HUDL Brewing Now Open in Arts District

Photo Credit: Dave Canela

As the burgeoning Arts District in Downtown Las Vegas continues to blossom with new eateries and craft beer establishments, last month’s opening of HUDL Brewing brings the total of breweries and taprooms to 7, along with a handful of craft beer bars now pouring or opening soon.

Situated at 1327 S. Main in the same building and just steps from Nevada Brew Works (which opened a month earlier), the two breweries share a sizeable outdoor patio. Inside you’ll find a coated concrete floor, repurposed wood wall and a black and gray color scheme with black tables and black/gray chairs. There’s also an attractive high def screen above the bar listing the beers with descriptions.

Like many other new ventures, this one was two years in the making and COVID slowed things down, including the backlog of required inspections. At the soft opening I was informed by Co-owner Ken Cooper that the name HUDL is a shortening of huddle, but is not a football reference, but rather denotes a community getting together to have a good time.

Head Brewer Joe Cuozzo had a full roster of eight beers ready to pour. I especially enjoyed the Wrathful Rose, made with raspberries and hibiscus tea, which thankfully was more tart than sweet; Shaggy Assassin, a hazy IPA; Vanilla Oak Cream Ale with a slight oak character; Salty Swabber, a 9.4% American DIPA made with all US hops; and best of all, the 8.2% 115° Imperial Stout on nitro aged on dark chocolate in a bourbon barrel. Joe tells me up next will be a pilsner.

I’ve talked about the Arts District morphing into a beer district, and although I’m not suggesting changing the name, with this and other recent openings and more coming soon, it certainly qualifies as one. 

Trustworthy Brewing Reopens

Photo Credit: Joe Urcioli

On October 1 Trustworthy Brewing at The Palazzo reopened, which happens to be the only brewery on the Vegas Strip. A few weeks later a media event was held, hosted by Co-founder Chipper Pastron, who said, “We’re really happy and so excited to get the doors open again and the staff back to work.” He also shared with the group that the brewery is now brewing its own beers. (When Trustworthy opened in July, 2019 government licensing was still pending and beers were being sent over from the other Trustworthy location in Burbank, CA.) 

It was an honor to be one of the first to try three new Vegas beers, which included Test Pilot Unfiltered Ale, which GM Robert Parekh informed us was the initial batch and the name references how unforeseen mechanical issues with the never before used brewhouse proved to be challenging, yet it still came out to be pretty good. Also poured were Palazzo Pale, an American pale ale, and A Year in the Making, an American amber ale named for how long it took to finally obtain their brewers license, which ironically was issued the day before the shutdown in March. Regarding the beers he is making, Head Brewer Zach Johnson, who started brewing at Trustworthy in Feb. 2017, said, “I don’t try to get too much into one style of beer, but am a big fan of lagers, so there will be some coming down the line, including a Helles and Mexican lager.”

Along with the reopening is a new daily happy hour from 3-6 p.m. and 9 p.m.-close with $2 off drafts and ½ off select appetizers and 24 oz drafts for $9 during football games. Hours are Mon., Thu., Fri. and Sat. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; and Sun. 1:30-9 p.m. 

Great American Beer Festival

Photo Credit: Joe Urcioli

Although due to the pandemic there was no onsite festival at the Great American Beer Festival, the Brewers Association did hold its annual beer judging competition, which this year attracted the most ever entries: more than 8,800. The record-breaking amount was due to the BA allowing an unlimited amount of entries from the more than 8,200 US breweries entering as many as they wished. 

Although no Southern Nevada breweries medaled, Northern Nevada breweries brought home five medals. Reno’s Great Basin Brewing Co. took gold for its Razzle Fo Shazzle in the Berliner-Style Weisse category, IMBIB Custom Brews earned silver for its Triad Blanc in the Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour category and BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery was awarded bronze for its BJ’s Coffee Blonde in the Coffee Beer category; and Carson City’s Shoe Tree Brewing Co. received two medals: gold for its Coco Burrito Porter in the Specialty Beer category and bronze for its Stoutacus in the Imperial Stout category. Worth mentioning is the fact that Great Basin has now amassed 16 GABF medals, the most of any brewery in Nevada. Congrats to our friends up north for their impressive showing!

Ellis Island The Front Yard Oktoberfest Beer Dinner

After Governor Sisolak okayed gatherings larger than 50 people, Ellis Island wasted no time in putting together an Oktoberfest-themed beer dinner. This turned out to be The Front Yard’s very first Oktoberfest and I was happy to attend; interestingly, the last beer dinner I attended before everything was clamped shut was Ellis Island’s inaugural beer dinner event, held in early February.

Present were the entertaining and affable Head Brewers Michael Key and Eddie Leal, who led us through the Oktoberfest-themed pairings; and the masterful Chef John Alers, who created and directed the preparation of all the courses.

The dinner began with German Cucumber Salad and Mini Pretzel Sticks with Beer Cheese paired with Koval Pilsner, which is hoppier and darker than traditional German pilsners. We were informed the beer cheese contained the Pilsner, and this cheese was so delectable I would have happily unabashedly drunk a pint of it. 

Next up was Chicken Schnitzel Fries with Honey Mustard and Lemon Aioli, a German take on chicken tenders, matched with Weizenbock, a very enjoyable brew filled with malty-sweet goodness. 

This was followed by Bratwurst, Kale and Apple Salad paired with Oktoberfest, with the bratwurst being enlivened by having the Oktoberfest infused in it. 

Pork Loin Roast with German Potato Salad was matched with Bourbon Barrel-Aged Rauchbier. We were privileged to be the first ones to ever experience this beer, which Eddie told us had been aged for 11 months in the barrel, and had only been tapped minutes before. The pork loin was also cooked in the Oktoberfest, making this another beer-infused dish. 

We finished with Mini Chocolate Cakes with Luxardo Cherry Reduction paired with Chardonnay Barrel-Aged Helles Bock. What an interesting (in a very good way) and delicious beer this was, and I reflected on how rare it is to see a light-hued beer that is barrel aged. 

Social distancing was enforced between tables with a maximum of six guests at each table. The dinner was sold out, with 55 guests in attendance, and the price was $65, a very reasonable fee for the amount of excellently prepared food and beer we enjoyed. Next up is a winter-themed beer dinner, which is set for December 17.

CraftHaus Brewery & Taproom New Patio 

Photo Credit: CraftHaus

Just in time for the great fall weather, last month CraftHaus Brewery & Taproom on California St. in the Arts District opened a new extended patio. The brewery has teamed up with neighboring Garagiste Wine Room & Merchant to share the 1,500-square-foot patio which will be open through January 5. The patio is equipped with picnic tables and benches that seat up to six and wood barrels from CraftHaus’ barrel-aged program give the space more of a beer garden vibe. As for food to go with the taproom’s 22 drafts, the menu includes curated cheese and charcuterie boards, spent grain soft pretzels with beer cheese or beer bacon jam, prosciutto-wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese and a vegan deli board. 

As always, great beer happens in Vegas!