Beer + Pizza = Heaven(ly Village)

Be sure to check out Part One of this post, Have You Ever Attended a 'Vertical' Progressive Meal?

I want to start with a quick story. My husband and I attended a wine festival in the morning and a beer festival in the afternoon. The next day, we were walking down the hallway at our hotel and both spotted something on the floor up ahead. It was a pair of shorts. "Those are your shorts," he said. Yes, they were. I quickly gathered my discarded shorts from the communal space and returned them to our room. I may have been beet red.


In other words, the wine and beer festivals were a huge success.


(I'd been carrying the shorts in from the car and hadn't noticed I'd dropped them. It's a more entertaining tale without this little detail, but what would my Nana think if she read this? I bet you were alarmed for a moment there, just as my parents were when I told them this same story. It had sounded more funny, and less awkward, in my head.)



heavenly village activities

SN and I recently attended the inaugural Fall Ale Fest at Heavenly Village, which is at the south end of Lake Tahoe. We'd spent the morning sipping fine wines and indulging in gourmet food at the Autumn Food and Wine Festival an hour away and were expecting that this would be similar, just with beer instead of wine.


We were so naive. Actually, I think the event organizers may have been just as surprised as we were, as their response when I emailed about the 2019 Fall Ale Fest was, "It’s just a small fall event we put on in September."



fall ale fest

Small fall event it was not. The Heavenly Ski Resort was packed with young adults looking to drink as much beer as possible for $25. It was like Spring Break in Key West! (At least, it was what we imagine Spring Break in Key West would be like, old fuddy duddys that we are.) We're old souls and I could tell right away that SN wished we were anywhere else. I feared he might be right.



live entertainment at south lake tahoe

We'd come all this way though. I accepted my tiny (so cute!) commemorative beer glass with an open mind. Then, a funny thing happened.



fall ale fest souvenir glass
Before: My social anxiety was on high alert, certain I had no business mingling in a crowd of rambunctious young adults.

Best beer festival in california
After: Woooo! Rock on! I love the Fall Ale Fest!

Kitty Deschanel, event blogger
What social anxiety? I was chatting with vendors and collecting free Chapstick (free Chapstick!) and may have even danced to a song or two.

south lake tahoe heavenly village
Not shown: Me dancing to a song or two. You'll just have to take my word for it.

live performance at the ski resort
This singer was so talented and I even told her so when I saw her off-stage. Hooray for liquid courage!

chicken wing cookoff
There was a chicken wing cook-off, featuring local chefs from California Burger, Fire & Ice, Gunbarrel Tavern and Eatery, Kalani's at Lake Tahoe, and Social House.

Gunbarrel Tavern and Eatery 
Holding a puppy to improve your chicken wing popularity? Shameless. I also totally voted for this guy. You try saying no to that widdle puggy face. 
(The dog, not the man.)

They're Gunbarrel Tavern and Eatery and they actually did win.

Kona Brewing
And, of course, there were endless beer samples. Some were from well known brands, like Kona and Sierra Nevada.

FiftyFifty brewing
Others were new to us, like FiftyFifty Brewing from Truckee, CA. 

Despite the event's popularity, we never had to wait behind more than 2 or 3 people in any line. Often, there was no line at all. The event organizers did a great job spacing the vendors apart.

Alibi Ale Works
We'd never heard of Alibi Ale Works. It's local to Lake Tahoe, but we need it here in Albuquerque, which is really saying something because we already have an unrivaled brew scene here in New Mexico. 

They ran out of the "???" beer just as I arrived for a glass and I died a little inside. SN gave me a sip of his, but just a teensie one because he's stingy and this was delicious. It was unlike any other drink I've ever had, like a beer crossed with a Mocha Frappuccino.

Sierra Nevada beer
This vendor was a good sport when I took a second Chapstick "for my husband." He knew it wasn't for my husband. SN doesn't even wear Chapstick.

Come to think of it, a vendor at a 6 hour beer festival probably has to be a good sport about a lot of things.

Boochcraft alcoholic kombucha review
I discovered my new favorite beverage at the Fall Ale Fest - Boochcraft alcoholic kombucha! Did you know this is a thing? From now on, it's all I want to drink. 

Well, that and water. I'm not an alcoholic. It's kombucha so it's healthy! The grapefruit is the best one, by the way, but the orange and the grape are also fizzy perfection, like summer in a glass. Not shown here is a turmeric version. Oh, and one with ginger, which I assume could be used as a substitute for ginger beer in mixed drinks, such as a Moscow Mule.

Boochcraft has a tool on their website to help you find their kombucha near you...and there is none near me. :'( 

Clearly, we need to move to California.

what to wear to a beer festival
A few dozen beers later (they were little), we found ourselves craving something to eat. Surprise, surprise. 

We thought we might wait until leaving the Heavenly Village to get some dinner, but that idea seemed ludicrous the moment I walked past the outdoor dining section of Base Camp Pizza Co. There, a family was enjoying a pizza that was completely buried beneath a mountain of crumbled bacon. (We later learned this one is appropriately named the "Big Mountain" pizza.)

I'm not made of stone.


Base Camp Pizza Co review
This pizza restaurant and the beer festival were meant for each other. Look at the size of my water glass!


Thai Chicken Curry Pizza
Base Camp Pizza Co has been voted the best pizza in Lake Tahoe and the title is well-deserved. Half our pizza had meat, meat, and more meat, which was great, but the real winner, and the reason we will seek out Base Camp Pizza Co every time we're near Lake Tahoe from now on, is their Thai Chicken Curry pizza. 

It's described as "Curry sauce topped with roasted chicken, crisp yellow bell peppers, fresh tomatoes, red onion, and mascarpone cheese topped with fresh lime slices, basil and cilantro. Ask for it spicy if you like the heat!" 

You'd better really like the heat because ours was the non-spicy version and it still had a bite, which is really saying something coming from the green chile capitol of the world. OMG, it was amazing.


Pizza Tip: Add Fresh Lime Juice
From now on, I must have fresh lime juice squeezed onto all of my pizza. Remember how I used to be a Pizza Hut manager a million years ago? We didn't even have limes.

Crowd enjoying the Fall Ale Fest at Heavenly Village
With our appetites satisfied and tiny beer glasses in hand, we rejoined the Fall Ale Fest. The crowd had begun to wind down. (Have I mentioned this was a 6 hour tasting?) Groups of friends mellowed in the sunshine, enjoying the band and a few last sips.

Cowboys love beer, even sipped from tiny glasses
My SN, who hates crowds and who had initially regretted agreeing to take me to the Fall Ale Fest, didn't want to leave.


alcoholic kombucha
I was happy to stay. One more alcoholic kombucha, please!

event consultant
 The inaugural Fall Ale Fest was a rave success. Heavenly Village offered something for everyone, including shops and activities for that important time between sampling and driving home. 

I hope there will be a 2020 Fall Ale Fest (and a Spring Ale Fest, Summer Ale Fest, President's Day Ale Fest...) and that I'll see you there!

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