It was not that I was surprised that there was a brewery in such a small town, it was that the beer being made at Auburn Alehouse was as good if not better than other brew pubs in more brew prolific towns. Auburn California is usually known, by the people who don’t live there, as the stop on the way to Tahoe from Sacramento. It’s a small quaint town with a country feel. It wasn’t the place I was expecting to find an amazing brewery on my short weekend trip.
The Northern California brewery and restaurant has a broad and impressive range of beers on tap. Including but not limited to, an Oatmeal Stout, a sessionable Brown, Pilsner, Lager, Oktoberfest and enough hop centric beers that would put a smile on any hop heads face.
The Auburn Alehouse has only been open a handful of years and has taken home more than a few awards. Which includes a Bronze medal for their Gold Country Pilsner at the Great American Beer Festival in 2010. Their Fools Gold is a “Pale Ale with a Punch” , a hoppy pale ale at 7.8% ABV 50 BU’s, it is not a typical Pale Ale which I thought was brilliant and insightful. It was also served on Nitro while I was in town which also is not typical of a small town shop. Gold Digger is a clean crisp IPA at 6.7% ABV 70 BU’s it is an amazing beer brewed with Magnum, Simcoe and Chinook hop varieties, with a late addition of Dry hops. The fact that this small town brewery even had an Imperial IPA was the first thing I noticed when I walked in. The PU-240, named after the Isotope essential for nuclear grade weapons is their “Weapons Grade Ale”. At 8.0% ABV 100BU’s, this hop bomb Imperial IPA has just enough Alcohol to complement the huge hop flavor. Brewed with Summit and Galena hops then double Dry-hopped with Simcoe, Columbus and Nugget hop varieties. I highlite the hoppy beers cause those are my favorite styles but every beer I tasted, and I tasted them all, was top notch and deserving of a review.
The Auburn Alehouse ties the brewery and restaurant together seamlessly with its shinny 10-barrel brewing system peering over the restaurant and bar through its tall glass walls like Optimus Prime for beer geeks ready to come alive when a patrons beer is low. On the wall above the bar are a few dozen growlers from other breweries around the country that have been collected by employees and loyal patrons who want to share their beer explorations with the brewery and town. Also with an outside patio, great food and occasional live music this beautiful rustic brick and mortar walled brewery is a place I wish was closer to home.
With the growth of the craft beer industry it is becoming more common for small breweries to produce not just beer with more flavor than the macro-brew aluminum can, but actually produce great beer. This quality over quantity production is a reflection of the craft beer movement right now and brewers knowing that with the right ingredients, care and knowledge they can make just as good of beers as anyone else, anywhere else. This competition forces innovation and is great for craft beers palate.
If you find yourself in the Auburn California area or on your way to Tahoe on I-80 make sure you stop by the Auburn Alehouse for lunch and stock up on some 22′s or a growler for the road. If you bring them a growler from your town maybe they’ll trade ya.
Support your local brewery and search out someone else’s local brewery and give it a try.