Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A couple of Vegas Breweries

If you are forced to go to Vegas for a wedding (although I'm told no one ever doesn't want to go to Vegas for any reason) it is a really nice to discover some decent hops in places that you least expect.

Having family members in the Vegas area means that I visit the town typically once a year or so. In years past I have made the effort to visit as many Breweries I could in the greater Las Vegas area, but with the exception of Triple 777 at the train depot downtown near Fremont Street I have been pretty disappointed with the generally mild offerings.

My latest trip in mid September happily changed all that. Traveling South into town on Interstate 95 we opted to stop at one of Big Dog Brewing Company's locations on Rancho Drive in North Western Las Vegas. With fermentors visible from the street I immediately experienced a minor wave of excitement at perhaps finding a hop beverage worthy of washing away the 550 mile road dust I had accumulated that day. Turns out my instincts were pretty good.....their Dirty Dog IPA was infused with a bit of Simco hops and was simply outstanding. A session IPA in the Blind Pig tradition. They also serve an outstandingly refreshing Bavarian style Hefeweizen just bursting with banana and clove. I bought a growler full of the IPA but by the time we left town it was already empty. Big Dog has three locations in town. I highly recommend checking them out.
Our second night in town we found Chicago
Brewing Company near our hotel and made a
point to try it out for dinner. We were not disappointed. We sat in their outdoor beer garden
that's next to Fort Apache Road but doesn't really suffer from the big roads proximity.
Once again pleased to see that they offered a very nice and hoppy west coast style IPA. Light in body and straw colored the Hardway IPA was very drinkable and well balanced. The menu was full of other styles as well....several wheat beers, a brown Ale and an amber. Our very friendly and knowledgeable server brought us out an interesting sample of a seasonal beer that wasn't quite ready for prime time. He claimed it was 12% or more and was eventually going to be served in 8 oz glasses. It appeared to be a Belgian style honey flavored beer with huge sweetness and an undeniable alcohol warmth. Very huge beer.
Nice to see that some of the Vegas brewers are ramping up their styles. I look forward to my next trip to that desert oasis... I might even find time to visit some relatives.