Photos by David Canela and courtesy CraftHaus and Nevada Taste Site

Vegas Strip Will Once Again Have a Brewery

I hear rumors of new breweries opening up all the time, but very often they don’t pan out, so I refrain from reporting on any new ventures until I can verify they’re actually going forward. I’m happy to report that my friend Chris Walowski, Head Brewer of Trustworthy Brewing, has verified his brewery will be coming to the Vegas Strip this summer, taking over the space of the former I Love Burgers at The Palazzo. The new steam-jacketed 10-barrel brewhouse with full kitchen will be a 2nd location for the brewery formerly known as Verdugo West and will be the only brewery on the Strip, the first to grace Las Vegas Blvd. since Monte Carlo closed its brewpub in 2007.

Trustworthy Brewing Head Brewer Chris Walowski with Bob Barnes at a tasting of his beer at Morels.

Since opening in Burbank, CA in Jan. of 2017, Trustworthy Brewing has grown from a three-person team to a 12-person team, increased its four fermenters to nine and doubled its beer production. The name change was due to many having difficulty pronouncing and spelling the name and having Verdugo autocorrected to Vertigo when Googling. The new name made sense as the brewery’s Trustworthy IPA is its most popular beer. MCC Hospitality Group, parent company of the brewery, already has a presence at The Palazzo, at it owns Morels Steakhouse, which has been serving the brews since shortly after the brewery opened (read my reporting on this in our Dec. 2017 issue.

Having tasted Walowsky’s beers at both Morels and at the brewery in Burbank, I can attest that he is a very talented and innovative brewer who makes very clean, well-balanced and flavorful brews. My favorite is his Gigil, a pilsner made with puffed jasmine rice. This new brewery will be a (trust) worthy addition to our local brewing scene and it’s cool that the Strip will once again have a venue in the beer making biz. 

Arts District Transitioning into a Beer District?

The 18b Arts District in Downtown Las Vegas may be becoming a beer district. After earlier this year welcoming Three Sheets craft beer bar (which I reported on in our July 2018 issue), now the Nevada Taste Site has opened. The new restaurant and bar by Derek Stonebarger is just two doors down from his ReBar and is filled with historical knick-knacks (including the old Davy’s Locker neon fish-shaped sign perched above the bar) from his personal collection. The bar celebrates all things Nevada, including its beer, with 24 taps pouring only Nevada brews, including nearly all of the Las Vegas breweries and several from Reno, including IMBĪB, Pigeon Head and Revision.

The area also has Hop Nuts Brewing at 1120 S. Main (near Charleston), and more beer venues are on the way. In the coming months opening will be Beer District Brewing, a 10-barrel brewhouse which will be situated at 914 S. Main. Expected to open in the spring, CraftHaus Brewery will open a secondary tasting room at 197 California St. just a few doors down from the popular Esther’s Kitchen. The new location will not be equipped with brewing equipment, but will offer specialty beers and one-off brews which will rotate through its twenty-four tap selection. Stay tuned for further reports on these and other openings coming soon. 

Ellis Island Hotel, Casino and Brewery Appoints Two New Brewers

Ellis Island has announced changes to its brew staff, naming Michael Key as director of brewery operations and Eddie Leal as head brewer. 

Key began his career under an apprenticeship with Dan Gordon (founder of Gordon Biersch) over 25 years ago and has brewed at several breweries, including Steelhead Brewing and Southern California Brewing, and eventually ended up back at Gordon Biersch where he served as Senior Regional Brewer, overseeing brewery locations throughout the company. Key has been awarded medals at the Great American Beer Festival and the Los Angeles County Fair Beer Competition.

Leal began his brewing career at Steelhead Brewing as assistant brewer under Key, until he left and became a head brewer one year later. Leal brings more than 20 years of brewing experience, and has won medals at the Great American Beer Festival and Washington Beer Awards.

Key and Leal have updated the IPA recipe to a hoppier west-coast style, with big citrus and fruity notes; released a Bavarian-style Hefeweizen; and will gift us with a Doppelbock for the holiday season. The goal is to add a new beer each month and eventually tap 12 of their brews. 

The two accomplished brewers are being brought in at an opportune time, as the property will expand in early 2019 when it opens the two-story Front Yard outdoor dining, drinking and entertainment venue. To view a video of Key and Leal explaining their new brews visit www.facebook.com/EllisIslandLV/videos/2163669470326989

Congrats to Joseph James

Congrats are in order for the brew team of Joseph James. Their Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, aged in bourbon barrels for seven months, was named by Thrillist one of the 32 best imperial stouts in the US. In the post, also noted is that this beer is the third highest-rated beer from Nevada on Beer Advocate. (www.thrillist.com/drink/nation/best-stout-beer-top-stouts)