December Beer Events
Aces & Ales has two events this month worth attending to get us through the onset of the winter months. First up is the release of its collaboration with the Temecula-based Black Market Brewing at 5 p.m. on Dec. 3 at both of its locations. The collab beer is a juicy IPA and in addition there will be six other exclusive Black Market beers pouring, which are usually only available in their tap room. Next up on Dec. 13 beginning at 5 p.m. at its Tenaya location, Aces will give us an early Christmas present: a tap takeover of more than 20 rare Dogfish Head brews such as Palo Santo; 60, 61, 90, 75 and 120 Min IPA; and Worldwide Stout.
Two Very Outstanding Beer Dinners at Excellent Prices
At its latest beer dinner last month BJ’s celebrated one of the hottest styles currently in brewing: barrel-aged beers. I attended the dinner at the Henderson location and noticed a country theme evidenced by servers in western attire and old timey rustic barrels on display. After being welcomed by GM Jaimie Uphoff and enjoying our warm-up beer BJ’s Oasis Amber, we began with a 100% gluten-free course pairing The Super Salad so named for its antioxidant ingredients including kale, romaine, quinoa, apples, blueberries, jicama, corn, asparagus, cucumber and tomatoes with Woodchuck Private Reserve Barrel-Aged Hard Cider. Although cider is not beer and is its own unique beverage, we appreciated and enjoyed the bourbon-barrel aged cider, which as Woodchuck/Pabst Area Sales Manager Bill Fehneman related, “its oak, vanilla and whiskey notes, along with the cider’s sweetness, helped to balance the tartness of the salad.”
Next up was a very spicy Buffalo Chicken Deep Dish Pizza matched with the first-ever rum barrel aged Piraat from the Belgian Van Steenberge brewery, which was a bold beer with a bold dish. It was also fitting that this beer named for a pirate was aged in a vessel used to hold the buccaneers’ favorite drink.
Our first palate cleanser happened to be my favorite all-time BJ’s beer, the annual Grand Cru. Although it is not barrel aged, no one complained, because it is so awesome. Jamie let us know that Grand Cru is a term Belgian brewers reserve for their best beer. This Belgian-style 10% ABV strong golden ale was first brewed in 1999 to celebrate the new millennium and went on to win medals at both the World Beer Cup and GABF.
Next we enjoyed Spicy Peanut Chicken with Soba Noodles with another offering from Van Steenberge, Gulden Draak Brewmaster Reserve, a rich 10.5% ABV Barrel-aged Belgian Strong Dark Ale that stood up well to the strong peanut sauce.
Our final palate cleanser was Silly Burgundy Barrel-aged Scotch Ale, so named not for foolishness, but for the Belgian town Brasserie de Silly is located in. Recognized as one of the best Scotch ales in the world, each year the brewery ages its renowned brew in a different style barrel, with the 2016 version being Burgundy from the Nuits-Saint-George region of France, in which its blend of caramelized malt and candied sugar from the mother beer was met with fruity, vinous counterpoints from the barrel.
We finished with BJ’s trademark Triple Chocolate Pizookie with two big barrel-aged imperial stouts: BJ’s Tatonka Stout aged in Woodford Reserve barrels and Abita Bourbon Street Chocolate Stout with added cocoa nibs aged in bourbon barrels. Both brews brought the complexity of an imperial stout conjoined with notes of vanilla and bourbon.
As usual the fare for this feast was only $35, a bargain, especially considering the exquisite beers we enjoyed.
The Tuscany Suites & Casino’s newly opened Pub 365, so named for the number of beers it serves, hosted its first beer dinner last month. Called Flights & Bites, the inaugural event featured the splendid beers of Prairie Artisan Ales, a brewery new to the Vegas market. The beers were introduced by Certified Cicerone Garrick Dicus of Vin Sauvage, the local distributor of the Oklahoma brewery known for its barrel aging and sour beer portfolio.
The five-course tasting included Southern Style Fried Tomato with remoulade, arugula and goat cheese paired with Prairie-VOUS Francais a Brett-conditioned Saison; Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna with shu-mai vegetable slaw with 4th Anniversary Ale Wild Ale aged on ginger; Popcorn Shrimp with chipotle butter with Funky Gold Mosaic a dry hopped Brett and Lacto-conditioned Sour; Skirt Steak with Menonita a Mexican cheese grits and chimichurri with Phantasmagoria a juicy and malty 8% ABV Imperial IPA that was not bitter; and Chocolate/Coffee Truffle with Prairie BOMB! 13% ABV Imperial Stout spiced with coffee, vanilla, chili, and cocoa nibs.
This beer dinner was an incredible steal at only $25. The beers alone would have been worth the price of admission and the delectable dishes were a huge bonus. Kudos to GM Mike Jones and his staff for putting together an incredible beer pairing experience on their first attempt.
As always, great beer happens in Vegas!