Cookies and Beer

Cookies and beer anyone? On June 22 Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada teamed up with Lovelady Brewing to host the inaugural Cookies & Kegs, an event that paired the beloved cookies with eight Lovelady beers. The event was held at the brewery’s taproom and in addition to the cookies and brews, Masterpiece Cuisine provided Buffalo chicken sliders, Asian kimchi short rib tacos and peach & brie quesadillas. Lovelady Brewmaster Richard Lovelady created a special Girl Scout brew, Porter deLite: his porter infused with Caramel deLites plus extra coconut and cocoa nibs. This outing was not only an excellent opportunity to try the new brewery’s beers, but also to support a good cause, as more than $5,000 was raised to support Girl Scout programs. Judging on the more than 250 attendees that showed up, this won’t be the last time we can enjoy cookies and beer.

Free Beer

Who doesn’t love free beer, especially locally-brewed free beer? Downtown Grand is now pouring Joseph James Brewery’s Hop Box Imperial IPA and I’m Out Imperial Stout on the casino floor, of which players can now enjoy complimentary pints while gambling; and the Tuscany Casino pours Big Dog’s Dirty Dog IPA for its players.

Pub 365 at the Tuscany

Last issue I extolled the outstanding beer offerings of a new pub on the Strip; this month I am doing the same for one off the Strip, Pub 365 at the Tuscany Suites & Casino at Flamingo and Koval. As mentioned above, the casino is not new to supporting craft beer and all of its outlets have quality beer lists, but the new pub goes above and beyond, by establishing a beer selection that will eventually number as many as the days of the year. Food & Beverage Manager Howard Samber has selected the best of the best with a wide range of beer styles and also created the Unicorn List, so named for having elusive and hard to find rare beers. There are plenty of local brews with the initial list including beers from Bad Beat, Banger, Big Dog’s, CraftHaus, Joseph James and Tenaya Creek. The prices will also make beer geeks happy, with most beers ranging from $4-$6 e.g. Joseph James Lager for $4, Banger El Hefe for $5 and Monk’s Café Flemish Sour Ale for $6.

Located off of the casino in the former space of The Cantina, this craft beer haven’s décor features brick, 3D beer signs, Edison lights, TVs topping the wraparound bar and a private room that seats 75 that will be used for monthly beer events such as beer dinners. A cool feature is the DigitalPour screen, which lists details of the 40-tap draft selection. Be sure to sign up for the Mug Club beer loyalty program, which will enable you to win prizes, private tap party invites and the chance to earn a personalized tap on the Tap Wall of Fame.

The lunch and dinner menus feature traditional pub fare with a modern spin developed with input from Chef Carlos Buscaglia of Due Forni and the Pub’s Executive Chef Juan Puentes. Prices start at $3 and nearly all menu items are under $10. Highlights include the decadent Poutine with cheese curds, gravy, pulled pork and over easy egg; Tacos that come in versions of Baja fish, cochinita chicken, Korean short rib and steak & egg; Ahi Poke with mango, ginger, avocado and taro chips; and ten Iconic Burgers, such as the Manhattan Montana with bison, sautéed pastrami and Menonita cheese. Pub 365 is open 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. daily.

Welcome to Erik Nielsen

A welcome to the brewing community goes out to Erik Nielsen, a reader of this column and the assistant brewer at Chicago Brewing Company. The 23-year-old native Las Vegan got into craft beer a few years ago while working as a server and in October 2015 landed a job at the brewpub. Luckily for him, this was around the same time there were brewer changes going on and after expressing his interest in working in the brewery in January of this year he started as assistant brewer, training under Head Brewer Kyle Cormier. Erik says, “It has been a pleasure working under Kyle and learning from such a well-respected and multiple award-winning brewer. There is no other occupation that I would rather be doing.”

Aces & Ales Strong Beer Fest

Aces & Ales will host its 7th Annual Strong Beer Fest August 13 beginning at 3 p.m. at its Tenaya location in Las Vegas. The event will offer an opportunity to indulge in more than 50 different specialty or extremely rare beers that are at least 7% ABV. For more info visit acesandales.com.

New Beer in Town

After a long wait, AleSmith Brewing Company, one of my favorite breweries, is now available in Nevada thanks to a new distribution partnership with Bonanza Beverage Company. We can now look forward to the arrival of core six-pack offerings such as AleSmith IPA, AleSmith Nut Brown and AleSmith Lil’ Devil Belgian-style Pale Ale.

Mother Earth Brewing out of Vista, CA is doing so well with its expanding market that they’ve hired a rep to handle Southern Nevada, Mike Gaddy, who had previously been working locally as a distributor rep and knows the local beer biz. The brand is distributed by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits and in addition to the popular Cali Creamin vanilla cream ale and Sin Tax peanut butter imperial stout, each month a draft special is offered, with August featuring the 6-row Pilsner and September an Imperial Blonde Ale.

