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Nevada Beer Nuggets
By Bob Barnes



MGM Grand
3799 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Rosemary’s Restaurant
8125 W. Sahara #110
Las Vegas, NV 89117

Roy’s Restaurant
620 E. Flamingo Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 89119

Barley’s Casino & Brewery
4500 E Sunset Rd. #30
Henderson, NV 89014

Chicago Brewing Co.
2201 S. Fort Apache Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 89117


In the not-so-distant past, a good beer was nearly impossible to find in the Vegas mega-resort casinos. Times are changing. Case in point is the MGM Grand, with its bars, restaurants, showrooms and Sports Book serving up craft brews in abundance. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale can be found throughout the property. Zuri, a bar just steps from the front lobby, offers Chimay Red; Chimay Blue; Duvel; Spaten Franziskaner; Young’s Double Chocolate Stout; and Lindemans Framboise, Kriek and Pêche.

The nightclub Tabu serves the same beer menu, and Centrifuge, an upscale bar opening in late March or early April, will do so as well. The Cirque du Soleil KA extravaganza serves 1664 Kronenbourg, Fat Tire and Newcastle on tap. And the MGM Sports Book pours Anchor Steam, Fat Tire, Sierra Nevada, Gordon Biersch Märzen, Pyramid Hefe, Guinness and Newcastle. Beverage Director Avi Haksar said, “Our philosophy is that we have the finest food and need to offer the finest products available in beer. Our clientele expects the best.” Haksar exposes his staff to training seminars about the beers they serve and encourages them to promote the higher-quality beer products.

Rosemary’s Restaurant in Las Vegas hosted a chocolate-and-beer pairing featuring selected dark ales of Unibroue and the chocolate truffles of Vosges Haut-Chocolat. Jim Javenkoski, Ph.D., Unibroue’s culinary attaché, designed the food and beer pairings. Michael Smith, Unibroue’s western regional director, provided samples of Terrible (10.5% extra strong dark ale), Trois Pistoles (9% strong dark ale) and Quelque Chose (8% special cherry ale, served mulled). Each beer was paired with two Vosges Haut-Chocolat truffles that featured nontraditional ingredients, including paprika, peppercorns, chipotle chili pepper, Hawaiian island honey and balsamic vinegar. I found the blendings intriguing and the dark roast flavors of the cocoa bean an agreeable match to the rich dark Unibroue beers we were served.

Rosemary’s followed this up with a beer dinner ominously titled “Death by Hops.” The theme was intensely hoppy beers and spicy food. The brews were selected and provided by Wine Warehouse’s Larry James, and the pairings were selected by Rosemary's chef/owner Michael Jordan, GM Michael Shetler and Sommelier Nick Hetzel. Chef Jordan is ably prepared for creating spicy dishes, having apprenticed under Emeril Lagasse in New Orleans. There were big flavors on tap, but the taste buds were warmed up with Cornmeal Fried Oyster with Spicy Rémoulade served with Christoffel Blonde, an unfiltered pilsner from Holland. Tom-Kha-Kai Soup with Coconut Milk, Chicken, Lemon Grass & Galanga Root was paired with Arran Blonde, a Scottish wheat-based ale aggressively hopped and made with a very aromatic yeast strain from the Isle of Arran Brewery. Rogue’s Awry PA, a rye-based IPA, was balanced with Foie Gras Dirty Rice & Stuffed Faro Quail on a bed of Andouille Southern Cooked Greens. Flying Dog’s Wild Dog Anniversary Double Pale Ale has a huge sweet malt kick with Centennial hops that was complemented by a Chipotle Chile-Rubbed Pork Chop with a Chocolate Mole Sauce.

The repast was topped off with a Dessert Trio of Caramel Walnut Brownie, White Chocolate-Nocello Milkshake and Caramel Pot de Creme with toffee, made all the more flavorful with Uinta’s 10th Anniversary Barleywine, a spicy Utah brew with caramel notes and a lingering finish. Rosemary’s regularly sponsors beer and food pairings that almost always sell out, and it shines as the city’s foremost gourmet restaurant, having been selected as the city’s best gourmet restaurant in the local newspaper reader’s poll for the past four years. It’s also one of the few fine restaurants in town that provides an exquisite beer lineup and lists suggested brews with each entree on its menu.
A beer nugget I’ve recently unearthed is the beer selection at Roy’s, a restaurant serving Hawaiian fusion cuisine. Jeff McDermott, managing partner at the E. Flamingo location near the Las Vegas Strip, has made a commitment to providing quality brews to complement his restaurant’s unique cuisine. Duvel, Blue Moon White Ale, Chimay Red, Weihenstephaner Weissbier, Caulier Blonde, Fat Tire and Roy’s Private Reserve round out a more than respectable beer menu.

“Our philosophy is that we have the finest food and need to offer the finest products available in beer."

Freakin’ Frog is now serving Samichlaus and Fantome on tap as well as rotating a handle of locally brewed beer. First up are Big Dog’s Double IPA and Barleywine. Slated to follow in the near future are beers from Monte Carlo Brewpub and Chicago Brewing Company.

The mercury is rising, and that means it’s the start of beer festival season in southern Nevada. On May 14, Barley’s Casino & Brewing Company will host its fourth annual Brewfest from noon to 9:00 in the surrounding plaza. This is an opportunity to try brews from all 10 of the Vegas area breweries, as well as several other select brewing companies from neighboring states, including Mudshark from Lake Havasu, Ariz.; Uinta from Salt Lake City, Utah; and Lengthwise from Bakersfield, Calif. Three live bands will keep the event rocking, and Barley’s will provide reasonably priced BBQ offerings and unlimited tastings for $20. BURP card members (Barley's Ultimate Rewards Program) will receive a $5 discount, and new sign-ups are eligible. Barley’s is in Henderson/Green Valley at Mountain Vista and Sunset.

Chicago Brewing Company will celebrate its fifth anniversary Hawaiian style with a luau-themed bash on Saturday, April 9. A pig will be roasted, a special menu served, and Brewmaster Kyle Cormier will unveil his anniversary brew, a 12% Imperial Honey Blonde that has two gallons of honey per barrel and uses five different yeast strains (symbolic of Chicago’s five years). A professional cigar roller will be on-site as well as Havana Honey girls passing out cigars. The party runs from 3:00 to 9:00 and costs $20 for all the food you can eat, with beers an additional $1 each. Chicago is located at the corner of Sahara and Fort Apache in the Village Square Center.

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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