery owner Debbie Brown opened Cold Water Brewery in November 2014 as a community gathering place with handcrafted food, beer and great service. Billed as California comfort food, Cold Water Brewery offers the most robust lunch and dinner menus of any of the region's craft breweries. The kale artichoke dip can best be described, in our opinion, as "spicy goodness," and the BBQ beets and bacon wrapped dates with pickled mustard seed were delicious. One regular articulately summed up the menu saying, "I haven't found anything I don't like." Cold Water's housemade beers pair nicely with their fare and incorporate local ingredients such as juniper berries and mountain sage. Among the best days to visit this winter are Flannel Shirt Friday, offering $4 beers all day long to those who arrive sporting flannel. The brewery also offers mouthwatering $10 chef specials and beer in off-peak months. Must-Try Beers: Citra-Ass Down IPA, Preacher's Pale Ale, Stillwater Stout, Mr. Toad's Wild Rye BEST BOURBON-AGED STOUT FiftyFifty Brewing Co. A well-rounded brewery with great beers and a solid food menu, Truckee's FiftyFifty Brewing Co. has made a name for itself in the industry as a boutique barrel-aging brewery. FiftyFifty's most renowned beers are from the Eclipse series, an imperial stout aged in various bourbon barrels (each barrel color coded by a colored wax seal on the bottles). The Eclipse beers are made using the brewery's Totality Imperial Stout as a base beer, which is chocolatey and extremely drinkable in its own right. Other favorite FiftyFifty beers include the light Basecamp Golden Ale, the hoppy and smooth Session 267 IPA, Donner Party Porter and the CAPA California Pale Ale. On the menu, the brew pub's "Gatherer" pizza was delicious enough to impress two pizza-picky Northeasterners, and other popular items include the Kale n Ale and Tahoe Food Hub salads, organic chicken wings, Petaluma Farms fried chicken and Mountain Valley Meats sausage platter. Must-Try Beers: Basecamp Golden Ale, Session 267 IPA, Rockslide IPA, CAPA California Pale Ale, Totality Stout, Eclipse Barrel Aged Imperial Stout BEST STRONG RED ALE The Brewery at Lake Tahoe Tahoe's longest running brewery, The Brewery at Lake Tahoe is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, 365 days a year. The Brewery's "brew pub" style food is markedly good — the burger was one of the best we'd had in years, and the half-rack of ribs was seriously fall-off-the-bone delicious. Across the board, The Brewery's beers were light-bodied and extremely drinkable, with a not-too-sweet Belgian-style Witbier, light pale ale and smooth "Bad Ass" strong red ale (a favorite of locals). The beer list also includes a solid, introductory IPA that doesn't blow your taste buds and tastes more like a session IPA, despite ringing in at a full 7.5 percent — a great choice for those wishing to induct new IPA lovers. And back by popular demand, The Brewery's oatmeal vanilla stout will return this winter. The Brewery's beers are also notably affordable with $5-$5.50 pints and $15-16.50 pitchers, as well as happy hour everyday from 3-5 p.m. with $1 off beer, wine and cocktails, and food specials. For a more upscale experience, the owners of The Brewery also operate Stateline Brewery & Restaurant in the Heavenly Village, which offers a rotating selection of ales and lagers to pair with a host of appetizers and entrées. Must-Try Beers: White-Out Wit, "Indian" Pale Ale, Bad Ass Ale, Oatmeal Vanilla Stout

