I might be the only person on the planet who goes to Las Vegas with the intention of not gambling. I didn’t so much as drop a coin into a slot machine. This adventure was a brief interlude from winter to savor the warmer temps, sun, and palm trees. Of course, I also went to drink some beer.
You may not think of Sin City as a place to explore beer, but you should. The beer scene here is evolving, but not as quickly as microbreweries would like due to Nevada’s gambling influence and complimentary beverages at casinos. Consumers are trying to change this by seeking out independent breweries and local brews at establishments, but there is still work to do.
BANGER BREWING IS A MUST
I only had two full days to drink as much beer as possible, and I managed to hit one brewery and two bars. Let’s start with the brewery, Banger Brewing. Banger is one of the highlights of my trip due to its eclectic location and unconventional beers. There is a patio facing the Fremont Street Experience, giving patrons some memorable people watching.
The first order of business was a Beer Shot, which is a strong ale. Sitting at an ABV of 15%, the brewery is wise to only offer it in a shot glass. It goes down effortlessly given its fruity notes, making it too easy to polish off an entire pint.
My second beer, and intended to be my last, was a Coach Bombay. This is a gin barrel golden barleywine with an ABV of 11%, which is one of the most unique beers to date. A single, heritage English malt was aged over a year in gin barrels. This was another easy drinker.
BANGER BREWS UNIQUE BEER
While I was feeling pretty damn good, I couldn’t resist trying one more. The phenomenal bartender, JJ, let me do a half pour of Mole Ole, which is a bourbon barrel imperial porter aged over a year in bourbon barrels with chilies, cinnamon, cocoa, and coffee. This porter has an ABV of 10% with initial “sting” from the heat of the chilies, and after warming up, the coffee and cocoa flavors came out. http://bangerbrewing.com/
BIN 702 AT THE CONTAINER PARK
In the same downtown area, I visited Bin 702, which is located inside the Container Park. The Container Park is a fantastic place to chill with a beer in hand, and customers can move throughout the entire space with their beverages. Bin 702 provides a relaxed atmosphere with a nice selection of draft beer and packaged products.
Forgoing my typical draft option, I started with one of their specials, a peanut butter stout by Lead Dog Brewing. The peanut butter was pronounced up front, and as it warmed, chocolate came out. My second beer was a toasted marshmallow milk stout by Garage Brewing out of California (I wanted to try it after learning it was a gold medal winner). The marshmallow taste was perfect, not overly sweet as some may expect. I enjoyed both of these smooth beers, especially given my surroundings. https://bin702.com/
THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS AT BEERHAUS
I wanted to check out one place along the Strip and I chose Beerhaus, which is part of the outdoor dining and entertainment district known as The Park. Beerhaus is a modern twist on the typical beer hall complete with a large patio. Beer enthusiasts will feel like they won the jackpot after perusing the outstanding beer offerings.
My extremely friendly bartender, Chrya, was helpful with my selection of a local brew, which ended up being an Outlaw Milk Stout by Great Basin Brewing. This English sweet milk stout was nutty with hints of coffee and chocolate. Next on the menu was food, namely the Vegetarian Burger, which was a delicious quinoa patty with a side of pickled vegetables.
Despite having to head to the airport in a couple of hours, Chrya talked me into trying another local beer because I could get it “to go.” Viva Las Vegas! I ordered a Golden Knight (Belgian strong ale) by Hop Nuts Brewing in a plastic cup, basking outside on the sprawling patio. What an ideal end to my visit - crisp, boozy, and refreshing. https://bit.ly/2XKnUTc
Las Vegas truly exceeded my expectations and I can’t wait to go back. I look forward to more craft beer exploration later this year. Whether you are a returning visitor or first-timer, I highly recommend familiarizing yourself with their local beer.