“Welcome to altitude.” That’s the slogan of Mammoth Brewing Company in Mammoth Lakes, one of the kick-back-and-relax taprooms and beer pubs dotting California’s mountain country. After a wintry day carving the moguls or riding in the terrain parks, or hiking a granite trail in summer, these craft breweries are the perfect place to chill out with a cold one. Mammoth Brewing uses local ingredients, such as wild elderberries and hops grown near the White Mountains to the east, to flavor its signature beers. Sample the results in the tasting room or at picnic tables outside.
Also in Mammoth Lakes you’ll find Black Doubt Brewing, a 1,200-square-foot self-described “nano-brewery” specializing in Belgian-style ales, sour beers, and other barrel-aged creations. In the mountain hamlet of June Lake, just north of Mammoth Lakes, June Lake Brewing offers a full suite of beers in its high-elevation taproom. Try a creamy, slightly spicy Alpers Trout Pale Ale, or Hutte Double IPA, proclaimed “a goliath of beer.”
The Lake Tahoe region has almost a six-pack-full of microbreweries pouring ales, stouts, pilsners, and more. In Truckee, enjoy the brews and relax in the restaurant at FiftyFifty Brewing Company (be sure to try the oak-bourbon-barrel-aged Eclipse Imperial Stout) and Truckee Brewing Company, where on Mondays there’s a 50 percent discount on all beers (barring holidays). In Tahoe City, Tahoe Mountain Brewing and Brew Pub offers free tours of its brewery. At the California-Nevada border on the lake’s south shore, Stateline Brewery & Restaurant is practically at the bottom of the Heavenly Gondola, making it a popular après-ski hangout.