More Places to Enjoy Triple 7 Beers

Head Brewer Tom Harwood at the Triple 7 Brewpub at Main Street Station filled me that an upgrade to his brewing kettle is allowing for more rapid production of his brews which has made it possible for some of his beers to now be served at other Boyd Gaming properties downtown, including the Filament and Tony Roma’s at the Fremont and the new Holo Holo — The Happy Bar at the Cal; and future plans are to send beers out to Sam’s Town and the Orleans. Also, the Carlsbad IPA, named in honor of and inspired by Tom’s visits to Pizza Port and Bagby Brewing in Carlsbad, CA, had been a seasonal, but has been moved into his lineup of core beers, so you can enjoy it every time you stop in.

LVB Burgers at The Mirage
Serving Great Burgers and Beer

After nearly eight years, BLT Burger at The Mirage closed in April and reopened days later as resort-operated LVB Burgers & Bar. The new restaurant is overseen by Michael LaPlaca, who is also executive chef at the resort’s Portofino fine dining Italian restaurant. Chef brought in Bert Coats to take on the executive chef job, who was already on property, having previously held chef positions at Pantry and Heritage Steak. Coincidentally or perhaps fate, both Coats and LaPlaca attended the Le Cordon Bleu cooking school together and are now reunited in a working partnership.

The restaurant’s décor remains unchanged, with hanging Edison lights, tan and brown earth tones and an open kitchen. However, one change Chef Coats informed me of is that instead of grilling the burgers a flattop is now used, which he says results in retaining more juiciness and a caramelized crust.

The restaurant’s name appears to be a nod to Las Vegas Boulevard, evidenced by the address of The Mirage listed on the back of the servers’ shirts. In keeping with the restaurant’s three letter initials, all of the burger choices have tri-letter abbreviations. The B.L.D. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, which Chef Coats described as an Egg McMuffin on steroids, is loaded with a house-made sausage burger, ham, fried egg, American cheese and is served on an English muffin. Those like me that yearn for heat will not be disappointed in the K.I.K. Kick in the Kisser enlivened with pickled jalapeno, fried egg, avocado, onion straws, pepper jack and sriracha aioli. Not everyone likes beef, so the W.T.F. What the Flock turkey burger with turkey bacon, heirloom tomato, avocado, sharp cheddar and chipotle mayo and the P.S.S. Pineapple, Salmon, Slaw with soy glazed salmon patty and grilled pineapple relish and sesame slaw will please non-carnivores; and vegetarians haven’t been left out, for there is the P.M.B. Portobello Mushroom Burger with marinated portobello, gruyere and spinach. Another non-traditional burger is the O.M.G. Oh My Gosh, a duck burger stuffed with Muenster cheese, smoked ketchup, heirloom tomato, watercress and roasted duck mayo. All of the burgers are large enough that if you ate the whole thing you would be hurting, so unless you are a professional food eating competitor, expect to have enough left to save for another meal. And at a price point of $14-$18 it’s not so bad if you like leftovers.

A gourmet burger restaurant would be amiss to not have a quality beer list to accompany its fare, and even better is if it carries local beers. The Mirage Director of Beverage Nate Hedlund said, “With LV in the name we thought it was important to have beers from every local brewery that distributes its beer.” Hedlund added that one of the local breweries, CraftHaus, actually brews a beer especially for the restaurant that is served only here: the Island Hopper Saison, made with mango and Australian hops it’s delicious, by the way. Also pouring during my visit were brews from local breweries Bad Beat, Banger, Big Dog’s, Joseph James, Sin City and Tenaya Creek; and Great Basin from Reno. One other beer made exclusively for LVB is Amber’s Ale, which is an amber ale brewed with a citrusy, lemony hop and aged in barrel staves, made by the Salt Lake City-based Wasatch Brewery in honor of Amber Wornica, a Mirage beverage manager and native of Salt Lake City who recently tragically passed away from a sudden illness. Amber is also honored on the food menu, with two items made with a batter using the aforementioned beer, Amber’s Ale Onion Rings and Amber’s Ale Fried Pickles.

If you have room for dessert, I recommend one of the milk shakes, of which there are 11 varieties, such as the Maple Stirrup with blended goodness of bacon, cinnamon sugar doughnut and vanilla ice cream and two crisp strips of bacon thrown in for good measure; or from the Spike It Up side of the menu, the Jack’s Snickerdoodle with Jack Daniel’s Honey, Rumchata, caramel, vanilla ice cream and a snickerdoodle cookie all blended together. Those not wanting dairy can opt for the Fried Nutella—warm donut hole filled with Nutella ganache with a banana toffee dipping sauce; or Wonuts, so named for they are a cross between a donut and a waffle with chocolate, white chocolate and caramel sauces.

It seems that every Strip resort now has a burger-centric restaurant playing to its customer base and this new entry into the field is hitting the right notes on all fronts with something for every palate and a worthy assortment of beers. LVB Burgers & Bar is open Sundays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to midnight and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.