Las Vegas Brewing News
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.
CraftHaus has hired two new assistant brewers: Armando Donis and Danny Gutierrez. Both grew up in Southern Nevada, began their brewing path as homebrewers and worked at the brewery’s downtown taproom before being promoted to brewers. Donis is a Silverado High grad who lived in Portland, OR, for a time, where he fell in love with craft beer. Danny is a Valley High grad and also spent time in the Pacific Northwest, having previously brewed at the Slippery Pig in Seattle.
What’s Pouring in March
As always, our local roving nomad brewer Juxta Nomad (aka Kyle Weniger) is bringing out more of his pastry stouts, which he has become quite prolific and adept at. His latest gifts to us are “Blue Man Soup” (think blueberry cheesecake complete with a graham cracker crust) and “Dirté (it’s French),” which is modeled after the Midwest classic Dirt Pie and made with real Oreo crumbs, cacao nibs and vanilla. You can find both at Astronomy Aleworks, which is also where they were brewed.
Richard Lovelady at Lovelady Brewing tells me he has “El Rancho” (part of their dead casino project), a 7.5% strawberry double hazy IPA; Mari Me in the Spring, a marionberry kettle sour (taproom only); and Run-on Sentence, an 8.3% strong ale (taproom only).