As your mountain bike tires grip slick granite while you huff and puff the technical uphill of the Christmas Valley Trail, or your knees shake and creak descending the talus covered Mt. Tallac trail after a thigh-burning 3,000-foot climb, or as you’re just plain relaxing on the beach under the intense Tahoe sun all day, one phrase surely worms its way into your thought process: “A beer sounds nice right about now.”
As locals and visitors alike, many of us have come to Tahoe to push ourselves, to explore, and to enjoy the splendor of these amazing mountains. After a long day on the trail, slopes, water, or beach, South Lake Tahoe offers a plethora of thirst-quenching, hunger-killing restaurants to put a rewarding cap on a perfect Sierra day. And the burgeoning scene of craft beer, fresh food, and locally owned eateries and breweries can only serve to strengthen Tahoe’s status as a world-class, all-year outdoor playground.
Whether you’re a long-time local or a first-time visitor, don’t forget to treat yourself for all of that hard work exploring Big Blue. Here, a guide to some favorite end-of-excursion rewards.
The Divided Sky
Take in big views of Tahoe’s highest peaks looming on the ridgeline from the upstairs patio of one of the most down-to-earth bars in Lake Tahoe. Perfectly situated for adventures on the Tahoe Rim Trail or winter backcountry trips up Waterhouse Peak, this laid-back bar is a giant beacon of refreshment on the doorstep of thousands of acres of wilderness and hundreds of miles of trail. The Divided Sky serves up true 20-ounce pints of some of the finest craft beer from nearby breweries paired with just about the best sandwiches for any post-adventure cravings. A recommended pick after lapping Waterhouse Peak is a pint of Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA, accompanied by a huge Flagpole sandwich with sun-dried tomato pesto, artichoke hearts, mozzarella and more.
New to the South Lake Tahoe scene for the summer of 2016 is locally-owned MoonHouse Brewhouse. Fast becoming a favorite among Tahoe locals for the fresh food, new menus daily, and unbelievably welcoming vibe, MoonHouse has laid down roots at the gateway to some of Tahoe’s best adventures, including the Mt. Tallac Trail and Emerald Bay.
Family-friendly touches include gourmet homemade sodas and kombucha, made from real sugar and natural fruit ingredients make these sodas a refreshing treat after a long day’s hike on Mt. Tallac or a paddle to Emerald Bay. Alternatively, their pour-over coffee and potential world’s best scones make MoonHouse an epic start to an epic day.
The local’s choice if there ever was one, Sidellis Brewery pours arguably South Shore’s best craft beer, with new beers being made in house every week. Situated only one block back from the shimmering waters of Lake Tahoe, Sidellis, which opened in 2015, offers a perfect wrap-up to any day on the lake. Long tables of community-style seating mean plenty of room for your whole group to get together and recount the day’s adventures. The personal favorite on tap is the OB Amber Ale paired with the portobella French dip to replenish and refuel after a long day spent enjoying the mountains.
Mixing the German tradition of incredible beer with the French term après-ski formulates the winning formula concoction to end a day on the slopes in Tahoe. Located at the base of Heavenly Mountain Resort, Himmel Haus provides authentic German beer and food to nourish and revitalize those aching muscles. Himmel Haus also conveniently lies right off the Powerline Trail mountain biking trail during the summer, making it a nice reward for year-round excursions. If possible, plan your adventures to end on Wednesday evening to partake in Himmel Haus’ infamous trivia nights for a full day of brain and brawn.