Walking into the first floor of the Tahoe Mountain News office, one might expect to find stacks of old newspapers and reporters hurriedly typing away — not a tasteful nanobrewery bustling with locals.
"It's been a long time coming," said Taylor Flynn, publisher of Tahoe Mountain News, and now, proprietor of Tahoe Mountain Brews. "There's been a lot of hurdles, but we finally did it."
Flynn purchased the building at the corner of Third Street and Eloise Avenue — formerly a snowboarder flophouse — back in 2005 with the intent of turning his monthly publication into a weekly with a larger staff.
"Then the internet hit, and we decided to stay monthly," explained Flynn. "But then the question became what to do with the rest of the building because we only use one little office."
Years later, the idea of a brewery was born.
Over the last four years, Flynn has slowly worked to transform the first floor of the newspaper office into a brewery and bar. He installed hardwood floors, a redwood bar and a brick wall with open shelving. The small space features a fireplace and wine barrels converted into tables. In the back, he outfitted a brew room, a fermentation area and a large cooler.
And under the guidance of brewer Ron Buck, Tahoe Mountain Brews has been pumping out flavorful — and high-alcohol — beers in its three-barrel nanobrewery since March.
"This is boutique space. It's very small. We can only serve 14 people, so we offer short pours of very intense, high-alcohol beer," said Buck. "We want to be that brewery. No one is doing that. We've got a three-barrel system and we can't really make large quantities, so we want to make them high-quality and memorable."
The brewery has five beers on tap: The Evolution Ale (6.3 percent); the Herbal IPA (8.1 percent), seasoned with lemon grass and sage; the Imperial Rye (12 percent); the Belgian Festival (9.3 percent), sweetened with beet sugar; and the Porter (9.8 percent).
"Beer aficionados, they really love our Porter," said Flynn. "In a traditional sense, it's a first-rate Porter."
The Imperial Rye is the brewery's "biggest, boldest beer," added Flynn, and coming in at 12 percent, "it's right up there with barley wine."
A Saison is currently in the fermentation stage, and new varieties are expected to come out every few months.
"We have a nice rich summery Hefeweizen coming out next," said
Buck. "And our existing varieties are also being aged, some on oak and some with hops, so there will be new iterations of those."
As for the brewery's impact on news tips for the publication, Flynn said he has to take everything with a grain of salt.
"It's already been an eye opener," he laughed. "With a bar you really have to pick out your tidbits. A lot of it is hearsay."
Tahoe Mountain Brews is open on Friday and Saturday from 4-10 p.m.