Book Review: Vegas Brews—Craft Beer and the Birth of a Local Scene

Being released on October 22, this new book by Michael Ian Borer is more than a history of craft beer in Las Vegas. Borer, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, explores the phenomenon of how the city that has a reputation for catering to tourists first and residents second is contrasted by the craft beer movement taking root in Las Vegas as an asylum from the neon glow and spectacle of the Strip. In the six chapters he notes how the local brewing community has become a catalyst for forging a local and urban identity. Borer is well-known as an aficionado of the local beer scene and has spent years attending and observing beer festivals, breweries and bars to create a portrait of the craft beer industry at the intersection of urban studies, sociology of culture and food studies. This is a must-read for anyone involved in the local Vegas beer scene as well as anyone interested in how Las Vegas is moving toward becoming a vibrant beer community despite the distractions of the tourist attractions that draw several million visitors each year.



Bold Dog Beer Co. K.I.S.S. Saison

The Chicago-based Bold Dog Beer Company takes its name from founders Jerome and Shari Stontz’ beloved bulldog and the K.I.S.S. in this beer’s name stands for the brewery’s Keep It Simple Series. The company focuses on American and Belgian styles and this one is a fine representation of the Saison style. Made with Pilsner malt and Citra hops, it logs in at 60 IBUs, which is much hoppier than your usual saison, but it melds nicely with the spiciness from the Saison yeast strain it’s brewed with. 



Elevation Beer Company 8 Second Kölsch

This 5% ABV, 15 IBU brew from the Poncha Springs, Colorado-based Elevation Beer Company is brewed to be a true representation of the classic, crisp German-style ale. Elevation Head Brewer Christian Koch fell in love with this easy drinking style of beer while visiting Cologne, Germany and first brewed it as a special beer for the local rodeo (hence the name and graphic of a cowboy riding a bull on the label). It quickly became a hit and is now one of the brewery’s year round core beers. 



Clément Rhum Agricole Vieux Rhum V.S.O.P Rum

Founded in 1887 by Homere Clément, the Rhum Clément distillery has distinguished itself as Martinique’s leading rhum brand and distills its products from fresh sugarcane juice. The distillery’s flagship Rhum Agricole Vieux is aged four to six years in oak casks and draws complexity from the alternative use of virgin oak and re-charred bourbon barrels. The marriage of bourbon and rum should appeal to both those who love a good sipping whiskey and the smoothness of a well-aged rum.



Copper Still Single Barrel Indiana Straight Bourbon Whiskey

While most bourbon hails from Kentucky, bourbon can be made anywhere in the US. This 90 proof bourbon from the Copper Mountain Beverage Company hails from Plainfield, Indiana and is aged in new oak barrels for more than two years after being distilled with sweet Indiana corn and 21% rye to give a balance of sweetness and spice.  The nose begins with a hint of vanilla and oranges which gives way to flavors of toffee, caramel and chocolate with a silky smooth finish.