Glass half full

The spinach artichoke dip and a sample-sized glass of beer from Fifty Fifty Brewing Company.

The spinach artichoke dip and a sample-sized glass of beer from Fifty Fifty Brewing Company.

Photo by Kat Kerlin

Fifty Fifty Brewing Co.

11197 Brockway Rd.
Truckee, CA 96161

(530) 587-2337

I just got back from a weeklong “working vacation” in Las Vegas. My co-workers called the event “Bender 2008.” Never before have I seen such mistreatment of casino pit bosses. I have also never abused myself so completely—all my nutrients came wrapped in a tortilla or from Bloody Mary mix. Eventually the shenanigans ended, and I returned to my wholesome wife and her unwavering respect for others. I was unwilling to end the decadent behavior and somewhat fearful my body might shut down upon eating one of Kat’s healthful concoctions. So when I got off the plane, I opted for a meal somewhere in the middle at Fifty Fifty Brewing Company.

Located off Highway 267, five minutes from I-80, the Fifty Fifty Brewing Company is around 30 miles from Reno, on the fringe of Truckee. With so many beers brewed onsite, Kat and I had to find our bearings with the beer sampler ($8.50). The sampler features seven different beers like Concentrated Evil and Donner Party Porter. Fifty Fifty has beers for everyone: light beers, dark beers, sweet beers and bitter beers. All are highly drinkable, with a palatable finish and exciting alcohol levels. After putting away the sampler, Kat ordered a pint of Base Camp Golden Ale ($4), and I had the Manifesto Pale Ale ($4.25). When we visited, every beer but one was on tap.

We started our meal with the spinach artichoke dip ($8.95). I quickly ate a carrot from the plate to make Kat happy before diving in with the chips. This is a great starter, incredibly rich and cheesy, with a strong garlic bite and no stringy bits of spinach to ruin the fun. My only complaint was the lack of artichoke heart chunks. Two guys next to us ordered the nachos grande, which was about a pint glass tall and could likely soak up a half gallon of Fifty Fifty’s strongest beer.

For entreés, Kat picked the all-natural pork chops ($24.75), while I went all American burger ($10.25) with Swiss cheese. I liked the presentation of Kat’s meal—two pork chops precariously stacked upon whipped potatoes, drizzled with a bourbon glaze and garnished with a spicy mango salsa. This was plated alongside a large portion of sautéed squash and zucchini, which glistened with butter. My burger was standard fare on a white bun with French fries and a pickle. If I had known I was paying $1 for a paper-thin slice of cheese, I would have smeared the extra artichoke dip on top.

Aside from the main event, everything tasted great. The crispy fries, the bourbon-glaze-soaked potatoes, the garnishes and the appetizer delighted. Yet my organic beef burger tasted dry, and Kat’s pork chops tasted, well, like not much. Unfortunately, people want to eat real food at brew houses. When will greasy appetizers and stellar beers be enough?

As a responsible citizen, I recommend bringing a designated driver with you before entering Fifty Fifty Brewing Company. Navigating I-80 after a few pints of their Foggy Goggle Belgian White is likely to put you in a ditch. If you enjoy beer, you will want to try more than just one.