Underneath Sierra Tap House's metal-banded glass lamps, between its yellow walls and exposed brick, patrons gather around polished wood tables. In warm weather, they also spill outside onto a patio overlooking the Truckee River, which grants views of the river walk. The small pub first opened its doors in the midst of the 2006 Reno River Festival. Since then, its staff has poured imported and American beers, as well as rotating draft beers from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company?such as Torpedo Extra IPA, Knightro stout, and Celebration ale. Servers pair these pints with simple bar food such as pizzas, calzones, sandwiches, and chicken wings.
In 1933, the United States Constitution’s 21st Amendment was ratified, and Prohibition ended. To celebrate this landmark—and their own 21st beer release—The Brewer’s Cabinet crafted Twenty One, a West Coast Imperial IPA that blends bittering hops with rare amarillo hops. The light result is just one of the small-batch beers the nanobrewery is known for. The pub places no limits on its brewers’ creativity and style, encouraging funky flavors rather than relying on the most basic beer, a mug of wheat stalks.
To complement brews, the culinary team whips up fresh, local plates in the small onsite kitchen, ranging from lunchtime’s lamb burger with goat cheese to dinnertime’s polenta lasagna. Though customers always benefit from the hearty pub-style meals, The Brewer’s Cabinet also benefits the surrounding community. The team strives to collaborate with other area breweries, and 5 cents from every item purchased at The Brewer’s Cabinet goes to benefit The Reno Rebuild Project.
Color Me Rad stages 5K races that transform runners into mobile rainbows by launching cheerful barrages of colored cornstarch. Each color station along the racetrack flings a new, nontoxic pigment at passersby, who wear white shirts to enhance the chromatic onslaught's costuming effects. Brilliant neon-blue, green, purple, and yellow clouds dapple participants along the way, and the race concludes with a prismatic finish-line finale as sprinters chuck colors at each other in celebration. The race's noncompetitive credo shifts the emphasis from speed to silliness, and a portion of its proceeds go to local charities.
Upon registration, each runner collects a Color Me Rad T-shirt, sunglasses, sponsor gifts, and a race bib. Though they don't receive a gift packet, runners younger than 8 years old can sprint for free, provided they have a waiver signed by a guardian and won't give in to demands for gold from confused leprechauns.
The beers at Ole Bridge Pub range from the intimidatingly named Birra Demon Hunter to the adorable-sounding Reindeer Droppings. And in that spectrum, the pub has all of its other bases covered: IPAs, stouts, ciders, and even a few wines. More than 10 specialty beers fill mugs from the tap, and a single brew steals the spotlight as the beer of the day. As for non-liquid entertainment, the venue boasts a shuffleboard and 5 HD televisions, as well as scenic seats on its riverside patio.
The Sierra Nevada foothills have been tilled since the time of the gold rush, but its thin soil allows only the heartiest grapevines to thrive. But when they grow, the grapes there produce powerful wines full of intense flavors. The staff at Auriga Wine Cellars specialize in reds, which range from the peppery, black cherry notes of their Barbera to a double-gold-award-winning shiraz-and-syrah blend aged for one year in French and American oak. They complement these robust offerings with their small-batch sparkling wine and their sangiovese, which tastes of slightly spicy raspberries and strawberries with a hint of basil, thyme, and sage. They sell their vintages by the bottle, but the shop’s wine club delivers bottles to aficionados three times a year, letting them try out new vintages or spend more frustrating evenings trying to squeeze a model ship inside them.
What began as Mike Owen's small winemaking venture in a private basement in 1981 blossomed into a full-scale commercial operation by 2000. Under the name Crystal Basin Cellars, Mike and the team have continued to rely on the principles that helped them grow: they source all their grapes from local vineyards, and work with a team of part-time but dedicated wine enthusiasts. Their efforts have won them numerous accolades at the California State Fair, including a double-gold award for Best Syrah in 2013.
Just next door to the independent winery, unassumingly housed inside a former Chevron gas station, is Crystal Basin Bistro. Warm, earth-toned interiors surround patrons with quirky design elements such as a giant metal spoon, spatula, and whisk hung from the ceiling, and an outdoor patio lets them soak up the sun or practice bald-eagle calls. Internationally influenced shared plates such as carnitas tacos, Russian cheese bread, and Asian-style pork dumplings pair with the winery's renowned private-label and bistro wines, some with names inspired by jazz-age references in pop culture. Regularly, the bistro and winery explode with live-music events such as the summer concert series. From May to October, the lawn fills with music from local and nationally recognized acts such as Laurie Morvan, Ronnie Montrose Band Remembered, and the Styx tribute band Renegade Rocks.