On April 26th, the fine folks at Motley Brews, along with 80+ breweries, descended upon downtown Las Vegas, and unleashed the 2014 Great Las Vegas Festival of Beer. This year’s incarnation was both the biggest, and arguably the best festival to date, boasting more events, breweries, and food than ever before. Downtown was a fantastic setting, giving plenty of space for festival goers to enjoy the event without feeling like a sardine. It was also the perfect location to continue the festivities once the festival had ended. All in all, I hope that this location is utilized again.
I must confess, that as many times as I have frequented Aces and Ales, I have yet to attend either a dinner event, or Tuesday Night Tastings. This is not due to a lack of faith, as I have yet to enjoy a less than stellar dish during any eating experience at this establishment. Mainly, it’s simply due to life obligations sadly getting in the way of my palate’s enjoyment. Thankfully, both Luis and I were able to attend the recent Coronado Beer Dinner, and I must say, I can’t wait to attend the next!
Tomorrow marks a great occasion for local lovers of all things craft beer. Aces & Ales will be opening their west side location for business! It is no secret that we ruffians here at Hooked on Hops are huge fans of Aces & Ales. So, without further ado, here is why we’re stoked about the new location: (more…)
This past week, May 13th-19th, marked American Craft Beer Week. American Craft Beer Week is basically a week to celebrate the small and independent breweries and the fine work that they do.
For the first time that I can remember, local brewery Tenaya Creek went all out to ensure that craft beer fans got a chance to whet their palates with some rare offerings. Each day, Tenaya Creek released a new beer (sometimes more), and all are worth talking about. (more…)
As much fun as it is to see new Las Vegas breweries on the horizon, it is equally great to see new names pop up in familiar breweries. Roughly a week ago, Tenaya Creek unleashed their new Easy Rider Pale Ale, the first release from assistant brewer Marcos.
What this pale ale does really well, is blend the crispness of a west coast pale ale with a solid, but drinkable body. You are met right away with a big, citrusy aroma, followed by slight malt sweetness, and finished off with a piny, grapefruit bitterness that is surprisingly refreshing. This is the kind of beer that you want to sit on your porch and sip on a mild spring day, and at a respectable 5.8% ABV, you certainly can!
Personally, I’m quite looking forward to what Marcos dreams up next!
When our illustrious founder, Luis Tovar, e-mailed me his first draft of the above mentioned article, the first thing I did was attempt to edit some of the points he was making. After a bit of thought, though, I felt that he should publish it as it was, and that I would do a piece myself challenging the aspect of “gateway beer.”
I have no problem with gateway beers. I consumed a lot of Blue Moon, Newcastle and Guinness on my way to discovering the microcosm of craft beer. I do, however, have a problem with InBev and MillerCoors attempting to pull the wool over consumers’ eyes by pretending to be a small, craft company. As I was discovering new beers, I constantly found myself trying new varieties of Shock Top and Leinenkugel, as well as stumbling upon international delicacies such as Boddington’s. Imagine my surprise when I found out that these beers were all sitting under the umbrella of the larger beer corporations. It’s not that I had a problem with the beer, I had a problem with where my money was going. This is where my main problem with these pseudo-craft beers arises from. (more…)
Aces and Ales did it again, and in a big way. I’ve been to their Strong Beer Fest, Winter Beer Fest, Stone Domination, etc., but never have I felt the sense local community like I did a week ago Saturday. Aces and Ales presented their first ever Homegrown Tap Takeover, which brought together Las Vegas’ four most well known breweries: Tenaya Creek, Joseph James, Big Dog’s and Chicago Brewing Company.
Before I get into the beer, much praise needs to be heaped upon everyone that had a hand in making this special event happen. The organization and execution was flawless, and the Aces crew were in high spirits as they hustled to deliver great craft beer and delicious food to the insatiable palates of their patrons. The breweries put their best efforts forward and really were able to come through with some memorable offerings. A huge thank you to everyone involved. (more…)
On October 20th, Motley Brews presented the follow-up to their 2012 Great Las Vegas Festival of Beer: The Las Vegas Downtown Brew Festival. After having a blast at the last Motley Brews presented festival, I was more than excited for this one. To start with, the location and timing of this event could not have been more perfect! The Clark County Amphitheater is a nice, large, outdoor venue, and the great October Vegas weather made for a phenomenal marriage!
