Local breweries are bringing a national trend to Las Vegas
So a man walks into a bar and orders a beer. Pretty simple, right? But these days, ordering a brew can be much more than choosing between light and regular. Most bars and restaurants have a large list to choose from, including craft beverages from some of the most well-known microbreweries in the country, as well as gems created in the Las Vegas Valley.
Visitors to Las Vegas might be tempted to simply order a well-known brew; after all, there’s a reason it’s well-known. But a little exploration can yield satisfying returns—there are 15 or so brewpubs and breweries in the Las Vegas Valley, although none directly on the Strip, and about 20 beer festivals each year, both small and large (and that number continues to grow every year).
At Triple 7, a longtime brewpub in Main Street Station downtown, brewmaster and new father Kenjiro Tomita takes his responsibilities both at home and work seriously; he’s not planning much sleep in the next few weeks, between parental duties at home and those at the brewpub. He has a special IPA brewing, which should be ready for customers somewhere around the end of June, depending on how fermentation goes and how fast the beer that it replaces sells.
“I try to do something that goes with the seasons, especially the summer,” said Tomita. “It’s so hot here (in Las Vegas) that I try to do stuff that’s a little lighter, crisper, refreshing on the palate. When it’s triple digits out you’re not going to want to come in and drink a heavy, darker beer.”
Tomita sources quality ingredients for his special brews, preferably organic, including the strawberry purée in the new brew and spruce tips that he used in a winter IPA, which turned out to be an award winner. Triple 7 also features five house brews that are available all year.
Sin City Brewing operates three separate microbrew bars on the Strip—Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort, The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian and The Palazzo and right on the Strip at the intersection of Harmon Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. Ellis Island Casino & Brewery is on Koval Lane, parallel to Las Vegas Boulevard.
On the Strip, Vegas Valley craft beers can be seen on menus everywhere, including Tom’s Urban at New York-New York, which has Tenaya Creek’s Hauling Oats oatmeal stout on tap, as well as Tom’s Pils, a collaboration between Joseph James Brewing and Tom’s Urban founder Tom Ryan, among other draft choices. At Rx Boiler Room in Mandalay Bay, four separate offerings from Crafthaus (a relatively recent addition to valley breweries, but a very well-received one) are on tap: Resinate IPA, the Resolute rye beer and the Evocation, a saison. The most recent, Gone With the Wit, is a collaboration with restaurant owner Rick Moonen.
There has been an increase in beer pairings on the Strip, too—Rx Boiler Room just had one with Crafthaus, featuring those on-tap beers. At The Mirage, you can take your choice of brews from three local breweries with BLT Burger’s special menu, featuring a local brew and burger pairing menu, including Tenaya Creek’s God of Thunder porter paired with a wagyu burger (God of Thunder earned recognition in Las Vegas Magazine’s sister publication, Las Vegas Weekly, as the Best Local Seasonal Beer in 2014), Big Dog’s Dirty Dog IPA with a barbecue chipotle burger and Sin City Brewing’s Amber Ale with Shaft’s Blue Burger, which is smothered in blue cheese. There’s never been a better time to enjoy the craft beer experience in Las Vegas.