Located on the shores of Lake Tahoe, Alibi Ale Works – a CustoMiiR partner – crafts a diverse range of beers while sourcing 100% of the water used to brew from a mile down the road and straight from the source (read: Lake Tahoe). It truly doesn’t get much better than that! In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, we sat down with Co-Founder, Kevin Drake, to chat community, what makes Alibi's beer unique, and how the team will be celebrating this weekend. We invite you to grab a beer, kick back, and read on – we’re stoked to introduce you to Alibi Ale Works.
MiiR: How’re you pushing the boundaries of craft brewing? What makes Alibi unique?
Kevin: We’re definitely pushing the boundaries of style and flavor variety in our brewing program. We have two taprooms – one with 15 beers and the other with 22 beers – and every one of those are made by us. We take a lot of pride in maintaining some very traditional, true-to-style beers like the Pale Ale (our flagship beer), Kölsch, Porter, Vienna Lager…alongside some unique and innovative beers like Wild Abandon (our oak-fermented Brett IPA), Contradiction (our crowd favorite “golden mocha stout”), and Sour Kumquat Saison.
Since we don’t have a pilot system, our “pilot” batches are 15 or 30 barrels (which is 500 or 1000 gallons of beer, respectively), meaning that we take a lot of risks in the brewery and are grateful to have a strong customer base who enjoy trying new beers nearly every week. We also maintain 3+ different yeast strains in the brewery. It can be a ton of work to juggle that many yeast strains, but it’s worth it because it allows us to create unique fermentation characteristics and ensure that a flight of beers at Alibi do not all taste the same.
M: What does “community” mean to you? How did you cultivate a space for that?
K: “Connection” is one of our core values, and it has three levels: (1) cultivating a strong sense of connection between co-workers within our company, (2) creating lasting connections with our customers, and (3) being a positive force in the communities in which we operate (primarily North Tahoe and Truckee).
We’ve designed our taprooms around long shared tables where strangers become friends. We host TONS of community gatherings, whether they're birthday parties, non-profit fundraisers, wedding receptions (and weddings!), etc. In our very tourist-oriented Lake Tahoe and Truckee communities, we’ve really filled bridged a disconnect by providing flexible, affordable, casual-yet-classy spaces for people to gather. By tapping deeply into and focusing on our home market, our space not only feels like home, but it also gives us a competitive advantage.
M: Why was Alibi interested in becoming a CustoMiiR partner?
K: Initially, I was attracted by the great design, and when I learned about your mission to get clean water to people who otherwise don’t have great access to it, it was a no-brainer. As a brewery, we use a lot of water, so there is a clear nexus with MiiR. Moreover, my professional background prior to opening the brewery was focused on watershed restoration and water quality, so MiiR’s mission is something I am personally very passionate about.
M: What exciting things are happening at Alibi that we look forward to this year?
K: Come by early this summer! We’re opening up a new restaurant and taproom in our home town of Incline Village, Nevada! We took over and are renovating a 3,500 square foot restaurant space. We’ll even have a second outdoor bar with a deck, fire pit, and large outdoor beer garden. There is nothing like it in Incline Village, and we’re very excited to get it open!
M: Favorite Alibi drink on tap right now?
K: Tough choice, but our Coconut White IPA.
M: How are you celebrating St. Patrick’s Day?
K: By tapping our annual release of St. Kristi’s Nitro Dry Irish Stout, of course! Kristi Thompson is our first employee and long-time Incline taproom manager, and St. Patrick’s Day is her birthday, so this is her day! Always a great party!
Thanks for reading along, and the next time you are in the Lake Tahoe-area, be sure to check out one (or both!) of Alibi's locations! If you're interested in your own CustoMiiR partnership, head here.