For their first outing in 2011, I had complained that the event seemed disorganized, and way too compact. These problems were pretty much resolved on their second go around. This time, I can only tip my hat to the organizers and sponsors of this fantastic festival! We arrived a bit late (roughly 2:15 PM), but had no trouble finding parking in the large adjacent parking lot. Upon walking up to the entrance, we were quickly able to redeem our Groupons, and were inside and ready to drink within just a few minutes.
Upon entering, we made our way right to the Joseph James tent to try and wet our palettes with their R/D #11 Ginger Lemon Weizen. Thankfully, and remorsefully, we were able to get our hands on the very last drops, which may have proven to be the best beer I had the pleasure of experiencing. The beer tasted like a mix of spicy ginger ale with a refreshing lemon twist. I really hope this one sees a bottle release, as I want everyone to be able to taste this amazing local brew! Their other two R/D offerings did not disappoint either; both the Black Rye Session Pale and the Bourbon-Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout were quite the tasty offerings! Joseph James never ceases to amaze me when it comes to what they pull off for these special events. I will continue to look forward to more R/D batches, while still sipping on their great year-round fermented offerings.
Our next stop was to the New Belgium tent to get a pour of their refreshing Shift Lager. Shift really is a perfect summertime beer with its light-body, and flavorfully crisp finish. While chatting with Las Vegas’ new Beer Ranger, Karl Herrera, he officially coined the term “Get Shift-faced!” which pretty much demands to be on the front of a T-shirt! New Belgium was also pouring their Red Hoptober, Ranger IPA, and of course, Fat Tire. Their Super IPA was also on display at the Get Hopped Up Tent, along with Stone 16th Anniversary IPA and Bear Republic’s Racer 5.
From there we hit another local favorite in Tenaya Creek. They were happily pouring their new Dutch-style Belgium Tripel, Oktoberfest Lager, the recently bottled Hauling Oats Oatmeal Stout, and their iconic Hop Ride. Not to mention, they also decided to unveil a Hop Ride infused popcorn! Being a Las Vegas staple for years, you really can’t go wrong with anything that Anthony and Tim brew up. Their year round beers are top-notch, and their seasonal brews always leave you looking forward to the next one! If you haven’t been to the brewery yet, you should make it a point to do so. Hell, there’s a good chance you’ll see your’s truly at the bar sipping on a Hop Ride!
Another local staple, Big Dog’s Brewing Company was pouring just nearby. Their selections included Dirty Dog IPA, Las Vegas Lager, Lake Mead Monster Double Red Ale, and the Great American Beer Festival 2012 Silver Medal winning Red Hydrant Ale! Big Dog’s is another local brewery that you just can’t go wrong with! While I would have loved to have seen the seasonal Pumpkin Ale, or the monster that is War Dog IPA, I was more than pleased with what they had to offer! With 2 locations in the Valley, there is no reason not to stop by and grab a drink!
After making our rounds with the local breweries and New Belgium, we decided to hit the outside circle and try and get our hands on some beers we haven’t had before. Our next stops were to Tommyknocker’s and Moa. Tommyknockers, from Colorado, is fairly new to the Las Vegas craft brew scene. They had with them a nice assortment, including Vienna Amber Lager, Maple Nut Brown, Imperial Nut Brown, and a nice, mild, Pumpkin Ale. All of their offerings were solid, and can be found locally at this time.
Moa, from New Zealand, is a brewery that I have yet to try, but I’ve always been curious about. They had samplings of their Breakfast, Pale Ale, and Blanc Evolution. I only tasted the first two, but I was quite fond of both! As a nice contrast to most breakfast inspired stouts, Moa’s Breakfast had a bright, wheat, sweet cherry flavor that would pair nicely with a berry muffin or eggs. While it won’t be for everyone, I think it would be a nice substitute for a mimosa at brunch. The Pale Ale had a subtle citrusy hop nose and flavor, which was balanced by a bitter malt aftertaste.
