Ol’ Republic-Matteo’s partnership shows boom in craft beer brewing

On Tuesday night at 7 p.m., Ol’ Republic will be tapping their first keg outside of the brewery at Matteo’s Public. It represents collaboration between two growing businesses, both located in Nevada City.

It also represents the boom in craft-beer brewing in our region. “I’ve hit mother lode up here,” Tom Dalldorf, a world-renowned beer expert who publishes Celebrator Beer News, the oldest running publication of its kind, has told our magazine. “It’s like going to Belgium.”

Along with locally made wines, craft beers are on a roll. Though American beer consumption is flat, the microbrew market is booming, with double-digit sales growth last year.

Craft brews have more than doubled their U.S. market share to nearly 6 percent in the past decade and 250 breweries opened last year. The more than 2,000 now operating are the most since the 1880s, according to the Brewers Association.

Earlier this year, Chico’s Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. said it would open its first East Coast brewery, in western North Carolina, to meet growing demand.

The buy-local movement is benefiting local brewers, as more palates demand local flavors. A new generation of beer drinkers in their 20s and 30s, raised on choice, are more likely to pick up a local IPA than a Bud. Chefs are encouraging microbrew and food pairings, just as they do with wine.

Here are some restaurants and brewpubs in the foothills and Sierra specializing in craft brews on tap:

This Nevada City beer and wine pub is committed to local, sustainable and organic. The beer menu is extensive, featuring Auburn Alehouse and brews like Mammoth 395 IPA, Gold Digger IPA, Allagash Curieux and seasonal brews. Our favorite experience: Any three, five or seven beers on tap as four-ounce ale tasters, just like wine flights. Outdoor patio. MatteosPublic.com

A new brewery in Nevada City featuring its own handcrafted ales and lagers. Beers include California Common (a rich amber color and deep malty body), India Pale Ale and Schwarzbier (a Bavarian black lager). An outdoor beer garden. The brewery is a new hot spot in town. OlRepublicBrewery.com

In the heart of historic Grass Valley, this sophisticated, loft-style setting with local art- work is an ideal place to relax. One of the best selections of microbrews and seasonal beers around, including Alaskan White, Speakeasy Ale’s Big Daddy IPA and Widmer Bros.’ Drifter Pale Ale. 151UnionSquare.com

Another up-and-comer is Loomis Basin Brewing Co., which we have written about here.

Other restaurants that feature craft beers include Tofanelli’s Gold Country Bistro (Sierra Nevada Summerfest, Widmer Hefeweizen and Wyder’s Pear Cider) and Smiley Guys Smokehouse in Grass Valley (“Hell or High Watermelon” wheat beer from 21st Amendment, Great White from Lost Coast and Kilt Lifter from Moylan’s Brewery—in all, 18 craft brews on tap).

There’s also Lefty’s Grill in Nevada City (Howling Wolf Heffeweizen and Sweet Grass IPA from Grand Teton Brewery) and Gold Rush Burgers & BBQ in Grass Valley (Anchor Steam, Kona Long Board, Deschutes Black Butte Porter and Fat Tire). In Truckee, Burger Me has Lagunitas IPA and Shock Top Belgian White on tap.

From Matteo’s Facebook page:
“Here is the description of the new Ol Republic beer which we will start to carry tomorrow night! We will have our house made Cappuccino Cheese Cake available to pair! Can you say YUM!

Dark Matter
Black Scotch Ale
6.8% ABV
29 IBUs
ol’ Republic Brewery’s version of this Scottish classic is a magical purple-hued black ale with a light mocha-colored head, and looks stunning served in its traditional thistle shaped glass. Created using 12 different malts this 90 shilling* has a rich silky mouthfeel, bold malt flavors and aromas, and a creamy finish. Overall hop character is low, allowing its toffee and caramel malt profile to be the highlight along with a subtle smoky character specific to this beer style.
* A nomenclature based on the now obsolete UK shilling currency

(Photo credit: Matteo’s and Ol’ Republic)

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