First Craft Beerfest heading to Lake Tahoe |

First Craft Beerfest heading to Lake Tahoe

Griffin Rogers
A beer is poured Aug. 4 at a Tahoe area bar.
Griffin Rogers / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

In the mind of a brewer, there’s nothing like going to a beer festival.

“You get to see all your buddies from beer events and you start meeting different brewers and the guys that pour the beers,” said Jim Phalan, owner of the Sparks, Nev.-based High Sierra Brewery. “You get to kind of feel out what new stuff is coming out, and you usually hear the crowd say, ‘Oh, you got to try this beer. It’s delicious.”

So it almost goes without saying that Phalan is excited to have High Sierra Brewery as one of the more than 45 brewers featured in the first Tahoe Craft Beerfest on Aug. 9.

The festival, to be held at Mont Bleu Resort Casino & Spa, will allow guests to try dozens of beers from breweries around California and Nevada.

Stone IPA Brewing, Drakes Brewing and Nikasi Brewing are just a few of the featured beer makers listed at the event. But several Lake Tahoe area brewers — including St. James Brasserie and Great Basin Brewing — will also be present.

Last week, Phalan said he couldn’t decide whether to bring High Sierra’s creamy Buzzed Bee Honey Ale or its crisp Irish Red Ale.

The Irish Red Ale is a malty, crisp and light beer with a 6.2 percent alcohol content. The Honey Ale, on the other hand, is made with local wild flower honey and low amounts of hops to produce an equally refreshing taste, Phalan said.

“A lot of people are a little apprehensive of honey because they think the beer is going to be sweet,” he said. “It’s not sweet. (The honey) is very faint, very subtle. It’s a great summer beer.”

Whatever the brewery goes with, guests at Tahoe Craft Beerfest will have a chance to try it using the provided Mont Bleu tasting glass. Unlimited tasting will be open from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Games and competitions will also be available throughout the day, including Twister and a life-size Jenga tower. Cool Black Kettle and The Connor Band will provide live music, and food will include barbequed ribs, tri-tip sandwiches and charbroiled chicken.

Dave Davis, director of food beverage and entertainment at Mont Bleu, said he expects about 1,500 people to attend the inaugural event.

“This is the first one, but I’m sure we’ll grow it into an annual event,” he said.

Tahoe Craft Beerfest essentially stemmed from customer feedback, and from the immediate popularity of a fairly new craft beer bar in the casino, Davis added.

“I’d like to say it was the customers’ idea,” he said.

Admission to the festival is $25. For information on ticket sales and more, call 1-800-648-3353 or visit

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