Get a taste of Tahoe: Tahoe Brew Tours offers insight into three local craft breweries (video)
Love craft beer and want to learn more about it? Look no further than Tahoe Brew Tours, a new company that takes up to 15 passengers on in-depth tours in three of the Basin’s up-and-coming breweries.
If you sign up for the standard tour, expect a long day — although the six-hour tour feels much shorter with a drink in hand. The first stop is Cold Water Brewery & Grill, where guests receive an appetizer of their choice as well as a flight of craft beer featuring IPAs, pale ales and everything in between. The head brewer stops by to explain the brewing process for each of the drinks and answer any questions you may have.
From here the tour travels to Sidellis Lake Tahoe, a beer garden also new to South Shore. Tour participants hear from the head brewmaster and get a behind-the-scenes look at the process in the back of the brewery before sitting down with their next flight — a sample of Sidellis’ ales, lagers and sour beers.
The tour van then treks up to Alibi Ale Works in Incline Village for its third and final stop. Guests enjoy drinks — made with water from Lake Tahoe — while getting a tour of the brewing process from the brewmaster before choosing their final sample and relaxing in the taproom.
Just over a month into opening their business, Tahoe Brew Tours founders Ben Kimple and Gus Banuski are closing in on the best ways to execute the tour.
“We’re really happy with the flow. The logistics are really getting dialed in. The brewers themselves really own the tour, and they’re super excited to talk about the process,” Kimple said.
If you’d prefer sticking around in one location, the afternoon North Shore tour might be the one for you. It begins at FiftyFifty Brewing Co. in Truckee, where participants receive an appetizer and samples of seasonal beers and flagship ales. It then progresses to Alibi Ale Works, and the experience is the same as that of the standard tour.
The afternoon North Shore tour concludes with a stop at Mellow Fellow. Although none of the beer is produced on-site, the garden offers over 40 different beers from across the nation.
Standard tours cost $99 per person, and afternoon tours cost $85 per person. Each price includes an appetizer at the first location, 60 ounces of craft beer and behind-the-scenes access. There is a 15-percent discount for Tahoe locals.
“We want to get locals involved, too — it’s not just for tourists,” Kimple said.
MEET THE FOUNDERS
New York-raised Kimple and Banuski met in college at SUNY Cortland. The two originally moved to Lake Tahoe to try out the ski season, but fell in love with the region — five years later, they still call the Basin home. Their idea to launch Tahoe Brew Tours came from observing a developing trend in the area, as well as being fans of craft beer.
“We thought everything was coinciding here in Tahoe. All the breweries on the tour are within two years old,” Kimple said. “We can be a catalyst for that market. That’s what our goal is really. It’s good for them, and it’s good for us.”
Currently in the works is a partnership with Tahoe Adventure Company. Customers would be able to enjoy a morning of paddleboarding, kayaking or mountain biking followed by a brewery tour in the afternoon. Insurance details are being finalized, but Kimple suspects the new tour to be added in the next few days.
“The really cool thing we found about the brewing industry here is everyone wants to help each other out,” Banuski said.
Other future plans include Kimple and Banuski running two tours at a time. Currently there is only one company van, so they are only able to run one tour per day. As the standard tour and afternoon North Shore tour are offered on overlapping times on the same day, Tahoe Brew Tours will take whichever tour books first and blackout the other.
The standard tour begins at 11 a.m. and ends at approximately 5 p.m. and the afternoon tour begins at 1:30 p.m. and ends at 5:30 p.m. For more information, as well as a tour schedule, visit http://www.tahoebrew