This season, you can get beer with a little extra gold at ski areas in the North Lake Tahoe area, thanks to Truckee’s FiftyFifty Brewing, which won Brewery Group of the Year at the 2018 Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colo.

“Our hope was to come home with a medal,” says Alicia Barr, FiftyFifty’s co-founder and Chief Experience Officer. “The Brewery Group of the Year is based on a point total of how many medals you win that year. We came home with three medals, which blew our minds.”

Those medals included a gold in the German Style Wheat category for their brew “Bananenhängematte,” bronze in the Specialty Beer category for “I Did It for the Cookie,” and bronze for the brewery’s iconic Barrel-Aged Strong Stout entry, “Eclipse.” “We’ve been brewing [Eclipse] for 11 years now, and it’s definitely gained a kind of cult following.”

You can find FiftyFifty brews at Northstar, Boreal, Sugarbowl, and Squaw Alpine this season.

Four Ski Town Great American Beer Festival Medal Winners

Eclipse from FiftyFifty Brewing

The wax color on the bottle indicates the type of bourbon barrel used in the aging process, so mix and match colors to get different tastes.

  • Location: Truckee, Calif.
  • Nearest Ski Area: Northstar
  • IBUS: Varies // ABV: 11.9%
  • GABF Category Bronze Medal: Barrel-Aged Strong Stout.

Kveik 1 from Shades Brewing

At first taste, you might mistake this beer for a Chardonnay, but it transforms into a delicious sour by the time it hits the back of the tongue.

Shades Brewing Kviek 1

The Kveik 1.

  • Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Nearest Ski Area: Solitude
  • IBUS: NA // ABV: 6.3%
  • GABF Category Gold Medal: American-Style Sour Ale

Colorado Kölsch from Steamworks Brewery

An easy-drinking brew with notable Kölsch flavor, but brightened up with just a kiss of hops that adds a hint of American craft taste

The best ski town beers of 2017's GABF: Ski Town Gold

Speargun from Snake River Brewing

A perfect beer for coffee lovers. Smells like a fresh French Press, flows over the tongue like a lighter beer with a coffee-esque finish.

See all of the results from the 2018 Great American Beer Festival.


Melvin Brewing

Ski Town Gold

Until beer brewing becomes an Olympic sport, gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival are as good as it gets for ski town breweries.