When I’m 64
Camping beer is like cookout food—it tastes better simply because of the setting. After three days of lake and sun and the beer drinking that went along with it, you might think I’m a little “beered out” now. But, no, my beer love never rests, and I won’t fail to bring you what’s happening in local drink.
By the time this column appears, Reno Craft Beer Week will be in full swing. As I mentioned last issue, there’s a smorgasbord of events to enjoy. One local shop will be hosting several, and rightly so as it’s a bona fide buffet of beer in Reno. SixFour Growlers is a unique business in our area. It’s a little bit bar—window painting touts “pints and flights” to drink on the premises. But SixFour feels more like a merchant, like a bakery or butcher where you would browse the goods before deciding what to enjoy with dinner. In both roles, proprietor Bret Schaeffer is more beer-monger than publican or simple retailer ringing up your purchases. He shares an enthusiasm for craft beer with his customers and looks as happy pouring and chatting about it as he would be buying and drinking it.
The eponymous growler is, of course, the 64-ounce—thus the name—container made to fill with draft beer and bring home. Once mainly the domain of breweries, filling growlers is now possible at a growing number of bars, convenience stores and supermarkets. The growler itself has evolved beyond the common glass jug also, from thermos-style stainless steel to handmade ceramic, and now the popular “Crowler,” a 32-ounce can filled from draft and sealed on demand. While you might normally bring a six pack to a party, there’s just something more sacred and communal about bringing a big jug and sharing with friends.
With 30 taps pouring a great selection of craft beer, that is SixFour’s obvious focus. Schaeffer is dedicated to the local beer community, with fully a third of his taps devoted to local or nearby brewers. He’s also involved in local beer events (see “Geek love,” Drink, Dec. 22, 2016). There are always a couple of ciders on tap as well as two kombucha varieties from Tahoe’s Folk Brewing. SixFour now also offers a single red wine selection, by the glass or 32-ounce fill-up.
But back to Reno Craft Beer Week. I stopped in for a few tasters and to ask about SixFour’s events. If you hurry, you’ll be able to catch the popular third annual Cupcake and Beer Pairing on Thursday, June 8. Schaeffer and neighboring Batch Cupcakery conspire to create delicious combos of beer and cupcakes for attendees to enjoy. The next night, stout fans will enjoy An Evening with Great Basin, which offers a flight of the award-winning Outlaw Milk Stout, plus four other versions of it.
It would be thoughtless of me not to mention two other worthy events to wrap up the week—if you’re not into cupcakes or just want to pregame before that event, head to Chapel Tavern Thursday starting at 2 p.m. for Sour Fest, pouring selections from breweries near and far for your puckering pleasure. Then, my most anticipated event of the week starts at noon Saturday at Great Basin in Sparks. CollaBREWation Festival, presented by the Nevada Craft Brewers Association, will spotlight the collegiality of Nevada brewers teamed up for one-of-a-kind special brews, bringing out the best of what they each have to offer. I’ll trade a beer by the campfire for these fantastic beers in town almost anytime.