In a state where craft beer is ubiquitous, winning a top honor is a pretty big deal.

Truckee’s FiftyFifty Brewing Company won Brewing Group of the Year at the 2018 Great American Beer Festival (GABF), the highest accolade a production brewery can receive in an American-based competition. The prestigious GABF awards recognize brewing excellence in 102 beer-style categories, and this year it received more than 8,000 entries from 2,404 U.S. breweries.

In 2007 FiftyFifty co-founders Alicia and Andy Barr left their corporate jobs to start the brewery in the mountain town of Truckee. Eleven years later, the brewing company has grown significantly, with more than 100 employees and a new state-of-the-art global production facility.

“We started FiftyFifty Brewing Company because we wanted balance in our lives, we loved the experiences that come along with good craft beer, and we wanted to live in Truckee instead of just vacationing here,” Andy, the CEO, says. “To be named ‘Brewing Group of the Year’ at the GABF validates our team’s focus on quality and our decision to follow our passion.”

You can taste FiftyFifty’s award-winning product at its brewery, which serves pub-style food to pair with its annual and seasonal beers on tap. In early December, FiftyFifty will release its acclaimed Eclipse beer, a limited-edition barrel-aged imperial stout with multiple variations. Brewers throw in a creative twist with each release—this year, for instance, some of the experimental barrel blends include Maple Eclipse, Mocha Eclipse, and Cinnamon Nut Bun.

The Lake Tahoe area, it's worth noting, has become a bit of a hub for breweries. In South Lake Tahoe, try Sidellis Lake Tahoe Brewery, South Lake Tahoe Brewing Co., or stop by Lake Tahoe AleWorx to sample from 25 beers out of the self-serve taps. In Truckee, don’t miss the over-the-top nachos at Alibi Ale Works, which opened in 2017, or taste your way through the small-batch beers at Tahoe Brewing or the ales and IPAs at Truckee Brewing Company.

“We love the town, we love the community, and we love the location, with access to everything from epic powder days to world class cities within hours,” Alicia, the CXO, notes. “From a brewer’s standpoint, we have an incredible local water source, with water that has passed through centuries of natural granite filtration and a local community that embraces beer.”

For more beer-cation inspiration, check out these articles on where to taste California's best craft brews and the best destination breweries.