Day 54 – Fernley to Reno, NV

Miles biked – 35

Approx total miles biked – 2643

Days until party in Seattle – 21

10/23/2009  Reno was never on our map when we were planning this trip, we had this idea that it was not a town we wanted to stop in.  Instead, we were going to stay in Fernley and then circumnavigate the big city and stay in Stead the next day.  The twig however, had other plans.

We woke up at The Lazy Inn in Fernley and walked over to the Wigwam diner for a big breakfast.  We had lots of eggs and coffee and then hopped back on i80 for our last hurrah into Sparks, Reno’s sister city and home to our first brewery stop in a week: The Great Basin Brewery.   We had been emailing with their general manager Tom and set up a tour and a lunch stop before going on to Stead, where we’d arranged our first stop.  It sounded like a great day in comparison to the many lonely nights before, but Tom mentioned something that ended up making it even better: the first annual CanFest at the Grand Sierra Hotel and Casino in Reno.  In attendance would be some old favorites – Oskar Blues and New Belgium, along with some beers that we’d been hoping to try, like Reno’s own Buckbean, and some California brews like 21 Amendment and Anderson Valley, and a beer we missed along the way, Minneapolis’ Surly Brewing Company.  It was pretty much going to be the awesomest beer event since the Great American Beer Festival (at least for us… although we did miss the GABF this year… so i suppose it was the awesomest beer event of our trip).   After a few emails to our friend Allison at the Brewers Association we found our way on to the guest list for the event and decided that if we were going to spend the night trying canned beer we would not be biking to Stead so we called up the Grand Sierra can got very reasonable rooms for the night.  Might as well do one more night in a hotel while we were still in Nevada, especially if it was cheaper than our last motel and much nicer!

Our new plan in action, we got a great tour of Great Basin, including the opportunity to help brew a little beer!  We helped mash in their latest pilsner, which was much harder than we expected.  It was like trying to stir a bowl of hot oatmeal the size of a small apartment with a little green kayak paddle.   After that, we learned a little bit more about their brewing process, including all the local ingredients that they integrate into their brews.  They also do a lot of experimentation with their beer.  Tom told us “that’s why we are in this industry, to try to new things.”  So true, so true.  Their experiments have lead to some great beer, and their brew pub has some great food to boot.  No wonder they are selling so much of there beer that they have to contract out their most popular beers to keep up with demand!

After the tour, we went for a short ride with Brian, our new friend from  Since we’d decided to bipass Stead, we didn’t get to take a longer ride with him but he did give us some great tips about the Feather River Canyon, which we’d be riding very soon and took us by a local bike shop so that we could restock on tubes after our 15+ flats on I80 in the last week.  It was great to be back in civilization!

Saying goodbye to Brian, we made our way over to the Grand Sierra.  What a beautiful hotel!  After showering up we went down to the theatre where they were staging CanFest.  It was a great event.  We tried all the beers we’d never had, including a very cool Coconut Porter from Maui Brewing Company to which we added some chocolate ice cream thus creating a mini beer float.   Delicious!  We also made friends with a few of the brewers.  Ryan from Great Basin was there and Colin from Buckbean (the hosts of the evening) showed us the full size airplane behind the current on the acre size stage.   We met a ton of different people, from beer drinkers to beer reporters to beer distributors and felt like we’d made the right decision and we’re in just the right place at the right time.

After Canfest, we explored the casino and ended up on the dance floor along side some very impressive line dancers.  Who knows why we wanted to avoid Reno, it was one of the funnest nights of the trip!

Great Basin Brewing

Great Basin Brewing

Bike and Brew with Paul Gatza of the Brewers Assoc at CanFest Reno

Bike and Brew with Paul Gatza of the Brewers Assoc at CanFest Reno


4 Responses to “Day 54 – Fernley to Reno, NV”

  1. Patrick
    28. October 2009 at 01:46

    Where’s your party in Seattle going to be? I live here, so I could meet up! I hope you’re hitting up the Elysian; it’s my favorite brewery in Seattle.
    Oh, I see your itinerary has it, plus Mac & Jacks and Pyramid. I would skip Pyramid and replace it with Pike Brewery or Naked City Brewery/Taphouse. Pyramid makes some good beers but it’s only barely a Seattle brewery anymore – it was acquired by Magic Hat and the rumor is that they do most or all of the brewing in CA now. Pike Brewery is right by Pike Place market and is actually one of the oldest breweries in Seattle.

  2. » Day 54 – Fernley to Reno, NV | Reno Attractions!
    28. October 2009 at 13:10

    [...] Excerpt from: » Day 54 – Fernley to Reno, NV [...]

  3. Westward98
    28. October 2009 at 20:56

    Canfest WAS great!… But that great coconut porter you tasted (gold medalist, world beercup) was in fact from MAUI Brewing – not Kona.
    Happy travels…

  4. Bike and Brew and Buckbean Beer | Tallcan TV
    31. October 2009 at 11:33

    [...] After Canfest, we explored the casino and ended up on the dance floor along side some very impressive line dancers. Who knows why we wanted to avoid Reno, it was one of the funnest nights of the trip! Read More [...]

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