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South Lake Brewing Company preps for opening

Autumn Whitney
awhitney@tahoedailytribune.com
Chris and Nicole Smith's South Lake Brewing Company is eyeing a mid-April grand opening.
Autumn Whitney / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

South Lake Brewing Company is officially on the verge of opening. Owners Chris and Nicole Smith signed a lease for their brewery in June 2016, and the process — which, from concept until now, lasted almost four years — is nearing its end.

Since the couple received their building permit in December, the site has primarily housed construction. New concrete was poured in January, along with the installation of a trench stream for draining the fermentation tanks, which were brought in approximately three weeks ago.

“We jacked up a fork lift in the storm — it was the craziest thing. The tallest portion of the brew house barely fit — there was about ¼ of an inch between the top piece and the roof,” Nicole said.

Now, few steps remain before the Smiths decorate and open their establishment, which is located on Lake Tahoe Boulevard just west of the Y.

“Coming up is dry walling and painting, and pouring the bar. It’ll be a concrete bar, and we’ll make it look nice with recycled wood,” Nicole stated.

Before those final steps can happen, the electrician and plumber to make the proper connections, when they will then passivate the fermentation tanks.

“It’s basically curating the tanks,” Nicole explained. “We’ll mix a nitric acid solution, and let that sit in the tanks for 48 hours before a water test.”

Assuming the process runs smoothly, the Smiths are looking to create their first brew in just over one week and hold a soft opening at the end of March before hosting a grand opening halfway through April.

The first drink on tap will be the Angora IPA, an unfiltered West Coast-style drink brewed with cascade, centennial, Chinook and citra hops and notes of pine forest and citrus, according to South Lake Brewing Company’s website.

A Marlette Blonde, Barrett Brown and Emigrant Saison are the next three beers the Smiths plan to release.

“We’re also partnering with TAMBA [Tahoe Area Mountain Bike Association] and sponsoring them. We’re making a special beer whose proceeds will go to making trails in the area,” Chris said.

A name for the TAMBA beer has not yet been decided, but with the organization starting to fundraise for new trails, South Lake Brewing Company will release details as soon as possible.

The brewery is also discussing the option of partnering with local restaurants to host on-site pop-ups. South Lake Brewing Company will not serve food of its own, but will offer pre-packaged snacks. The beer garden will be both pet- and kid-friendly, according to the Smiths.

South Lake Brewing Company launched its membership program, The Bär Society, in December. For $125, members get 15 percent off any purchase (beer and merchandise), whether in person or online. Members also receive a growler (made by MiiR, a benefit corporation that donates a portion of proceeds to water, education and bicycle projects) and access to Bär Society events.

South Lake Brewing Company is located at 1920 Lake Tahoe Blvd. Keep an eye on the brewery’s website, http://www.southlakebeer.com, as well as social media channels including Facebook (@southlakebrewingcompany), Twitter and Instagram (both under @southlakebrewco), for the most up-to-date information and official opening date.


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