Las Vegas Brewing News
Red Dwarf Drawing Fans of Beer, Tiki, Pizza and Live Music
A new arrival to the Las Vegas craft beer scene is Red Dwarf. The tiki/craft beer/pizza bar, situated at 1305 Vegas Valley Dr. just east of Maryland Pkwy., opened in late December and is owned and operated by Russell Gardner. A Las Vegas native, Russell’s been in the beer biz his whole adult life, working as a professional brewer, in distributing, running bars and most recently bartending at Astronomy Aleworks. Many will also remember him for his big beard and trademark handlebar moustache.
Russell says he chose the name because he’s always liked two-word bar names and it’s also a nod to a Detroit legendary devil and annual parade by the same name that is held to drive out the devil and bad omens. As for the design of the bar, Russell said, “If I was a bar, this is how I would look—punk, rock and roll, divey, but nice.” He added that he wanted a true neighborhood bar that’s not a chain where people can hang out and feel comfortable. Red Dwarf has no gaming or smoking (except on the outdoor patio) and the décor features hanging tiki lamps, album jackets from all music eras and styles sealed in the bartop and a music history wall filled with posters from concerts held in Las Vegas from the ‘50s to present day. Adding to the tiki feel are nautical touches like the draft system in the shape of ship steam pipes hanging from the ceiling, which Russell designed himself.
Tiki drinks are currently half of the beverage sales, with the likes of Halekulani with bourbon, lemon, pineapple, grenadine and orange bitters. The other half of the sales are craft beers, and if you know Russell at all you won’t be surprised to learn the craft beer list is top notch, with about 50% local representation. During my visit, locals pouring included Big Dog’s/Juxta Nomad Hot Dog Water Triple IPA, HUDL Honey I Berried the Showgirl Honey Ale and Tenaya Creek El Charro Mexican Lager. There’s also Dwarf Piss, an all-malt light, clean lager made by Astronomy Aleworks that can only be found at the bar. Prices are quite reasonable with the Dwarf Piss only $4 a pint, others $5-$7 and tiki drinks $10-$14.
In addition to the drinks, there’s a scratch kitchen specializing in Detroit style pizza, which features a 24-hour fermented light, fluffy, crispy crust with toppings under the cheese and sauce on top. After tasting it, I can see why many of the faithful customers come just for the pizza! The wings are also exceptional, and come in varieties of mild, hot, hot BBQ and spicy garlic honey.
Music is a definite part of the vibe, with a wide range of genres playing and live bands performing about once a week. Thus far there have been garage, blues, rockabilly and heavy metal bands and an old-time burlesque show. Red Dwarf is open daily 11 a.m.-1 a.m. For the tiki and food menu visit m.facebook.com/reddwarflv
Drink Beer for a Good Cause
A special beer brewed for a good cause is the ALS Hops 4 Hope. A fundraising arm for the ALS Association Nevada Chapter, the charity was created in 2018 by Chris Curtis, a huge craft beer aficionado and founding member of CraftHaus and Mojave Brewing who passed away in December 2020 from the disease, as a way to marry his love of craft beer with raising awareness and money for patients living with ALS in Nevada.
The beer was brewed at Able Baker on April 8, 2022, by several local brewers including Able Baker Head Brewer Matt Marino, Big Dog’s Director of Brewing Dave Pascual, Juxta Nomad Kyle Weniger and Sierra Nevada North Carolina Head Brewer Scott Jennings (a longtime friend of Matt’s who flew out for the brewing). The beer is a 7% West Coast IPA with Chinook, Talus and Centennial hops. Matt Marino has been involved with the charity since its founding, but the cause has even more meaning now, after his father Marty’s recent ALS diagnosis.
There will be two release events, one hosted by 595 Craft Kitchen on May 11 and a second one at Khoury’s Fine Wine and Spirits on May 13. Both events will begin at 5 p.m. and will also feature beer from local breweries who are donating one-off kegs to help raise money for the local ALS Chapter. The beer will also be available at Able Baker on May 15 and the rest of the kegs will go out the following week to participating accounts including most of our local breweries (Astronomy, Banger, Big Dog’s, CraftHaus, HUDL, Las Vegas Brewing, Lovelady, Mojave, North 5th and Tenaya Creek) and craft beer bars such as Atomic Liquors and The Silver Stamp. You can donate by showing up to buy a pint of the beer or by visiting here.
May Beer Events
Banger Brewing, the only brewery on Fremont Street, will host El Heffe Cinco De Mayo Weekend May 5-8 in celebration of its very popular El Heffe. The year-round pepper beer spiced with jalapeno, habanero, serrano, red and green bell peppers is available year-round, but during the four days four other variations will be brought out: SPICY El Heffe with ultra-hot Scotch Bonnet peppers, El Heffe with Lime & Cilantro, El Heffe with Mango and Michelado El Heffe with the classic mix blended with the standard El Heffe. The best way to experience them is to order a flight of four (with one of each). In addition, there will be some other one-offs of El Heffe, such as “La Heffa”—El Heffe inspired Margarita, one infused with pineapple and one with pickle.
