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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Las Vegas Beer Culture
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:32 AM   #1
Yuri_Rage
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Default Las Vegas Beer Culture

I put this in General Beer Discussion because it's more about the beer and a general impression of the craft beer explosion than the locale itself. I've spent a lot of time in Vegas. Up until this trip, I've been sorely disappointed in the beer selection at local bars and distributors alike. I look forward to the "big city" experience, because I'm usually traveling from a small southwest town where craft beer is hard to find...only to be disappointed. Until now. The craft beer movement is in full swing here. What follows is a list of beers I've tried over the past few days, courtesy of Aces and Ales, Freakin Frog, Money Plays, Total Wine, and a local (nameless) tasting group who got me the hookup on a few otherwise unattainable brews (and did some bottle sampling that allowed a large amount of small tasters without getting overly inebriated).

Ballast Point Big Eye - SOLID west coast IPA
Ballast Point Sculpin - Big Eye x 2
Ballast Point Tongue Buckler - good, but stick with Sculpin
Ballast Point Indra Kunindra - I wanted to hate it, but I loved it instead. Curry? Yeah.
Ballast Point Sea Monster - decent imperial stout, but they make better beers than this
Dogfish Head Punk'n - finally got to try it - and it lives up to the hype. Best commercial pumpkin beer I've ever had, hands down.
Deschuttes XXIV - imperial porter with sweet cherry and cognac notes
Deschuttes Hop in the Dark - pair with spicy food - AWESOME
Stone 13 Anniversary - drink Sublimely Self Righteous instead
Boulevard Long Strange Tripel - wonderful banana/clove Belgian style tripel
Epic Brainless on Peaches - another beer I wanted to despise, and loved instead
Port Hop-15 - bottle poured flat, but aroma was amazing
Firestone Double DPA - OMG GOOD!
Firestone Sucaba - OMG EVEN BETTER! - easily the best beer in this list (above and beyond even the Russian River stuff)
Jolly Pumpkin Noel de Calabata - easy drinking sour/winter warmer
Harviestoun Old Engine Oil - fantastic imperial porter
Founders Frangelic Mountain - hazelnut coffee in a beer glass - sweet, but good

Last but not least...and less than two weeks old in the bottle:
Pliny the Elder - great beer, but doesn't quite meet the hype. There are other DIPAs that easily rival it.
Blind Pig - great IPA, but again, others easily rival it.

I'm not knocking Russian River, but you can find other (D)IPAs from Bell's, Firestone, Ballast Point, Dogfish Head, Stone, et al that are top notch, lack the super-hype, and provide those coveted resinous pine/citrus hop notes.

If you're in Vegas, you need to seek:
Nick at Money Plays on Flamingo
Chad at Freakin Frog on Maryland
Tuesday nights at Aces and Ales for the tasting (on tap selections are good, and they'll give you 6 samples for $20 plus some food...then) find the group of beer geeks with bottles and sample glasses scattered across their table. Talk to Ryan, the owner, for some off-menu offerings.

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Old 08-29-2012, 06:44 AM   #2
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Nice list, I'm sitting in the Vegas airport ready to head home as I type this. I was able to find Dogfish head 120 at The Public House at the Venetian, they actually have a pretty impressive selection. I didn't make it to any off the strip place you listed, maybe next time.

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Old 08-29-2012, 07:40 AM   #3
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It's great you went to all those places around town and got to have craft beer from all over the country. But it looks like you skipped the Las Vegas Beer Culture in favor of national craft brew available in the novelty beer places in town. I commend you for trying to make vegas look progressive because of a dive bar with a decent bottle selection, a college bar, and literally the only place in town that has noteworthy or hard to find stuff on tap. But you didn't try anything from Chicago Brewing, Joseph James, Tenaya Creek, Big Dogs, Ellis Island, and god forbid you actually waste your money here but it's for the sake of argument Sin City brewery. If you're in vegas and you actually want to indulge in Las Vegas Beer Culture please check out the 6 breweries I listed. The others are available anywhere. FWIW, I actually get a better selection in flagstaff than I can find here in town.

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Old 08-29-2012, 07:42 AM   #4
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Nice list of beers, any from the Vegas area? If your in Vegas and want a great off the strip dining and drinking experience that won't break your bank, check out the Firefly Tapas Restaurant at Paradise Rd, & Howard Hughes Parkway. Go early, gets crowded, mostly locals. Tell them an X Vegas cabbie sent you (won't impress them).

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Old 08-29-2012, 08:03 AM   #5
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I know it's off topic but you've gotta love the stuffed dates at Firefly!

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Old 08-29-2012, 08:53 AM   #6
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Ok, for the sake of being complete:

Chicago Brewing's stout was good. The IPA tasted old - bitter and little hop flavor. The bartender was a bit rude.
Tenaya Creek is stumbling distance from my hotel. The bartender was nice. Tandem is a decent brew.
I was entirely unimpressed with Big Dog's. Atmosphere was crap, food was mediocre, and beer was average brew pub fare.

Joseph James, Ellis, and Sin City are all on my list of places/brews to try before I leave.

By the way, "the others" aren't available "everywhere." They may be easy enough to find on the west coast, but travel several states in any direction, and you won't find many of them at all. Even the "dive bar" had a bartender more knowledgeable than most others I've encountered across the country. Good luck finding service and selection like that outside a major metropolitan area.

I'll try Firefly soon. Thanks for the tip.

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Old 08-29-2012, 09:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri_Rage View Post
Deschuttes XXXIII - imperial porter with sweet cherry and cognac notes
You got the Black Butte XXIII? That one was overloaded with orange and by far my least favorite of the anniversary releases. Or was it the XXIV (this year's release)? The XXIV is delicious.
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:18 AM   #8
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Oops, it was XXIV. I'll edit.

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Old 08-29-2012, 12:09 PM   #9
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Yuri, if you're still in town, stop by Khoury's Fine Wine and Spirits tonight (Wed). They'll be making Black and Tans with DFH 120 Minute IPA and Worldwide Stout, plus there's a group there that usually brings interesting bottles to share.

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Old 08-29-2012, 10:14 PM   #10
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At Firefly West for a late lunch.

EDIT: Stuffed dates were very worth it. Thank you!

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