Big Dog’s Brewing Summer Beer Fest & Reggae Party

Mark your calendar for July 20. The next Big Dog’s Brewing quarterly beer fest will be its Summer Beer Fest & Reggae Party, held under the stars from 5-11 p.m. in the outdoor area of the Draft House at Craig Rd. and Rancho Dr. There will be live bands playing reggae throughout the night, BBQ platters and as always, more than 45 local, regional and international beers will be poured, including several from the host brewery. For the lineup of beers, visit www.bigdogsummerfest.com.

Matt Marino Named Director of Brewing Operations for Able Baker

Matt Marino, Director of Brewing Operations of Able Baker. Photo courtesy Able Baker.

Able Baker’s beers have been brewed at Joseph James for the past few years and the new Able Baker brewery in the Arts District is expected to open later this month or early August. Now more big news is that Matt Marino, who for many years has been a prominent member of the Southern Nevada brewing community, will be leaving Joseph James to take the same position at Able Baker he’s held at Joseph James: Director of Brewing Operations. Matt will be handling the head brewer responsibilities as Able Baker Co-owner Randy Roehde continues to assist with the brewing side of the operation. Able Baker Co-owner James Manus said, “Matt has long been a well-respected and integral part of the Las Vegas brewing community and over the past 2 years, along with countless other outstanding individuals at Joseph James Brewing Co., has been instrumental in making Able Baker a reality. Matt will be a great source of knowledge and experience for our growing operation and his dedication to elevating Nevada's brewing culture is just another indicator of our fierce devotion to our great state.” 

Joseph James Personnel Changes and New Releases

Of course, with the departure of Matt Marino, his brewer’s boots will need to be filled. Stepping into Matt’s position is Kyle Weniger, who will now wear two hats, as he merges his Head Brewer title with Director of Operations. Kyle says, “We have a pretty strong crew these days and I have no doubt that things will continue to run smoothly. Patrick Wong, currently our Cellarman, will be making the move up to Shift Brewer; and Mike Confair on the packaging side will be moving up to Cellarman.” Kyle also informed me of the beer releases in Joseph James’ near future. Releasing on July 12 is their Shower Sour, a dry-hopped Berliner Weisse; Chit Happens, a Hazy IPA with El Dorado, Azacca and Mosaic hops releasing July 19; Pils Ferda, a classic German-style Pils with a light dry hop addition of Hallertau Blanc and Huell Melon, releasing early August; and Cradle to the Grape, an American Sour Ale made with Shiraz and Cabernet grape must and aged 22 months in red wine barrels, releasing mid to late August. He also advises to be on the lookout for a new year-round porter with 8 different variations of specialty ingredients, and lots of new draft-only one-off beers, which they will be sporadically pumping out throughout the year.

CraftHaus Brewery Supports Local with Four Coffee Beer Collaborations

photo courtesy CraftHaus

Support for local is a popular and worthy theme and last month CraftHaus Brewery took supporting local to a new level. The Henderson-based brewery collaborated with Khoury’s Fine Wine & Spirits and four local coffee roasters to create four distinct coffee beers, which were released at Khoury’s on June 21 and at CraftHaus on June 22. I attended the tasting at CraftHaus and observed a line nearly out the door of coffee lovers waiting to experience coffee/beer nirvana. 

I’ve had many coffee beers over the years, and nearly all of them have been in stout versions, but these were all made from a golden ale base chosen by Head Brewer Cameron Fisher, which allowed for the subtle differences of each cold-brewed coffee to shine. Named Khoury’s Neighborhood CoffeeHaus, I found each to have its own unique coffee notes and it was interesting to see how each beer stood out from the others. Those wanting to take the coffee beers home had an option of purchasing a mixed four pack of each beer in 16-oz cans, and yet another local connection was the labels’ artwork created by local artist Damon Miller (aka Stray). 

The idea for this project came from Issa Khoury, co-owner of Khoury’s Fine Wine & Spirits and longtime supporter of local craft beer, who approached CraftHaus owners Dave and Wyndee Forrest. Khoury said, “We wanted to create a true local collaboration by bringing together the local craft beer and coffee communities and thought, what a better way than a local brewery, featuring four local roasters, sold at our locally focused bottle shop.”

Patrons who showed up for the release were treated to a meet and greet with each local coffee roaster partner, which included Bad Owl, Dark Moon, Mothership and Vesta (which has an exclusive partnership with CraftHaus, providing the coffee for its Belgard Cold Brew Coffee Stout).

Here’s to waking up and smelling the coffee…in your beer!

 As always, great beer happens in Vegas!