From here, we went along the line, sampling well known beers from the likes of Dogfish Head (Namaste and Midas Touch), Firestone Walker (Pale 31, Union Jack), Sierra Nevada (Hoptimum, Pale Ale, Torpedo, Kellerweis), Lagunitas, Indian Wells, Three Monkeys, Chicago Brewing Co., and a newer name to the Las Vegas scene: Riley’s
To be honest, I had not heard much about Riley’s until this event. Riley’s is a smaller brewery from Madera, CA, who are in roughly their fifth year of existence. Their lineup consisted of: Sancha, which reminded me of a cross between a pale ale and a honey ale; Vixen: a coffee/chocolate inspired stout; and Wildcat IPA. All three were quite tasty brews, and show a lot of promise for this new brewery. I’ll be looking forward to what they decide too cook up next!
If there is one beer trend that I really enjoy, it’s the new “Session IPA/Pale Ale” trend. Something just appeals to me about a low ABV, flavorful IPA that won’t make you feel all nice and fuzzy after just one glass. Thankfully, one of our last stops, Ballast Point, brought along a beer that is a perfect pale ale for this occasion. Their Even Keel Pale Ale, was just fantastic, and perfect for this mild October day. It had a perfect pine aroma, with just enough citrus to hit your nose. The taste was quite the same, with a great dry finish that didn’t linger for too long. Not be outdone, they also brought along an arsenal of their other lovingly-crafted brews: Big Eye IPA, Calico Amber, Pale Ale, and the incomparable Sculpin IPA.
I can’t finish this without giving a shout-out to all of the food vendors that made it out to quench the hunger of the beer sipping crowd. From restaurant representatives to food trucks, there was something for everyone. Our eatery of choice ended up being Haulin’ Balls, who serve a variety of gourmet sandwiches based around, you guessed it, the meatball. The food was nothing short of remarkable, and I would recommend that any carnivore seek them out.
All in all, this may have been the most pleasant beer festival that I’ve had the opportunity to attend. A big thanks is in order to all the vendors, sponsors, and especially Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada for all the phenomenal brands that they helped bring together! As a group, we’d also like to thank any of our followers that found us and said hello. It’s always great to meet you guys in person, and we appreciate all of the kind words and constructive feedback that we receive.
In closing, if you have not had an opportunity to attend one of these festivals, then you are missing out! Do yourself a favor and make sure that you clear your calendar off and come out and have a blast! …I’m sure you’ll see us there!
With Father’s Day coming up, I feel it is my civic duty to educate any people who may be buying gifts for their hop loving dads. As a father myself, trust me when I say that your father does not want a tie, or slippers for Father’s Day. As Hank Hill would say, they may want “beer, and beer related accessories!”. Read on for some great local ideas for the male parental unit that you love!
General Manager Karl Herrera of Tenaya Creek Brewery has devised a fantastic gift for fans of great, local craft brews. For just $45, you will receive a wax sealed, brewer autographed growler full of their delicious Old Jackalope Barleywine, which is perfect for aging (and ages beautifully), as well 22oz bombers of both their Calico Brown Ale and Hop Ride IPA. With three distinct, delicious beverages…how could you go wrong?
For more info visit: Tenaya Creek Father’s Day Package
Aces and Ales
As of yet, Aces and Ales is not doing anything fancy for Father’s Day…however, how about surprising dad with a 07.07.07 Vertical Epic from Stone, or perhaps a bottle of 14th Anniversary Firestone Walker? With an extensive list of hard to fine and aged bottles, Aces and Ales is a great choice if you want to pick up something unique. Or, why not treat your pops to some great tap beer and food on his special day? Either way, it is sure to put a smile on even the pickiest beer-lover’s face.
Khoury’s Fine Wine and Spirits
What can I say about Khoury’s? Imagine a place when you can get a great craft beer on tap, and then shop for beer while enjoying it! Khoury’s is truly a beer geek’s dream come true! Head on in, grab a glass, and then take a gander through their extensive selection of beer, whiskey, wine, and even glassware. Khoury’s would be the perfect place to pick up your father’s favorite beer, pack it with a glass featuring his favorite birthday, and perhaps get him his favorite whiskey to boot. Oh, and did I mention that you can do all of this while enjoying a drink yourself?
