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Livin' Local: The Beautiful Brewskie – Las Vegas and the Craft Beer Invasion.

It’s hot. I mean really hot. It’s, like, stick a fork in me I’m cooked to temperature hot…and the only thing that can bring me satisfaction – that can cool me down and relieve that persistent sticky, fatigued feeling – is a cold and frothy mug of hoppy goodness. I’m not talking about a lager from a can, either. No – I need big flavor. I crave the crisp bite of an IPA or the smooth clove-y spice of a Wit. 

I. Want. A. Beer.

Don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against the staples. Few things top off a lake day or a camping trip quite like the icy blue mountains of a Silver Bullet, but when it comes to tasting, eating and appreciating the art of the suds – you’ve got to go with the crafts. For so long, wine has been the booze of the connoisseur, but no more. It’s the cicerone’s time to shine – and for you that means craft breweries and beer-centric restaurants popping up all over town.

Here are just a few:


Banger Brewing
450 Fremont St., Suite 135

Open Daily Hours Vary
www.bangerbrewing.com | 456.BREW (2739)

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We’ll start our beer hopping journey downtown at the Neonopolis Complex in the Fremont Street Experience for a real tasting treat at local craft brewery (and the only one in the Fremont Street Experience) Banger Brewing.

Opened in late December 2013, the clean, inviting bar with open area café style seating and a direct view to the brewery through a large window is run by five tight-knit service industry vets. Let me tell you, these guys know how to brew a beer. They were running about 10 beers on tap when we visited, and we truly enjoyed every one of them.  For the hop-lover (yours truly) try the Perfect 10 Pale Ale, and for some smooth malty goodness go for the DTB Brown Ale. Not to be missed during the hot summer months, and one of my personal favorites, is the Sandia Watermelon Wheat. Just like it sounds, this refreshing and easy-drinking brew gives the perfect hint of our favorite summer staple. Really, though, you can’t go wrong and I would suggest a flight with four tasters, priced reasonably at $7.

Best thing about this place? It ranks refreshingly low on the Snooty Scale. The staff was happy to talk with you about the beers, and never “beer shamed” us for not knowing something. Combine that with the tasty brews and they get an A Plus in my book.

For more information on tours, upcoming events and more visit www.bangerbrewing.com

Bier Garten

1 South Main St.
Open Daily 11 a.m. to Midnight
www.biergartenlv.com| 386-2110 

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Just down the street from Banger Brewing, it’s my bet that Bier Garten will soon be known as “the place with real grass and the living wall in downtown Vegas,” but it’s oh so much more than that. In fact, this not-so-hidden gem is reminiscent of a backyard BBQ, but with awesome people watching, gourmet brats and (arguably most important in the context of this article) a beer list on steroids.

Brain-child of Pop Up Pizza dream team, Sam Cherry and Grant Garcia, the vibe of this Bavarian-inspired watering hole is a perfect fit for downtown. A welcome addition to the newly remodeled Plaza Hotel & Casino, sizzling concrete has been covered with 3,000 square feet of real grass and over 900 plants scale the side wall of the casino backing up to it. Long, family-style tables shipped gen-you-eyen from 1980’s Munich Oktoberfest surround a patio of wooden trellis and vine, fully-equipped with TV’s. With live music from local artists on the weekends, shade after 2 p.m. and a perfect view of Main Street downtown, it easily makes the list of cool hangouts. Then, you catch a glimpse of the beer menu. Come to mama… Twelve rotating craft beers on tap are rounded out with a literal smorgasbord of bottled microbrews, both domestic and import. There were some on the list like Wells Banana Nut (if you like the “sweet” brews this one is right up your alley) and Big Dogs Dirty Dog IPA that neither my husband nor I had ever heard of – and we try a lot of beer.

If you’re a newbie, head chef Jeffrey Martell (also of Oscar’s steakhouse and Pop Up Pizza) does you a solid by pairing all of his tasty brats with the perfect “cold one.” We threw back The Stardust (German brat, caramelized onions, Sauerkraut and German sweet mustard) with a medium-bodied Brooklyn Brewery Brown Ale and The Hacienda (Sweet Italian sausage, roaster sweet peppers, caramelized onions and spicy Giardiniera) with the tasty and clean Belgian Pranqster by North Coast Brewing Co. They hit the spot.

Visit www.biergartenlv.com for the full menu, pricing and more information. Your beer buds will not be disappointed.

Your Neck of the Woods

Bad Beat Brewing
7380 Eastgate Rd Suite 110
Open Thurs. – Sun. hours vary

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Photos Courtesy of: Kat Okula

Not in the mood to trek it downtown? There’s a new joint in your neck of the woods that’s worth betting on. Bad Beat Brewing, a locally owned craft brewery, recently celebrated its grand opening in the up-and-coming Booze District (including Las Vegas Distillery, Grape Expectations and more). 

On top of the neighborhood feel (complete with dartboard, shuffleboard and a certain über popular black-and-white boxed card game on one of the bar tables) this place also boasts some super tasty and interesting beer. If you’re looking for a flavor adventure try the uniquely brewed “Ace in the Hole” pale ale.  With a hint of basil, it’s one of the more refreshing I’ve tried. Another favorite was the “Bluffing isn’t weisse” Hefeweizen with strong banana notes and a pleasantly smooth finish. All the beers I tried ($8 for a five-beer taster) were worth a second glass. 

There’s no food, but the Director of Imbibing Operations, Mike D. assured me food trucks would frequent the parking lot on weekends.  

For more information visit www.badbeatbrewing.com.  

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