Matteo’s and Old 5 Mile House: Craft beer newcomers

CRAFT BREWS ARE THE NEW “KING OF Beers.” Their sales grew 7 percent last year when other brewers posted a decline. The number of craft brewers also continues to boom.

A growing number of restaurants in the foothills and Tahoe/Truckee are well-known for their craft beer selections: Among them, the Auburn Ale House; the Fifty Fifty Brewing Co. in Truckee; and the New Moon Cafe, Cooper’s, Matteo’s Public and the Old 5 Mile House, all in Nevada City.

“I’ve hit mother lode up here,” exclaims Tom Dalldorf, a world-renowned beer expert who publishes Celebrator Beer News, the oldest running publication of its kind. “It’s like going to Belgium.” Matteo’s Public and The Old 5 Mile House are newcomers on the block, and both are worth the trip to taste their craft brews, Dalldorf and FoodWineArt agree.

Matteo’s Public opened last summer, featuring an eclectic, home-style decor and menu. “We wanted a place where people could gather and feel comfortable,” just like at a “public house” in England, says owner Matt Margulies.

Matt also is a “beer geek,” and his beer tap has seven handles—all craft brews. His selection includes Gold Digger IPA from Auburn Ale House; Trumer Pils, from Berkeley; Stone Smoked Porter, from San Diego; Napa Smith Brewery Amber Ale; Sierra Nevada Pale Ale; Mammoth 395 IPA (infused with sage and juniper); and a seasonal ale.

Five minutes outside town, The Old 5 Mile House also is a craft-beer mecca. The beer tap includes Fat Tire, Guinness, Widmer Hefeweizen, Blue Moon and Stella Artois.

The Old 5 Mile House also offers a wide range of bottled craft beers, including the “rouge” and “bleue” varieties from Belgium’s Chimay Brewery. Chimay is made in a Trappist monastery.

“Crafted beers are like wines and can be paired with good food just as well,” says owner Robert Smith.

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