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Climbing a mountain. Catching the fish of your dreams. Finishing off a day of skiing. What do all of these have in common? Besides being outdoor Sierra Nevada activities, they also build up quite a thirst. What better way to celebrate than by partaking in a cold one! Here’s a handful of award winning breweries in the High Sierra to finish off your day filled with adventure.

South Lake Brewing Company

South Lake Brewing Company
Photo by: Local Freshies

Breweries should be inviting places like a community hall. A place to gather, swap stories, and quench your thirst. South Lake Brewing fits this to a tee or as the local’s like to call it “SLBC.” This brewery, only in its second year, has already won 2nd Place at the California State Fair for their Trailbuilder Pale Ale. Brewed in support of the Tahoe Area Mountain Bike Association, it’s an easy drinking & refreshing American Pale Ale perfect after a day of outdoor fun. If you’re in South Lake Tahoe, this isn’t the ONLY brewery either. We recommend checking out the full Tahoe South Ale Trail as well.

FiftyFifty Brewing Company

FiftyFifty Brewery Award Winning Breweries in the High Sierra
Image appears courtesy: Truckee Chamber Of Commerce

Last year at the largest brewery competition in the world, known as the Great American Beer Festival®, FiftyFifty Brewing in Truckee had an impressive showing. In addition to a Gold (in the German-Style Wheat Ale category) and two Bronze medals (in the Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout and Specialty Beer categories), FiftyFifty Brewing Co. emerged with the highest accolade a production brewery can achieve in an American based competition: Brewery Group of the Year. Truckee is also home to a newly launched craft distillery and three other noteworthy breweries.

Mammoth Brewing

Award winning breweries in the high sierra
Photo by: Local Freshies

Brewing since 1995, this iconic mainstay is located a hop, skip, and a bottle cap from Main Street in Mammoth Lakes. As the winningest brewery in the Eastern Sierra, a good sample of this is Mammoth Brewing’s Double Nut Brown. Gold award winner at the World Beer Cup, this dark ale is reminiscent of coffee & dark chocolate exhibiting a mild sweetness. Don’t worry… no nuts were harmed in the making of this beer. Mono County is also home to many other outstanding breweries and mountain bike experiences, creating a match made in heaven.

Snowshoe Brewing

Snowshow Brewing Award Winning Breweries in the High Sierra
Photo by: Ben Davidson Image appears courtesy: Calaveras Visitors Bureau

Aptly named after the pioneering spirit of John Snowshoe Thompson. Thompson was well known during the Gold Rush era as he delivered mail while crossing the treacherous Sierra Nevada often in the dead of winter. Just like the man himself, you can trust this brewery to serve up a tasty pint every time. A good example of one of the many Snowshoe Brewing’s award-winning brews is their Apricot Wheat Ale. This gold medal winner at the California State Fair is light & refreshing with subtle hints & aroma of fresh apricots. Just perfect on a hot summer’s day in the mountains.

With such cold, clear, pure water to be accessed, it’s no surprise that these mountains hold many award winning breweries in the High Sierra. But don’t take our word for it. Be sure to visit & explore the vast assortment of new, tried and true breweries.

Author: Alex Silgalis

Alex Silgalis is an outdoors travel writer who enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking, or having a cold one from a local mountain brewery. See more of Alex’s work at

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