The cure for what ales
Pull up a stool, and enjoy a frosty mug at one of these great local brew pubs
Great Basin Brewing Company
846 Victorian Avenue, Sparks;
On a cold day, there’s something so comforting about whiling away the afternoon at Great Basin, with its many televisions and cozy, casual atmosphere that feels like home. With a hot bowl of Wisconsin-Style Beer Cheese soup ($4.95) and an Icky (Ichthyosaur IPA, $4), it’s a perfect afternoon. Perhaps this is why Great Basin is a favorite local haunt—that, or the Cerveza ChiliBeso, a magical, jalapeño-infused concoction that only makes about five appearances each year (look for it this summer). And for my money, the Brewery Garlic Fries ($3.50) are the best in the world.
Silver Peak Restaurant & Brewery
124 Wonder St., 324-1864, www.silverpeakbrewery.com
Silver Peak Grill & Tap Room
135 N. Sierra St., 284-3300
Each of Silver Peak’s two locations has a unique personality. I love ’em both, but for me, an evening spent on the rooftop patio at Peak No. 1 is pure joy. The original Wonder Street location offers incredible views from its roof and fantastic brews beneath it. My favorite is the Baileywheat Hefeweizen ($3.75 a pint)—with a lemon slice, it’s incredibly refreshing. The house salad ($3.75) covered in the house balsamic vinaigrette and crunchy beet chips is known far and wide, and the Warm Double Chocolate Bread Pudding ($6) is the stuff of dreams.
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse
13999 S. Virginia St. (at The Summit),
If you’re lucky enough to get past the ever-present crowd at the front door to order from this south Reno hotspot’s extensive, extraordinarily popular menu, start with the four-beer taster. For just $4.95, you get four 5-ounce samples: the Brewhouse Blonde, Piranha Pale Ale, Irish Red Ale and the PM Porter. The Blonde is wonderful, with a light toastiness that goes well with just about anything. The Irish Red is also smooth and flavorful. BJ’s also brews a great rootbeer ($2.85), served in a frosty mug.
The Brew Brothers
Eldorado Hotel Casino, 786-5700, www.eldoradoreno.com
It may be inside a casino, but since there’s always a line to get in on weekends, they’re clearly doing something right. Get here early for dinner and one of their eight microbrews, and stick around for nightly live music. The Redhead Amber Ale recently won a gold medal at the Brewers Association’s World Beer Cup, but I love the clean, light flavor of the Lucky Lady Lager. It caps off my ideal Brew Brothers feast: the chewy Wood Oven Baked Pretzel ($2.95) and BBQ Finger Lickin’ Chicken pizza ($9.50), a smoky, spicy, heavenly thing with caramelized onions, cilantro and smoked mozzarella.
Sierra Tap House
253 West First St., 322-7678, www.sierrataphouse.com
It’s not technically a brew pub, but as one of only two direct purveyors of Sierra Nevada microbrews in the Truckee Meadows, it makes our list. Plus, with its prime riverfront location, the Tap House is a damn fine place to park yourself for an evening. It features an impressive selection of wine—including several organics—and eight beers on tap, including Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, which you can get anywhere. So I’d suggest the ESB (Early Spring Beer), a seasonal favorite that won’t be around long. It’s a mouthful of hops and rich maltiness. Grab a patio seat—if you’re lucky—and chill.