Photo credit: Joe Urcioli

The Front Yard Now Open at Ellis Island

After two years of planning and building out, the long-awaited and highly-anticipated opening of The Front Yard at Ellis Island Casino Hotel & Brewery arrived on Dec. 6. Situated at the front of the casino facing Koval Lane, the new addition includes two-levels, a beer garden, bars on each level, full-service restaurant and HD TVs throughout (including a giant 18-foot big screen). Expansive windows and the open parts of the structure offer views of the Vegas Strip and the nearby High Roller at The LINQ, with the best vantage points being from the second floor atrium. A retractable ceiling can be opened when weather permits and air conditioning and heaters adjust the temps when needed. For entertainment, there is a DJ booth and stage, from which DJs, local acts and headliners will perform weekly. 

The food menu offers shared plates of wings, Italian meatball and duck fat poutine; and main courses are horseradish crusted wild Atlantic salmon, NY steak frites, schnitzel (breaded pork cutlet), porchetta and The Front Yard burger—½ pound beef and pork burger topped with pork belly. 

The core beers from the brewery—hefeweizen, IPA, amber and light—are offered, as well as seven rotating specialty brews that are served exclusively in The Front Yard, which upon opening included Belgian IPA, coffee stout (made with cold brewed coffee), helles bock, doppelbock, Beglian triple and rauchbier. I managed to try tastes of each and can verify they were all quite tasty and well made, with my favorites being the triple, coffee stout and rauchbier (made with smoked beechwood malt, not overly smoky, a style you don’t find that often). The menu is designed for beer geeks, with one side devoted to the food offerings and the other to the beers, including the type of malt, any specialty ingredients and hops used in each brew. 

For now the hours are 3 p.m. to midnight with the kitchen opening at 4, but eventually hours will expand to 24/7. 

Although we had to wait two years for the planning and construction to be completed, after checking it out, it appears to have been worth the wait. And, the beers being churned out by the accomplished brewers Michael Keys and Eddie Leal continue to be top notch. 

Beer Events

Now that we have entered into a new year and have our new 2020 calendars on our walls, I want to provide you with info on some beer events happening in the near future. 

Aces & Ales will begin the New Year in style with its 11th Annual Winter Beer Fest. Held at its Tenaya location on January 11, beginning at 3 p.m., more than 50 rare & specialty brews will be tapped. Visit www.acesandales.com for more info. 

Big Dog’s Brewing will host its annual Winterfest, a celebration of hearty stew and beers, on January 18 from 3 to 9 p.m. in the outdoor area at the Draft House at Craig Rd. and Rancho Dr. As usual, there will be live music, more than 50 beers poured, including several from local breweries and admission is free. Festival packages including tokens, commemorative pint glasses, raffle tickets and T-shirts can be purchased in advance. For the lineup of beers being served and to purchase a festival package, visit www.bigdogsbrews.com/festivals/winterfest.

On February 1, from 4-10 p.m. at the brewery location at 7350 Eastgate Rd. in Henderson, CraftHaus will celebrate its 6th annual Comrade Day, a celebration of friendship and the annual release of its Comrade 2020 Russian Imperial Stout. I’ve been told the 2020 is a decadent interplay of roasted malts getting friendly with American oak on whiskey and is bigger and badder than ever, clocking in at 10.8% ABV. There will be at least eight different variations on tap, including vertical tastings of past Comrades. Tasting flights and food will be available for purchase. This event is 21+ and no ticket is required. For more info, visit www.crafthausbrewery.com.