Tahoe Chamber debuts South Shore Beer Trail

South Shore's craft beer scene continues to grow in size, making it increasingly difficult to keep track of the latest spots to grab a drink. But with Tahoe Chamber's all-new South Shore Beer Trail, questions like "Where is South Lake Brewing Company?" and "Isn't there a brewery near the DMV?" will no longer be necessary. The chamber, along with its member breweries, has put together a map highlighting each location. Looking for the hottest places to try a new brew has never been easier. "As I visited each brewery, I would hear visitors asking where they could go next to sample more local craft beers," said Justin Sinner, membership services director at Tahoe Chamber. "Now brewery staff can quickly provide an easy-to-read map showing the location of breweries in our community. We were pleased to respond rapidly to the need. It's popular with local residents, too." The Brewery at Lake Tahoe, Cold Water Brewery & Grill, Lake Tahoe AleWorX, Sidellis Lake Tahoe, South Lake Brewing Company and Stateline Brewery & Restaurant are the establishments included on the map, which was designed and illustrated by Tahoe Chamber staff member Vanessa Lopez. "The craft beer scene on the South Shore provides us with a new demographic of guests, and is not 100 percept dependent on weather," Sinner said. "Our breweries and brewery restaurants provide us with an additional indoor attraction to market throughout the year. Each brewery has its own unique personality and vibe, which makes the beer trail experience all the more fun." The chamber encourages those who wish to complete the trail to avoid driving and seek out alternative modes of transportation. The South Shore Beer Trail map is available online at

Swarm of activity on the business front

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — Fall is typically known as the slow season at Lake Tahoe's South Shore, but it may not seem that way lately with the swarm of activity in the business sector. Starting in Meyers, a new Mexican restaurant on Highway 50 is moving closer to its grand opening after nearly eight months of planning and preparation. Verde Mexican Rotisserie will serve rotisserie chicken, pork and beef either as standalone options with sides or shredded for tacos, salads, quesadillas and more. As part of its commitment to quality, co-owner Domi Chavarria said Verde will serve only free-range and antibiotic-free meats whenever possible. "We're going to be very vegetarian and vegan friendly as well," said Chavarria, who was born and raised in South Lake Tahoe. Verde is expected to open this fall. In South Lake Tahoe, changes are being made to two gyms not far from each other. Sierra Athletic Club, located in the Tahoe Keys community, recently changed hands and is now owned by Sarah Moss and Kebbra Ball. As a result, customers can expect "tons" of new group fitness classes and the addition of new equipment, according to a gym employee. The club has already received a new spin room. Ball and Moss took over the business on Oct. 1. The second gym going through changes has also switched ownership, along with its name. Push Fitness, located at 2565 Highway 50, is now Fitness Evolution. An email sent to the gym for additional information was not returned. Nearby, the Swiss Chalet Village is experiencing a significant transformation with the arrival of several new businesses. Bohemian Beads & Arts, Posh Finds, Sugared and Cold Water Brewery & Grill are all new to the shopping the center, located on the corner of Highway 50 and Sierra Boulevard. Bohemian Beads & Arts offers a large selection of art supplies, including canvas, pastels, beads, watercolors, sculpting material and drawing supplies. Owner Robyn Thompson-Cefalu said the store is the only one of its kind in the South Shore area. It opened on Halloween. Neighboring the art store is Posh Finds, a business that buys, sells and trades new and gently used women's clothing and accessories. Local Krystal Garcia owns the new store, which opened Nov. 4. "I love clothes," Garcia said. "I'm a bargain shopper at heart, and I know there are people out there like me who like expensive things but don't like to pay full price for them." Sugared is also a fairly new store that opened earlier this year. It specializes in body sugaring, skin care and massages. Cold Water Brewery & Grill's focus, on the other hand, will be handcrafted beer and "California comfort food," according to the restaurant website. The brewery, owned by Debbie Brown, is scheduled to open Nov. 21. Also worth noting is that South Shore Mad About Music has closed, and the space it occupied at the Swiss Chalet Village has been cleared out. The local record store has jumped around to several locations over the years, but it is currently unclear whether the owner plans on bringing the business back somewhere else. A call to the owner has not been returned. Finally, a new Mexican restaurant has opened behind Sushi Pier Tahoe in Stateline, Nev. Agave Azul Mexican Grill — not to be confused with Azul Latin Kitchen, which recently opened at Heavenly Village in South Lake Tahoe — is boasting an authentic and fresh Mexican food experience in the South Shore. Owner Pedro Mendez, who has been in the restaurant business for more than 35 years, owns the eatery, which started serving customers Nov. 1. Finally, a new Mexican restaurant has opened behind Sushi Pier Tahoe in Stateline, Nev.