The 14th Annual Lee’s Beer & Tequila Experience will take place on May 7 at the Thomas & Mack Center at UNLV from 2-6 p.m. featuring unlimited tastes of more than 300 craft beers and 70 tequilas. Food will be available for purchase in this outdoor event, and a live DJ will provide entertainment throughout the day. All proceeds will go to help Lee’s Helping Hand Foundation, a local nonprofit. Tickets are $60 in advance and $70 at the door. To purchase tickets visit here.
Las Vegas Brewing Company Now Open
Las Vegas Brewing Company is now open and is the city’s newest brewery. Located at 3101 N. Tenaya just south of Cheyenne in the same spot as the original Tenaya Creek Brewery and subsequent PT’s Brewing, the 10-barrel brewing system is also the same, but three 10-barrel fermenters have been added and a canning line is on the way.
The beer is crafted by local brewing legend Dave Otto, who has been a professional brewer since 1997, brewing at Holy Cow!/Big Dog’s, PT’s Brewing and Tonopah Brewing Co. and racked up nearly a dozen Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup medals, making him one of the most experienced and award-winning brewers in Nevada history. Brewing alongside him is David Marcolongo and together they have plans to make core beers of a West Coast IPA, Hazy IPA, Blonde Ale, Irish Red, Irish Stout, Light Lager and a rotating Sour Ale. One of the more interesting beers I enjoyed during my recent visit was the Blue 42 Sour, infused with blue raspberry Jolly Ranchers which, to my taste, was quite refreshing and the perfect balance of sweet and sour.
Surprisingly, no brewery up until now has opened with Las Vegas in its name, which co-owners (husband and wife) Kyle and Jamie Dolder registered 2.5 years ago when they first began planning the brewery. The new décor features an entrance adorned with wall murals depicting iconic Las Vegas symbols and images, which is fitting not only for the brewery’s name, but also because Jamie is a fourth generation native Las Vegan.
In addition to the beer, a full menu is served. The illustrious chef Jean Paul Labadie was brought in as a consultant and the kitchen is helmed by executive chef Hollin Rothmann, who has held positions at Picasso, Sage and Carson Kitchen. Her elevated taproom menu is designed to complement the house-made beers, with scratch sauces and items including a sausage board, beer cheese fondue, pimento cheese made with the brewery’s Penny O’ Reilly’s Irish Red Ale, spinach & artichoke flatbread, house-cured chicken wings with sweet and spicy citrus glaze and one of the best desserts I can remember ever tasting: pretzel bread pudding with salted caramel sauce.
The dining room is kid-friendly, and there’s even a children’s menu, and both the bar and dining room are non-smoking. As I write this, hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily, but in the coming weeks plans are to open at 7 a.m. with a full breakfast menu.
Kyle Weniger Wins IPA Smackdown
The Aces & Ales IPA Smackdown last month attracted entries from 13 local breweries going head to head in brackets to compete for the coveted belt for the city’s best IPA, voted by patrons tasting the brews. The final winner was our favorite (and only) local nomad brewer: Kyle Weniger, winning with his Juxta Nomad 9% ABV Hot Dog Water Session-triple IPA, which he brewed in collaboration with Big Dog’s Brewing. Kyle related that the beer is actually a double IPA and the session-triple reference was “just to be cheeky.” Regarding the title win, he said, “It feels great to be representing the belt for the next year, although I can’t take all the credit. The fellas at Big Dog’s certainly know their way around a solid IPA and I was lucky to be able to work with them on this project. Plus, they had some super fun hops to play with so that definitely didn’t hurt! Above all, the event was a blast! It’s nice to see businesses back in full swing, the public back out supporting and it’s always a good time when the local brewers get together. My hat goes off to the Aces and Ales crew for putting it all together; the house was PACKED but in the end it all worked out.”
North 5th Brewing Adds Beer Garden
North 5th Brewing now has a dog-friendly beer garden, established in the front of the North Las Vegas brewery. Show up with your leashed furry best friend on Thursdays for Yappy Hour beginning at 5 p.m. and get discounted beer all night long. They are also hosting Sunday brunch from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. with food from The Torta Chaser food truck. Menu items include breakfast tacos, chilaquiles, sandwiches and buttermilk pancakes; and to go with the food the brewery has its versions of micheladas, beermosas, an IPA shandy and a Mexican-style lager.
