Photos by Joe Urcioli

Able Baker and CraftHaus Now Open in Arts District

I’ve talked about the Arts District morphing into a beer district, and although I don’t condone changing the name, with these two openings along with two future openings, it certainly qualifies as one.

After years of contract brewing its beer at Joseph James, Able Baker opened its 15-bbl facility at 1510 S. Main St. just north of Wyoming. I attended a preview event and found the new digs to be a very cheerful environment, with a bright and open feel thanks to a high ceiling and ample natural light from garage doors that open up to the outdoor patio when weather permits. The room features an abundance of rustic wood forming the tables, chairs and tap beer list above the bar. Another plus is the brewing equipment just steps away open for all to view and large screen TVs to entertain while you are hanging out. 

The tap handles are topped with the iconic yellow ducks and on one wall the legend of the duck tells the (fictitious?) story the brewery takes its name and history from: the first two aboveground Nevada Test Site atomic bomb tests named Able and Baker, of which the legend says only a duck was able to survive. A further nod to the beloved duck are footprints painted on the floor leading the way to the restrooms. 

Able Baker co-founders James Manos and Randy Rohde and director of brewing operations Matt Marino had no less than 17 of their brews pouring, with an assortment of beer styles, including the 10% Big Boots barleywine, a collaboration with Scenic Brewing; Candy Bar Kiloton, a 12.1% imperial dark ale; 12.4% Double Barrel Honey Dip imperial stout; and the always popular Chris Kael Impal’d Ale in both its regular version and a barreled-aged one, enhanced with the Five Finger Death Punch rock star it’s named for, present at the preview event.

Chris Kael wasn’t the only notable celebrity at the event, which turned out to be a who’s who of the local brewing community, with several local brewers and distributors attending, including Matt Brady (Astronomy Aleworks), Weston Barkley and Nathan Hall (Bad Beat), Dave Pascual (Big Dog’s), Cameron Fisher (CraftHaus), Kyle Weniger and Kayla Callahan (Joseph James), Dave Otto (PT’s Brewing), Jamie Roberts (Scenic Brewing), Tim Etter and Anthony Gibson (Tenaya Creek), Dave Bowers (Vin Sauvage Distributing) and Joe Cuozzo and Ken Cooper (of the soon-to-open Hudl Brewing).

The evening was topped off with excellent eats from the new kitchen menu expertly crafted by Van-Alan Nguyen, who has been wowing us with his terrific offerings at his 595 Craft & Kitchen (at Tropicana and Rainbow) for the past two years. Having Van’s delicious creations (such as the steak banh mi I enjoyed!) make this one of the few new breweries to offer food along with great beer. 

Hats off to the Able Baker team for putting together a stellar event and also for providing yet another reason to venture out to the Downtown Arts District. The brewery and kitchen are open daily from noon to midnight.

Able Baker Brewing

1510 S. Main St.

702-907-1676

ablebakerbrewing.com

Just three days later, and less than a week after the Henderson-based brewery celebrated its 5th anniversary, I attended a preview of CraftHaus Brewery’s new taproom, located in the heart of the Arts District at 197 E. California St., just steps from Casino Center Dr. I was delighted to find the full gamut of brews flowing from the taps, including many of my favorites and some new finds, such as Avo Toast Imperial Red Ale; Comrade Imperial Stout; A Ganar, A Ganar Belgian Brown Ale; Grande Evocation Saison; and Khoury’s Neighborhood CoffeeHaus/Vesta Golden Ale, enlivened with cold brew coffee from their neighbor, Vesta Coffee Roasters, which is located on Casino Center just around the corner. 

If you thought the décor of this second CraftHaus location would be an exact replica of the brewery, think again. While some aspects are repeated and celebrated, such as the cuckoo clock theme and lime green color scheme, there are some unique differences. Co-owner Dave Forrest related that being in the Arts District, it was fitting that a local artist was brought in to contribute to the décor, which was Donovan Fitzgerald, who painted a beautiful mural of a Vegas showgirl. Other differences are a larger space, with 1,800 square feet; the addition of a crowler machine (a device that pours draft beer into and seals in a can for you to take home); an increased number of taps, with 24 at this location; and outlets and USB ports located every few feet under the bar to charge your phone with. Speaking of your phone, another extremely important convenience is the ability to call acclaimed Chef James Trees’ Esther’s Kitchen across the street, order off the menu and have it delivered to your seat in the taproom. Esther’s is also providing five menu items that you can only obtain at CraftHaus: a meatball/polenta corndog, pork slider and three pizzas: a vegan, a margherita and a meat-centric pie. Last, but not least, yet another enhancement is the addition of Ricky Lewis as the manager, whom many know and appreciate from his time managing Pizza Rock.

