Beer of the Month

One of my all time favorite beers, locally-brewed Tenaya Creek Brewery Old Jackalope, is hard to resist when you see it on the shelf, for its eye-catching label alone will draw your attention with depiction of a jackrabbit with antlers. Got to love a beer named after a mythical creature and there’s a lot to love about the rich malt and sweet caramel flavors and creamy mouthfeel backed up with 86 IBUs and a pungent hoppy finish. Although it’s a hefty 10.4% ABV, it’s somewhat masked and is fairly easy drinking. I’m not the only one impressed with this barleywine style ale. Draft Magazine gave it a near perfect score of 97. This ale will keep for months, or years if you can manage to resist the temptation.

April Beer Festivals

Motley Brews 5th Annual Great Vegas Festival of Beer is set for April 11 from 3 to 7 p.m. The fest will again be held in Downtown Las Vegas in the heart of the Fremont East Entertainment District, with availability of scores of hotels within steps. Expect a wide range of beer styles with more than 300 beer choices from 100 breweries, including several from Nevada. Motley Brews fests typically sell out, so hurry on over to greatvegasbeer.com, where you’ll also find the line-up of breweries that will be pouring. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Nevada Craft Brewers Association, which is providing several specialty beers brewed just for the fest.

On tap on April 18 at the Ace & Ales Tenaya location is a Ballast Point 50-tap blowout with BP’s Master Brewer Yuseff Cherney. It’s said to be the largest Ballast Point tap takeover ever.

Big Dog’s next quarterly beerfest, its 6th Annual Big Dog’s Peace Love Hoppy-ness, will be held in the outdoor area of the Draft House at Craig Rd. and Rancho Dr. in Las Vegas on April 25 from 3-9 p.m. As always, more than 40 local, regional and international beers will be poured, including several from the host brewery. This one is a celebration of hoppy beers, so all hopheads will need to mark their calendars.

More Local Beer on the Vegas Strip

The recently opened Yardbird at The Venetian is doing something no other Vegas mega-resort has ever done. That is, to serve nothing but beer from Nevada breweries on its 16 tap handles. Breweries represented include Vegas area Barley’s, Bad Beat, Big Dog’s, CraftHaus, Joseph James, Sin City and Tenaya Creek, and two northern Nevada breweries, Great Basin and St. James Brasserie. The entire beer list includes more than 80 choices, all of which are from American breweries, running a gamut of beer styles with the likes of Saison, Imperial Stout, Doppelbock, IPA, Sour Ale and Barleywine. The optimal pour is the flight of local drafts—four 5-oz pours of your choice for $12. Prices are well below Strip norms, with most drafts and bottles priced between $6-$7.

The superb all-American beer list is joined by more than 100 American bourbons and whiskeys and a menu of Southern-inspired fare overseen by 50 Eggs Corporate Chef Todd Harrington. I recommend the Short Rib N’ Grits—18 oz bone-in short rib served with charred corn, haricot vert, grits and a sweet garlic bordelaise; the Fried Green Tomato BLT with pork belly, greens, tomato jam, and house-made pimento cheese; or the Smoked Backyard BBQ Chicken, a half chicken with roasted marble potatoes and charred okra.

New Beers to the Vegas Market

Our beer selection is constantly expanding, with more options coming our way every month. The latest arrivals are from two breweries to the south of us in Lake Havasu, Arizona: Mudshark Brewing Company and College Street Brewhouse & Pub. Mudshark has its Full Moon Belgian White Ale—8.5% brewed with coriander and orange peel; Desert Magic IPA—7.2% double dry hopped with 90 IBUs; and HavaBlue, a blueberry-vanilla wheat. College Street has a similar blueberry-vanilla flavored wheat called Big Blue Van and an American-style stout, Sweet Devil Stout.

What’s on Tap

Joseph James Director of Brewery Operations Matt Marino reports they will be releasing Desert Snow in bombers. It’s a White IPA brewed with a Belgian Wit yeast and a wide variety of hops that showcase tropical fruit flavors. They’ll also have Red Eye Coffee IPA, in which they used fresh roasted Sumatra beans.

Richard Lovelady at Gordon Biersch continues to brew atypical beer styles; well, atypical for GB that is. He’ll have a Belgian Red Ale, Double IPA, Barleywine, Maibock and Quadruple.

Chuck Croix at Pints Sports Bar & Brewery in Laughlin’s Colorado Belle will have his usual lineup plus a 5.5% Porter, a 6.5% German Dunkle and a 5% American Pilsner.

In late April Banger Brewing will roll out its second barrel-aged beer, an English IPA aged three months in bourbon barrels. Banger has also begun limited distribution and is now on tap at seven locations.

As always, great beer happens in Vegas!