Reno on Tap: A Tour of the Craft Brewery District

By Bryan Akerley

The Reno Renaissance of the past few years has brought dozens of incredible independently owned restaurants. It seems like a new one opens every couple of months, growing districts like Midtown and the Riverwalk from eclectic neighborhoods into booming cultural hot spots. What a time for Reno food lovers to be alive!

I’ve noted this booming restaurant scene in blogs before, but I’ve barely even tapped into another product of Reno’s vibrant cultural blossoming: the beer! As so many everyday people developed their own local restaurants, so many others turned toward the immensely popular craft beer business. Now we have local breweries popping up all over town, making it impossible to visit them all in one afternoon (that’s not a challenge!).

So let’s dive into some of the most exciting new Reno craft breweries this weekend, perhaps the best weekend to do so in 2018 so far. The Nugget in Sparks is hosting its annual Brew HaHa in the Grand Ballroom on Friday, February 16, at 8 p.m. It’s a gathering of more than 100 breweries, many of them local, some regional and even national. For $50 you get entry with a cup and the chance to taste however many of these delicious beers you can responsibly enjoy. The best part is meeting the brewmasters themselves, asking them what went into their unique version of an IPA or stout. And if you find a local one you like, here’s your game plan for Saturday or Sunday.

Photo: Facebook

As it expands with more and more brewery and distillery locations, you could call the area of Downtown Reno between 4th Street and the Truckee River the Brewery District. One of the first spots to mark this territory is Pigeon Head. The self-described “First Lager Brewery in Reno” has a modern tavern vibe where you can get an inspired pilsner, a German red rye lager, the dark black Lager, a pale lager and more from the brewers themselves. In fact, as you relax and enjoy one of these beers you can see right where the magic happens in Pigeon Head’s wide open brewing area, revealing every step of the beer-making process.

Photo: Facebook

As a testament to Reno’s devotion to craft beer, 4th Street’s Lead Dog Brewery (one of the newest breweries in town) is owned by what’s very likely the youngest brewer in the country. The 21-year-old master brewer makes a great New England IPA, the citrusy Citra Solo IPA, a light blonde ale and a peanut butter stout, among others. Lead Dog, like the other breweries in this district, is lifting the 4th Street area by its bootstraps and elevating the downtown experience. Stop into its tasting room for a flight of record-breaking beers.

Photo: Facebook

Similarly, Under the Rose has become synonymous with local craft beer in recent years and is a featured choice at so many Reno restaurants. The spicy Farmhouse Saison is a favorite, and its seasonal selections like the Jalepenobeer and sour Pumpkinbeer keep things interesting month after month. Stop into its 4th Street tasting room and see what’s new, or try them all!

Last on our tour of the district’s breweries is 2nd Street’s IMBIB Custom Brews. Here you have the award-winning Freshy IPA series (always made with the freshest hops available) and the ultralight and creamy Cutthroat Cream Ale. IMBIB’s taproom has 16 beers on draft and constant events such as happy hours and discounted growler fills. Speaking of, you might want to bring a whole jug of your favorite variety home to share.

The most wonderful thing about craft beer in Reno is that this is just the start. As long as there are beer lovers in Northern Nevada, the city will continue to expand and open up new breweries, pubs, restaurants, you name it. Next time, this tour might take a whole week!

For all other events this weekend, visit our Daytime, Nightlife and Community pages.

About the Author Bryan Akerley
Bryan was born and raised in Northern Nevada and is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno. When he’s not writing, he’s keeping up with pop culture as a lover of movies, TV, music and books or out exploring the area through its restaurants, bars and nightlife. Then he’ll unwind by playing the drums or piano or spending time with his corgi, Teddy.