This new CraftHaus taproom is open daily from 11 a.m. and offers a shorter commute for those who don’t reside in Henderson and an opportunity to try even more of the brewery’s varied beer styles.

CraftHaus Arts District “Chad”

197 E. California St. #130

702-203-1804
crafthausbrewery.com 

More to Come

At the Able Baker event I had the good fortune to reconnect with Joe Cuozzo and meet Ken Cooper, who told me they are very close to opening Hudl Brewing, a new 15-bbl Premier Stainless brewery just a few blocks away at Main and Imperial. 

Joe, who has earned two GABF and two World Beer Cup medals and previously held head brewer positions at Coronado Brewing and Green Flash in San Diego and served as President of the San Diego Brewers Guild, will be the head brewer. He says he plans to brew outside-the-box beers, including a beer/wine hybrid targeted for wine lovers, some barrel-aged brews beginning in 2020 and will have at least one classic style at all times. Plans are to have seven taps of their beer and three guest taps, with the opening date projected for some time in December. The name HUDL represents a gathering place with an environment where everyone would use their spoken words, enjoy great beer with friends and perhaps make new friends.

I’m also hearing that Beer District, situated at 914 S Main St., is opening around the same time. Once these new breweries open there will be four breweries (Able Baker, Beer District, Hop Nuts and Hudl), a taproom (CraftHaus) and a craft beer bar (Three Sheets) all within blocks in the Arts District. Stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks.

Beerfest Season Begins

Okay, these days beerfests happen year round, but in Southern Nevada the lower autumn temps mean more of them and more held outdoors. Next up is the Silver State Brewfest from 5-9 p.m. on Oct. 12 at the Tuscany Main Pool, which will feature brews from Nevada breweries. At press time breweries expected to attend include Able Baker, Astronomy, Big Dog’s, CraftHaus, Hop Nuts, Joseph James, Lovelady, Pigeon Head (from Reno) and Tenaya Creek. There will also be games such as giant jenga, prizes to give away and food from Pub 365 for purchase. For more info and to purchase tickets visit www.eventbrite.com/e/silver-state-brewfest-at-tuscany-pool-hosted-by-pub-365-tickets-72756341175

The Motley Brews 7th Annual Downtown Brew Festival on Oct. 19 from 5-9 p.m. (early entry at 4) will again be held at the Clark County Amphitheater at 500 S. Grand Central Pkwy. in Downtown Las Vegas, where you can expect a wide range of beer styles with more than 200 beer choices from 60+ breweries, including several from Nevada. For more info and to purchase tickets go to www.downtownbrewfestival.com.

Big Dog’s Brewing will host its annual DOG-tober Beer Fest & Brat Party on Oct. 26 from 3-9 p.m. combining traditions of Oktoberfest celebrations with the charm of an old Wisconsin brat cookout along with live bands and more than 40 local, regional and international beers, including several Big Dog’s brews. As usual, it will be held in the outdoor area of the Draft House at Craig Rd. and Rancho Dr. in northwest Las Vegas. For more info and the line-up of beers visit www.dogtoberbeerfest.com.

What began as a small niche event has grown to one of the largest sour-only beer festivals in the nation and it happens to occur at Atomic Liquors. This year will mark the 7th annual Sour Saturday on Nov. 9 from 2-5 p.m. This fest offers unlimited pours of more than 50 unique beers from dozens of breweries ranging from the slightly tangy to mouthpuckeringly sour. This year the VIP ticket will get you early admission at 12:30, a Sour Saturday T-Shirt, tasting glass, access to a private VIP area to taste exclusive sours, food provided by Chef Jackson Stamper of The Kitchen at Atomic, a custom koozie and raffle tickets for specialty vintage bottles and swag. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.atomiccitybrews.com/sour-saturday.

As always, great beer happens in Vegas!