Brews and Booze in Las Vegas

In Beer Travel by Chris

Yes this posting is coming a little late.  What can I say, time really does fly when you’re having fun.

There were no Colorado breweries visited last week, but for good reason.  We decided to ditch Denver for a long weekend in Las Vegas!   Las Vegas is a favorite getaway of ours; in fact, we love Vegas so much that we got married there in 2005.  But for all the fun and good times we have in Las Vegas, there is one thing we don’t usually indulge in much here, and that’s beer.   It’s not that we don’t love beer, but in Las Vegas we usually splurge on margaritas, martinis or other fancy-schmancy cocktails.

There’s three reasons we usually go for liquor over beer while on vacation.  For one, when you visit Vegas in August you wear as little as possible, so you don’t want the full bloated belly that you can get from beer.   Second, when we’re gambling and drinks are free, we aren’t going to squander that on a domestic beer when we can get a dirty martini.  Finally, and most importantly, Las Vegas isn’t really known to have the craft beer scene that Denver does.  You can get your Buds and Coors all day long, but opt for something more unique and you’re often out of luck.   Fortunately when you’re by the pool in 114-degree heat, even Miller Light goes down good…

During this trip we decided to seek out some craft beer spots, and we did find a couple.  I’m sure there were a lot more, but with three days and no car, we were able to find two spots with more than your average Bud Light on tap.  The first one we didn’t have to look far to find – it was in the Flamingo where we were staying.  Sin City Brewing was our first find, and they actually has a few locations in Las Vegas, including the one we visited in the Flamingo and another we passed at the Venetian.   I’m not sure where they brew, since brewing doesn’t appear to be done on-site at either of these locations, but we were happy nonetheless to find a brewery!  The beers, well, they were just okay.  Jeff had the IPA which he didn’t really enjoy — it was a peppery bitter that didn’t really suit him.   I had the Light Lager, which was good and refreshing, but nothing exceptional.   With the frozen drink mixers and the video poker machines, it certainly felt more like a gimmick than a real brewery, but it was worth the visit.  We really enjoyed the logo and bought a shirt, and especially enjoyed the bartender, with his colorful stories and corny jokes.  It was a good time, even if the beer was just alright.

Next up, we visited The Pub at Monte Carlo.  This is a beer lovers paradise, though it’s pretty well hidden behind the casino in the walkway you take for the Bellagio/Aria tram.  It’s a sports bar and I remember that they used to brew beer, but nowadays they are happy just to serve up a great selection of fine craft beers from around the country (and beyond).  Whether you like ales or lagers, Belgians or barley wine, the Pub at Monte Carlo has a beer selection that assures you’ll find something you like.  I had a Festina Peche from Dogfish Head, while Jeff had his beloved Stone Pale Ale.

What we learned on this trip is that good beer can be found in Las Vegas, and I’m sure we barely scratched the surface.  Although they aren’t as far along as Denver in the craft beer scene, it seems to slowly be making it’s way out there.  Which is good, because even though you’re much more likely to find us drowning overpriced margaritas at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, or watching them spin bottles at Harrah’s Carnival Court, we like to know that there are some good craft beers out there for us when we need them.

To see more pictures of our beer adventures, both in Vegas and elsewhere, visit our Flickr page HERE.

Until next time, cheers!