Beer lovers can rejoice by imbibing at any number of microbreweries that have sprung up in Las Vegas over the past few years. So if you’re hopping mad or foaming at the mouth to find a unique beer in Sin City, you’re on tap to find a wide variety of home-grown brews that, bar none, compete against the major breweries.Microbreweries offer beer lovers distinctive tastes and flavors of beer that differ from the mass produced brews made by the top sellers. (You know who they are.) Both Vegas tourists and residents alike can sample any number of beers made right on site, ensuring freshness and flavor. And if you cannot make it to the actual microbrewery, many of the small beer makers’ brews are also sold in Vegas restaurants and bars.
The original Vegas microbrewery, and you have to love the name, is Big Dog’s Brewing Company (4543 N. Rancho). Originally known as Holy Cow Brewing Company, this off-Strip micro began selling suds in 1993.
The brewery is about 15 minutes off the Strip and located in Big Dog’s Draft House, which is a full service restaurant and neighborhood casino. Ales, porters, stouts and light beers are all brewed at Big Dog’s 15-barrel microbrewery establishment. In addition to the eclectic beers, Big Dog’s also serves up great Wisconsin foods including bratwurst and walleye pike, along with hamburgers, sandwiches and salads. Green Bay Packers’ fans will feel right at home in this Vegas microbrewery and restaurant.
Also off the Strip and welcoming all beer immigrants is Ellis Island (4178 Koval Lane.). This relatively small bar and casino offers a variety of gambling opportunities from slots and video poker to blackjack. And, most importantly to beer lovers, Ellis Island also houses its own microbrewery.
The brewery offers customers a number of types of beer including an American-style lager; light, dark and amber beers; and a hefe weiss, which is made with wheat and malt with the yeast left in the beer and served with a slice of lemon. For those wanting a different kind of beer, Ellis Island’s micro also makes up root beer. Ellis Island has a restaurant in addition to the bar. But maybe the best things to go along with the micro beers are stopping at the bar’s pizza stand and then heading over to the karaoke lounge to take in the amateur singers. And not only are beverages inexpensive here, local casino workers get to drink for free from 3 a.m. to 8 a.m. daily.
Located far off the Strip is Tenaya Creek Brewery (3101 N. Tenaya Way) that offers up a wide variety of beers. Established in 1999, Tenaya’s pilsner has won the gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. Besides its pilsner, Tenaya brews several beers including Nut Brown Ale; Ringtail Pale Ale; and Winter Spiced Ale. For those who choose not to drive to the brewery, Tenaya beers are served at any number of Las Vegas hotels and casinos such as the Bellagio, Treasure Island and Mandalay Bay.
Moving downtown, beer lovers will find the Main Street Station Casino, Brewery & Hotel (200 N. Main St.) that is home to, besides all types of casino gambling, the Triple 7 BrewPub. In addition to offering customers plenty of hamburgers, pizzas, steaks, sandwiches or sushi, the restaurant also serves up five of its in-house micro-brewed specialty ales. One of Triple 7’s specialties is Shanes Irish Stout, which would go down nicely on St. Patrick’s Day while watching sports on one of the bar’s many TVs.
For people wanting to sample the hops at Sin City Brewing Co. you’ll be seeing double even without the beers. Located on the Strip, Sin City Brewing Co. is found at both its original brewery in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood (3667 Las Vegas Blvd. S.) and at its newest location in the Flamingo Hotel and Casino (3555 Las Vegas Blvd. S.).
Opened in 2003, Sin City offers four standard tap beers including light, amber, Hefeweizen and Irish stout. They also rotate seasonal brews including a Czech pilsner. Their beers are brewed in small batches of about 100 kegs at a time to keep the flavor fresh and unique.
So, if gambling has tapped you out, head to one of Las Vegas’ many micro-breweries and take advantage of their taps and the unique beer that flows out of them.