It has been years since I last visited Reno, and even longer since I spent any real time there, so my recent road trip with Beti was a fresh experience for us both.
Our journey started on a Saturday morning as we coffeed up, fueled up, and headed north from Las Vegas via Hwy 95. Our trip was to be a short one so our plan was to discover as much of Reno/Sparks’ breweries as we could, knowing that future trips are inevitable. If there was anything we got from our experience was that are a lot of really great brewers up north. Reno loves their beer!
Since we had recently created a directory of every Nevada brewer with a taproom, we thought what better chance to test it out than someplace we are unfamiliar with. We’re happy to say that it worked great and led us to some beautiful destinations. Naturally, there were a few places on our list that we knew we had to see. And one brewer in particular was celebrating their grand opening, so we had to catch that as well. Those, and a couple more (okay, a few more) and we were set.
438.3 Miles To Go
Google Maps shows the trip from Las Vegas to Reno as 438.3 miles, or about 6 hours and 45 minutes (yawn). That’s a bit of a drive and in reality there are only a few places to stop along the way, so plan your fuel, food, and bathroom breaks accordingly. We left early so we could enjoy as much of our northern beer quest as possible.
Fortunately, about halfway to Reno is a small town known for its historic mining park, clown motel (“America’s Scariest Motel”), and craft beer. After three hours of solid driving we were ready for a break and a cold beer at Tonopah Brewing Company. Locally famous for their food, the delicious aroma of BBQ was in the air and the Hefeweizen we shared was a perfect compliment for a hot day.
If you’ve never been to Tonopah, plan a little time and check it out. This historic mining town has a lot of history going way back to the Wild West and the era of epic gold rushes. Click here for the official Tonopah, Nevada website.
Rested and ready, we got back on the road and back on track. We were, after all, only halfway there. Reno was still three-and-a-half hours away. Thinking ahead, we brought fresh coffee and some amazing pork rinds from Trustworthy Brewing that we had picked up the night before.
Reno and Beyond
A few hours later we arrived in Reno, and with the help of the NBQ brewer taproom directory, we drove straight to REVISION BREWING. In full disclosure, Revision has been on my list for a long time as a destination. We often enjoy their beers at taprooms in Las Vegas, and their beers are also available in cans at select retailers statewide. We actually sampled their “Reno As Fuck” IPA recently at World of Beer in Henderson and it was amazing. While that particular flavor wasn’t available when we visited, we found no shortage of other great IPAs to enjoy. It wasn’t easy though, since they had so many to choose from and we were pacing ourselves. A bit hungry from our drive, we retrieved the pork rinds from the car and ordered a selection of four fantastic beers as a flight, Scrog Grog, Beer Pong, Pour Decisions, and Citra Slam. It turned out, for me anyway, Pour Decisions was the best decision, although I would enjoy a pint of any from Molly’s suggestions.
Revision has created a great vibe to just sit and share a beer with a friend. They have a couple large gathering areas, one inside their main taproom, and another huge bar area complete with pool table and games in the brewery area.
We love dogs, but we especially love a LEAD DOG. Like Revision, we were familiar with their beers through taprooms, events, and retail stores. Since they were our second stop we thought best that we pace ourselves while slowly sippin’ their delightful Peanut Butter Stout in celebration of their taproom grand opening. Their party was a huge success with standing room only, which was fine by me after the long drive. The crowd was robust and we met the nicest people there. Great music, awesome beers, and fantastic company. What more could anyone want?
Our next stop led us to a bit more remote destination where we got schooled and learned far more than we drank. I mean that in a good way. Brad at STONEYHEAD BREWING gave us the rundown of each of their beers along with their backstories, making sure that we were informed of the care and love that goes into brewing their unique beers. And it was good. We liked their beers and quaint taproom with hand-drawn messages and artworks of past visitors.
Their motto of sorts is that no two people are exactly alike so why should they be forced to drink the same beers? With that, their beers range from mild to hoppy-but-balanced, from light to dark, with premium creativity thrown in for good measure. While StoneyHead is small, their beers are big, with each just a taste more memorable than the last.
Remember to adorn their wall with your mark.
Speaking of making a mark, our next stop left me impressed. IMBĪB CUSTOM BREWS had me from the moment we walked in. Everything feels so hand-crafted there that I could not help but feel that I was in the presence of master craftsmen and brewers. I guess I’m a sucker for anything “real”. We don’t get a lot of that in Vegas, comparatively speaking. A lot of things that look like wood are often made of fiberglass or 3-d printed and painted. Cell towers are disguised at palm trees – that sort of thing. So, when I discover a cool brewery with beautiful barrels, brick walls, and an essence of style that feels authentic, well, pour me a beer because I wanna stay a while.
Unfortunately, it was already turning into a long day for us, and IMBĪB was on their last hour for the day as well, so we lightly sampled a couple fantastic brews and left with our memories. I really enjoyed their Munich Dunkel (5.5 ABV) and Golden Child Belgian Strong Golden Ale (8.5% ABV), although with 18 beers on tap plus a cider, we barely scratched the surface of their offerings. Know that on our next trip we’ll make this an early stop so we can truly get more familiar with their award-winning beers.
Our last stop for the evening was just that, a quick stop. We really wanted to see what the place looked like so we stopped in THE BREWER’S CABINET just long enough to wish we had more time. This interesting brewery is split into two buildings, each beside the other. One side serves beer only, which is brewed directly above on the second floor, while the other serves craft beers and also has a full bar. Their outside seating makes them a great place to enjoy a cold one with your friends.