Whole Foods on Las Vegas Blvd
Whole Foods on Las Vegas Blvd. rivals any destination in town for their great selection of fermented craft goodness. Pick up a gift card for your dad, and let him go to town! You can also speak with their Beer Specialist, Chris Brown, and let him help you pick out a beer that will go straight to your old man’s heart. I would love to recommend every Whole Foods in town, but the one at Town Square just plain leaves the rest of them it he dust.
Do you have any great beer related gift ideas of your own? We’d love to hear them! Please feel free to share the love in the comments field below, or send us an e-mail.
April 21, 2012 marked the second annual Great Las Vegas Festival of Beer, held once again at Tivoli Village. Last year’s festival was a bit underwhelming. There was little room, and a strong lack of organization. I’m pleased to say that this year, they seemed to alleviate both of those issues. The space given to the event was three times larger, and the overall professionalism of the event was greatly improved. While I could do without loud bands playing throughout the event, I’m sure that many people enjoy the live music atmosphere. Now…on to the beer!
My wife and I decided to be fancy and go with the VIP tickets this year. This allowed us to enter an hour early, and to enter a “Brewer’s Lounge” with food and special beers. The special beers were simply bottled Ommegang beers, which are available at most liquor stores, and Tailwagger Wheat, and Rebel Red from local Big Dog’s Brewery. While these are all solid beers, there is nothing really special about them. With that being said, the VIP tickets were worth the extra $10 for the early entry. By the time Tivoli Village started filling up, we had already made one lap around the area.
I was very happy to find some nice surprises amongst the beer selections this year. Noble Ale Works was in attendance, sampling their IPA, Pale Ale, and phenomenal Alpha Red. Hopefully we will see these on Las Vegas shelves sooner than later! (UPDATE: Khourey’s Fine Wine is currently carrying Noble Ale Works) Dogfish Head were pouring both their refreshing Aprihop, as well as their coveted 120 Minute IPA in the “Hop Tent.” Stevens Point and Three Monkeys, both new to the Vegas market, were also in attendance. I quite enjoyed the Brown Barrel Ale from the latter, and their Tres Vasqueros Amber Ale is about as fine of an amber ale as you will find! I was only able to try the Cascade Pale Ale by Stevens Point, but it was a nice, if unspectacular pale ale. Other breweries in attendance, included Wasatch, Squatters, Crispin Ciders, Unibroue, Green Flash, New Belgium, Left Coast, Uinta, Firestone Walker and Ballast Point.
Not to be outdone, Las Vegas’ locals had a fantastic showing of their own! On hand were breweries, Tenaya Creek, Joseph James, Big Dog’s, and local craft beer bar Aces and Ales. Aces and Ales were pouring two fantastic Rogue selections in XS Imperial IPA and Brutal IPA. Tenaya Creek had a fine selection of their own local brews, including Calico Brown and their Hop Ride IPA, which made it to the Elite 8 in the National IPA Championships! Thankfully, if you missed out on either of these brews, you can always visit the brewery year round! Big Dog’s really managed to surprise me with their Alpha Dog double red imperial ale. Big Dog’s has always been hit or miss for me, but this hoppy concoction won me over at first sip! Last, but not least, is Joseph James. Joseph James had their stellar Hop Box and Tahoe Blue on hand, but what really blew me away was their “experimental” crafts. The first beer they unveiled was a Cherry Pie Blonde Ale. In my opinion, this was a splendidly refreshing beer with nice subtle notes of cherries. The second new brew that they unleashed, was appropriatley titled Baby J’s German Chocolate Cake Stout. All in all, this may have ended up being my favorite beer of the event! Just as the name implies, this was German chocolate cake in a glass! Big, chocolate and coffee stout flavors, with a perfectly balanced coconut flavor throughout. I really hope this one ends up in a bottle someday soon!
Overall, I would highly recommend that any lover of craft beer does not miss this event next year! Las Vegas craft beer needs your support, and the prices ($27 for regular, $37 for VIP) are very reasonable when you consider the amount of beer you will be experiencing!