When you think of Las Vegas, you probably think of casinos, the desert, neon, bad Elvis impersonators and drive-thru wedding chapels. When comes to alcohol, you probably think great cocktails, just like I do. I’ve been to Vegas 4 times and in about a week I’ll be taking my 5th trip. Sometimes I’ve gone for business and sometimes for pleasure, but regardless I’ve always ended up in a great bar or night spot with a cocktail in my hand,… not a beer. It just seems to be the way things roll there, and that’s cool, but with my next arrival looming I started wondering if Vegas could also be a good beer town.
We know cocktails dominate the landscape, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not a great beer culture bubbling beneath. I’ve never really taken the time to look (shame on me), as things can get pretty hectic in old Sin City, but this trip I’m going to try to find some answers. I’ll have to use my free time wisely, as this happens to also be a business trip, but I hope to hit up at least a few of the places that are the most likely to provide a great craft beer experience.
My first question is, are there any breweries, a.k.a. is any beer actually made in Las Vegas? As it turns out, there are more than I expected (BeerAdvocate lists 9 breweries in Las Vegas proper). So the real question is, how many are open to the public, and how many are any good? After doing some exhaustive research on beer selection, reviews, etc. I think that Banger Brewing, Hop Nuts Brewing and Big Dogs Brewing Co. are the three that show the most promise, and would be the best place to start.
Then there are beer bars. Does Las Vegas have any great bars that are devoted to craft beers and have a great selection of draughts? It looks like Aces & Ales and The Yard House would be safe bets. There is even a liquor store (Khoury’s Fine Wine & Spirits) with a tasting room inside that looks interesting. Now, how many of these places will I actually be able to get to in the 5 days I’m there is really a matter of fate, because Vegas can be a very distracting place. There are midget street performers, Willy Wonka slot machines and the Pinball Hall of Fame. Not to mention I could run into Wayne Newton.
Rest assured I will fill you all in on my experiences upon my return, or at least my beer-related experiences. The time I spend with Wayne Newton is just between me and him.