Craft beer booming in Sierra Foothills, Truckee-Tahoe

THE FOOTHILLS AND TAHOE-TRUCKEE are becoming a mecca for taphouses, brewpubs and craft beer breweries.

Ol’ Republic Brewery in Nevada City just won city approval for an expansion that will quadruple its production. It will begin selling bottled beer this fall.

Knee Deep Brewing received approval from the city of Auburn to expand operations to a new facility. Fifty Fifty Brewing Co. in Truckee also is planning a major expansion as early as next year.

The region offers a growing number of brewpubs, tap houses and restaurants that specialize in craft brews.

Matteo’s Public, in the heart of historic Nevada City, is one of our favorites.

It offers seven brews on tap (and was the first pub chosen for an ol’ Republic tap), along with its upscale comfort food (try the fish and chips); live music and attractive patio.

Downtown from Matteo’s and at a new location on Deer Creek, Lefty’s Grill rotates its taps with well-chosen brews.

Nevada City’s Seven Hills District is home to ol’ Republic and Jernigan’s Grill & Tap House.

Jernigan’s features 18 beers on tap, homemade food (with Niman Ranch natural beef and fresh-cut fries) and sports games on flat-screen TVs.

In Grass Valley’s Brunswick Basin, Smiley Guys SmokeHouse has 18 beers on tap, including “Hell or High Watermelon” from 21st Amendment.

The beer pairs well with Smiley Guys’ popular BBQ. The restaurant also has a pool table and dart boards.

In historic Grass Valley, 151 Union Square offers a wide selection of microbrews and seasonal beers in a sophisticated, loft-style setting with local artwork.

Other restaurants that feature craft beers include Tofanelli’s Gold Country Bistro (Sierra Nevada’s Summerfest, Auburn Alehouse’s Gold Digger IPA and ol’ Republic’s California Common).

Gold Rush Burgers & BBQ in Grass Valley also has 16 beers on tap and a spacious patio.

In the Sierra, Tahoe Mountain Brewing Co. has a restaurant in Tahoe City. This summer, it will open its Truckee brewery to the public with 15 taps, a homebrew store and a lounge.

Root Beer on Tap

Root beer’s flavor has ties to the Wild West, when cowboys ordered sarsaparilla in the saloons. Sarsaparilla and root beer originated from Native American plants.

Locally made sarsaparilla is still sold at Columbia State Historic Park, a restored Gold Rush town. Root beer aficionados can get some national craft brands on tap at local restaurants.

Sprecher’s root beer is poured from the tap at Smiley Guys SmokeHouse in Grass Valley and Jernigan’s in Nevada City.

Details magazine calls Sprecher “elegant,” praising the soda’s “almost creamy consistency.”

Watch a video about how craft beer is reviving the economy:

(Photo: Jernigan’s)

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