Great Vegas, formerly known as The Great Vegas Festival of Beer, will celebrate its 10th year with two events at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center (200 S. 3rd St.). The Taco-Tiki Throwdown on April 22 from 7-10 p.m. is an all-inclusive food and beverage experience in a competition setting with innovative tacos and elevated tiki-style cocktails prepared by a dozen local chefs from a multitude of cuisines competing to make their version of the best taco, and Vegas’ leading mixologists competing for glory with tiki-inspired cocktails. The Great Tasting on April 23 from 3-7 p.m. (early entry at 2 p.m.) will offer unlimited sampling of craft beer, cider and other liquid treats; a curated food truck selection; special bites for VIP ticket holders; interactive games; beer education seminars; karaoke; and a silent disco. For more info and to purchase tickets visit greatvegasbeer.com.
The Big Dog’s Brewing 11th Annual Peace, Love & Hoppiness Festival will be held in the outdoor area of the Big Dog’s Draft House at Craig Rd. and Rancho in northwest Las Vegas on Saturday, April 16 from 3-8 p.m. This fest pays homage to hop-forward beers and bold BBQ flavors and will feature bold IPAs and double IPAs from Las Vegas and around the country. This pay-as-you-go event offers free admission, live music and more than 50 brews on tap. For more info and to purchase a tasting package visit here.
The First Friday Foundation 1st annual Beer Festival will take place on Friday, May 6 from 7-10 p.m. at 1025 South 1st St. Put on by the City of Las Vegas and the Nevada Craft Brewers Association and running concurrently with May’s First Friday, there will be more than 35 Nevada-brewed beers, live music and food for purchase. General admission tickets are $40 and VIP (with early admission at 6) are $50. For more info and to purchase tickets visit www.ffflv.org/beer-festival.
District Brewing Is Now Neon Desert Brewing
The rebranding of District Brewing is now official. In addition to the new name, there is new furniture in the taproom (neon green bar stools and pink/purple padded booths), additional brewing fermenters allowing it to triple its capacity and a canning line which will provide the ability to supply more outside accounts. During my visit last month, I found 20 Neon Desert beers skillfully brewed by Founder/Head Brewer Jimmy Doyle and Assistant Brewer Cisco Talley pouring, including four core beers: Captain Haze (hazy IPA), Early Out (West Coast IPA), a Fruited Berliner Weisse (the fruit changes monthly) and Hue Hefeweizen (Bavarian-style). I also enjoyed some intriguing, delicious seasonals such as Barreling Down Main—a collaboration blend of HUDL’s 10% barleywine and Neon Desert’s 15.4% Belgian Dark Strong; and Circles of Helles—a helles lager that you can blend with the same beer spiked with serrano, jalapeno, habanero, Carolina reapers and ghost peppers (kind of like dining at a Thai restaurant, you can ratchet up or down your desired level of heat by how much you blend).
Beer District never had the luxury of hosting a grand opening, as it opened on February 29, 2019, and was forced to close a few weeks later due to the Covid shutdown, so the grand opening celebration tentatively planned for March 5, 2022, will actually be its first. It will feature free admission, four special barrel-aged beers, live music, food trucks and an additional pouring station in the parking lot. Check in at neondesertbrewing.com for updates on the confirmation of the grand opening date.
Three Sheets Adds Tasting Room for Astronomy and Mojave
The ever-popular Three Sheets craft beer bar in the Arts District has given us another reason to stop in. Its second level is now a dedicated taproom for local breweries Astronomy Aleworks and Mojave Brewing, bringing a downtown presence for each. The nine taps are divided between the two and during my visit the day after the launch, taps included Astronomy’s Return of the Citra Rye IPA and Drink Me a Lot of Peaches Fruited Sour and Mojave’s Punk Lemonade Cider and Point Break IPA. As both levels are run by Three Sheets, you can bring your beer downstairs or vice versa.
The Silver Stamp Celebrates 1st Anniversary
I can’t believe it’s been a year since the already iconic The Silver Stamp opened its doors to beer fans who immediately became regulars of this craft beer bar that is a legitimate contender for the best in Las Vegas. Owners Andrew Smith and Rose Signor from day one made their bar stand out as one that not only has a cool, fun vibe that makes you think of your grandfather’s old beer room from the 70s, but a beer list that is second to none with gems not to be found anywhere else in town (and oftentimes in the whole state).
To mark the anniversary on February 22, 2022, Rose and Andrew tapped a rare cask of Hanssens Scarbecca Kriek Belgian Lambic and Einbecker unfiltered pilsner and also brought out several special beers not found elsewhere including some barleywines, rauchbiers, vertical tastings and a really unique Italian balsamic vinegar stout. Here’s to many more years of being wowed by the magic of great beer brought to us by Andrew and Rose.