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FEB/MAR 2005 | REGIONAL | WEST COAST

Nevada Beer Nuggets
By Bob Barnes

Las Vegas, “Entertainment Capital of the World,” has set its share of records and boasts the No. 1 ranking in several categories, but now it can attest to a beer-drinking accolade. Nine Fine Irishmen, New York New York’s version of an Irish pub on the glittery Las Vegas Strip, can lay claim to being the number one stout drinking establishment in North America, pouring more Guinness stout on draft than any other pub on the continent. According to publican (GM) Cory Harwell, 320,000 pints of Guinness were poured and 2,900 kegs were emptied from July 2003 through November 2004. With so many stout lovers bellying up to the bar, it’s fitting that Harwell contracted Sin City Beer Company to make a traditional version of an Irish stout to boost the uniqueness of the pub and to conjure up a stout that would resemble what was traditionally being poured at the time of the revolutionary activity of 1848 for which the pub is named. Called Ballingarry Warhouse Stout, it’s a rich and full-bodied dry stout and, in my opinion, Sin City’s best brew yet. At 6%, it’s 2% stronger than the Guinness draft served in the States.

Sin City owner Rich Johnson (former Gordon Biersch director of brewing operations for the West Coast) had, up to this point, produced only German-style lagers. When asked about his stout, he replied, “I’ve been keeping it in the back of my mind since cycling around Ireland in 1985, but due to my being a Gordon Biersch disciple, the non-German beer styles had been relegated to the back burner. Now that I own Sin City Beer Co., it has expanded my brewing universe greatly, and I’m proud to produce such a fine example of a dry stout, and frankly can't drink enough of it.”

Now that the brewery has celebrated its one-year anniversary and produced over 1,000 kegs in its inaugural year, the likelihood of finding Sin City’s beers on the Vegas Strip and in the Vegas Valley has expanded, with nearly 50 establishments tapping its beer. Locations on the Strip include Treasure Island, Stardust, New York New York, Mandalay Bay, Aladdin and GameWorks. For a complete listing, go to sincitybeer.com.

Big Dog's Brewing Company will be celebrating its first anniversary on February 26 and 27 with the Johnsonville "Big Taste Grill," the world's largest grill (an actual semitruck). Expect brats and brews specials and live bands.

Freakin’ Frog owner Adam Carmer is finding ways to make us feel good about drinking beer by uniting the love of beer with raising money for a good cause. An auction of fine beers raised over $600, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Fight ALD (Adrenoleukodystrophy) fund in honor of Sawyer Sherwood (young son of Stone brewer Bill Sherwood), who died of the disease. Carmer presented the check to Janis and Bill Sherwood, Sawyer's parents. All of the beer was donated by Carmer, UNLV professor J. C. Curtis, employees of Stone Brewing, and Larry Chapman, a customer of Freakin’ Frog. The fund-raiser is ongoing, with several bottles of beer still available for purchase. The Frog’s recent expansion has allowed it to expand its beer list, which includes brews from all five Trappist breweries. The current total stands at 425 beers, inching towards the final goal of 500.

Another first for Nevada took place at Freakin’ Frog, namely the first-ever tapping in the Silver State of a keg of the 7.4% Weihenstephaner Korbinian. A party to celebrate the unveiling of this rich-tasting doppelbock was held at the Frog and hosted by Renegade Brands (Nevada brand manager) and Bavaria House (U.S. importer of Weihenstephaner).

I once again headed to Southern California to celebrate my birthday, and like a magnet was drawn to Tustin Brewing Company, where Brewmaster Matt Johnson cordially shared his company and his beers with me. His IPA has now surpassed his pale ale as my favorite birthday celebration beer. It’s my kind of IPA, with tons of hop flavor but without overpowering bitterness. Unfortunately, it’s a seasonal, and they seem to be out of it each time the hapless CBN Associate Editor Don Erickson stops by. Visiting Tustin Brewing has become my birthday tradition. My apologies to Vegas brewers, but Tustin just happens to be a short trek from Disneyland, one of my happiest places on Earth.
The new Steiner’s on Las Vegas Boulevard (the Strip) is now open.

With 24 quality taps and 60-plus bottles, it’s worth a stop for any beer lover, but what’s notable about this location is that it’s only four miles from the south end of the Strip. Part-owner Roger Sachs said, “Our focus will, of course, be local, but we are excited about the opportunity to reach the tourist clientele and look to service the Cancun, Grandview and Tradewinds timeshares and the Oasis motor home park, not to mention some hotel business from the Strip.” To get to Steiner’s, just head south on the Strip till you get to the Food for Less Center at Windmill, or take the I-15 and exit at Blue Diamond and go south on Las Vegas Boulevard.

You can now get a current listing of what’s on tap at each of Southern Nevada’s brewpubs by visiting the Web site of SNAFU, one of the Vegas homebrew clubs. The list is updated monthly by Barley’s brewmaster, Jim Wilson. Visit the website here, it has links to each brewery’s Web site. As always, good things happen in Vegas!

Nine Fine Irishmen | Visit Website
3790 Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 740-6463

Big Dog’s Brewing Co. | Visit Website
The Draft House
4543 N. Rancho Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 89131
(702) 645-1404

Freakin’ Frog Beer & Wine Café | Visit Website
4700 S. Maryland Pkwy. #8
Las Vegas, NV 89119
(702) 597-3237

Steiner’s Pub
8168 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89123
(702) 214-6700

Bob Barnes is a native Las Vegan and a regional correspondent for the Celebrator Beer News. He welcomes your inquiries and is standing by to assist you in your Vegas beer quest. He can also be reached via e-mail.

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