Wonder Aleworks is right at home with its Midtown neighbors Pizzava, Rum, Sugar, Lime, and Pizzava. The brick wall, the outdoor gathering space, the trendy cocktails and bartenders–honestly, it’s a perfect match.
Wonder has its own style, however. Instead of the tropical scene next door, Wonder Aleworks pays homage to its Reno roots and adds a touch of whimsy with hot air balloon décor floating around. Not the place to grab a Coors Light after work, the new space—which makes many beers on-site—caters to a craft beer drinker, plus offers cocktails and food.
Nothing is bottled; it’s all on draft. Choose from a mildly spicy Pineapple Pepper Hefeweizen, which is refreshing and unusual (ABV 4.7%), or a blonde ale named Something Beautiful (ABV 5.3%).
There are several IPA styles to choose from: West Coast Style (ABV 6.7%), and Hazy (ABV. 7.9%) and even a Black IPA—a dark and hoppy rendition not found easily—(ABV 7.4%). If you’re a fan of the basic fall fare, you shouldn’t skip the Wonderfall-Pumpkin Spiced Latte, a pumpkin brew that tastes of pumpkin pie and coffee, bursting with flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove (ABV 6.2%).
The Balloon Ride is a fun way to enjoy cocktails. It fits in the theme and offers a fruity twist on a margarita. But most importantly, it comes with a souvenir balloon straw. You can sip the Domaine de Canton or Corralejo Reposado, which are both flavored with pineapple and mint.
1041 S Virginia St., Reno, NV 89502
Sunday – Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-12 a.m.
Or dive deeper into local drink culture with a Nevada Cleanse, made with Fallon’s Frey Ranch Bourbon, maple ginger syrup and walnut bitters.
These are just some of the many amazing, sometimes bizarre flavor combinations available. You can also find draft cocktails and wines. Keep in mind that nothing can be bottled.
Ta-Chos served with steak at Wonder Aleworks, Midtown Reno Image by Mike Alt / This is Reno
For food, we don’t quite know how to describe the eclectic menu. You can either share a few appetizers with your friends or go easy on a salad. “Ta”chos, Taco Trio, Boneless Wings, Slider Duo & Fries, the raved-about-chef’s-special Jambalaya Balls. Perhaps oddly—or completely expected at this point—a grilled cheese sandwich served with warm tomato soup places crème fraiche and aged cheddar on Wonder Bread.
Many of the dishes can be made gluten-free or vegan to accommodate a variety of diets. One thing is for sure: this isn’t the food you’re used to getting at the neighborhood bar. A list of large shareables offers larger portions of fish and chips or cheesesteak, chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, and other options for those with bigger appetites.
If you’ve saved room, don’t skip dessert. The perfect sweet potato beignets are made with caramel sauce, pecans, and Mascarpone. Churro bites are served with spiced chocolate, and a brownie a la Mode round out this lengthy and indulgent menu.
Stay for a while on a cozy couch or make friends with staff by grabbing a seat at the bar (complete with purse hangers underneath, an important detail—trust me). Tall tables of various sizes can accommodate large and small groups. But the best place in the house is outside on a nice evening, where you can enjoy Midtown’s hustle and bustle with a cold beer in your hand.
Nora Heston Tarte has been a Reno resident since the 1960s and lives on the southern side of town. She enjoys wine, hiking and yoga, as well as travel. She is also the managing editors of a regional lifestyle publication. Additionally, she freelances for other publications that are primarily in the travel sector. She graduated from California State University Sacramento with a bachelor’s in English and is pursuing her master’s in Professional Journalism as we speak. You can follow her travel adventures and local exploits via her Instagram account @wanderlust_n_wine.