Truckee’s FiftyFifty Brewing Co. celebrates 10 years of creating craft brews |

Truckee’s FiftyFifty Brewing Co. celebrates 10 years of creating craft brews

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FiftyFifty Brewing Co. appreciates the dedication to the perfect beer with deference to strict style guidelines saying, “If it tastes good, it is good. That’s it!”.

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Truckee has inspired delicious frothy delicacies including the “Foggy Goggle Belgian Wit”, “Summit Pale Ale”, and “Donner Party Porter” — all of which are available at local watering hole, FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

The brew house has been pouring draught beers for locals and visitors for the past 10 years and to celebrate, they’re hosting a community block party on Sunday, June 4.

A Community Effort

Co-founder Alicia Barr said the block party is a way for she, her husband, and their FiftyFifty team to thank the locals for their role in seeing the brewery into its 10th year in Truckee.

“We realize the reason we’ve been here for 10 years is because of the local’s support in the off-season,” Barr said. “The tourists will find the breweries when they’re here visiting, but it’s the support of the loyal locals that we would like to say ‘thank you’ for.”

Barr and her team are on a first-name basis with their regulars, they’re even known to text their most frequent visitors to let them know when their favorite beer is back on tap.

“It’s surreal to be celebrating 10 years and to be launching the new facility,” said Barr of their big, upcoming plans.

New Production Facility

FiftyFifty has expanded to a second location, which will serve as their production facility off of River Park Place. The facility will operate solely for distribution of their North Lake Tahoe flavors in bottles and cans.

“Cans fit the lifestyle here – you just grab them and head out to the beach or the golf course without worrying about glass bottles,” Barr said.

If scheduling goes without a hitch, they plan to have cans as well as their bottled brews available to the public this July.

“There is beer in the tanks that we hope to distribute in July,” Barr said.

You’re Invited to a Block Party

FiftyFifty’s Block Party will be held on Sunday, June 4, at their location on Brockway Road. They encourage guests to walk or ride a bike to the event rather than driving, those who do will receive a raffle ticket for swag and gift cards.

The party will feature live music from the FiftyFifty Band, comprised of current and past employees who will open for the Broken Keys, a local band also featuring employees. Closing the live performances will be Wanted for Treason, who are known to get the crowd moving.

Food and drink tickets will be available for purchase at the free event and proceeds will benefit the Truckee Trails Foundation whom co-founder, Andy Barr, called a vital part of our community and lifestyle.

During the block party guests will have the opportunity to use a shuttle, which will take partygoers to visit the new facility on two to three trips throughout the day.

How to: Brew FiftyFifty (the condensed guide)

“We want to be the draught beer of Truckee, so we’re expanding to bottle distribution of our barrel-aged beers,” Barr said.

Currently, FiftyFifty is in 20 states across nine countries. Their brewing process begins with 55-pound bags of grail, which are poured into their mill.

Next, the tough outer shell of the grain is broken down as it moves through the grist case and into the mash tun.

Barr said through their method they’re able to control the amount of grain used, saying, “it’s like steeping tea, we don’t want too much and we constantly stir it so it doesn’t clump together.”

One to one and a half hours later, the liquid is piped into a kettle, which doubles as a whirlpool.

“The whirlpool boils the liquid, kills any bacteria and is critical to the beer’s shelf life and flavor,” Barr said. “It’s a challenge brewing at altitude because water boils at a lower temperature and we need to be sure that the kettles get hot enough to produce the quality of beer we hold to our standard.”

Throughout the boiling process Barr said they gradually add hops at various points as the whirlpool drops sediment to the bottom, keeping the brew clear.

Afterward the beer goes through a heat exchanger, after which yeast is added to ferment the sugar into alcohol over a period of one to two and a half weeks, depending on the beer style.

Finally, the beer is transferred to a brite tank where it chills and is carbonated and voila — some delicious FiftyFifty beer.

“Some of these steps might not be exact,” Barr laughed, “I haven’t been back here brewing in a while.”

Both she and her husband have worked firsthand in each area of their business, from brewing beer to serving the beverages.

“We’ve been there, we know every single element,” Barr said.

She explained it being important to both founders that they had firsthand experience of each facet of the business, so they worked in every role FiftyFifty employs. Following their hands-on experience, they hired expert brewers, servers, and party coordinators to their team.

In order to thank their team and the stellar Truckee locals for seeing them to this 10-year milestone, the Barrs extend an invitation to their community block party in excited anticipation of their bottled and canned suds debut this summer.

Cassandra Walker is a features and entertainment reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at, 530-550-2654 or @snow1cass.

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