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AUG/SEP 2006 | REGIONAL | WEST COAST

Nevada Beer Nuggets
By Bob Barnes

Brewmaster Dave Otto at Big Dog’s Brewing Company will go to great lengths to please his beer fans, even going so far as to brew a special beer. That is, if it’s for your 7,777th beer. Vegas resident Greg Nowatzki has been compiling his beer-tasting list since May of 1995, when he set a goal to see if he could try 1,000 different beers in his lifetime. His 1,000th didn’t take long and occurred at the 1998 GABF. His 4,000th was reached at the 2002 GABF and was documented and aired on Food TV. Greg has tasted beer from all 50 states and D.C., as well as from 74 different countries, and his list includes beers starting with every letter of the alphabet.

“I'm very happy that Dave agreed to brew my 7,777th,” Greg said, “as it only seemed natural to have that number here in Vegas, and to have it at one of my favorite spots (at 7:07 p.m. on 7/7, no less).” Brewmaster Dave assisted Greg in venerating the number 7 by brewing a beer named Quad 7 that has 7 malts, 7 hops and 77 IBUs, at 17.7 degrees Plato, weighing in at 7.7% abv. Hopefully, there will be some left by the time you read this, but I wouldn’t wait long to find out.

Las Vegas will be represented at the Oregon Brewer's Festival with Tenaya Creek’s GABF gold-winning pilsner. Owner/Brewmaster Tim Etter said, “Being that it falls on one of the warmest weekends of the summer, nothing beats a cold pils on a hot day.” Tim is also providing local Las Vegans with a kolsch to help get us through our 100-plus-degree summer swelter.

Matt Marino, brewmaster at 777 Brewpub at Main Street Station in Las Vegas, likes to play around with ominous triple digits. Last year he brewed El Diablo barley wine for his brewpub’s 666th batch; this year he’s followed it up with Omen Ale, a 23 Plato barley wine brewed on 6/6/6.

Matt is hosting a guest brewer, Jim Rossi, from Oakley, Calif., who won this year’s SNAFU (Vegas’s homebrew club) Winterfest Homebrew Competition. One of Jim’s prizes is the honor of brewing his Best of Show winner, Blond Ambition, a Munich helles, which Brewmaster Matt will be entering in the 2006 GABF Pro-Am competition. Jim has won more than his share of homebrewing honors, and whereas most homebrewers would be jazzed to win just one best of show, he has won nine. Jim said, “It’s actually pretty amazing to think that a guy from Oakley will be brewing his garage-made beer in Vegas on such a huge scale (350 gallons) and then having it sent off to Denver to compete with the commercial breweries! ‘Dare to dream it.’ You bet!”

Freakin’ Frog offers over 650 beers, but there’s no stopping Adam Carmer, who claims to be shooting for 1,000.

Freakin’ Frog, having just celebrated its third anniversary, is expanding again and will hold another breaking-down party, during which patrons help break down a wall by slamming a sledgehammer into it. They are rewarded for their exertion with free beer. The expansion will enable the Frog to add a 400-square-foot cooler and to further expand its already enormous beer list. The list is currently at over 650 beers, but there’s no stopping owner Adam Carmer, who claims to be shooting for 1,000. Beer fans have been taking note of the largest beer selection in Nevada; the Frog was recently ranked 32nd on Beer Advocate’s list of Top 50 Places to Have a Beer in America. The Frog, located in Las Vegas across the street from UNLV, was the only establishment in Nevada to make the list.

Las Vegas did not have to suffer long without a homebrew shop. Jon Griffin, who owned the recently closed Nevada Brew & Wine Supply, has opened Brew-Kits.com, located on Highland near Spring Mountain and I-15. Jon said, “I am going to be open only three days a week to start, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 3 to 7, but you can order online and can always make an appointment.” Call 702-565-BREW or visit the Web site at brew-kits.com.

The Colorado Belle’s Boiler Room Brewpub in Laughlin, Nev., will hold its eighth annual Blues and Brews Festival on September 29 through October 1 featuring the brews of Brewmaster Marshall Redmond. The outdoor event will include live blues and a Miss Hawaiian Tropic Pageant. For more information, call 800-477-4837 or visit coloradobelle.com. Laughlin is located at the southern tip of Nevada, about a 90-minute drive from Las Vegas.

Gordon Biersch in Las Vegas put on a four-course brewer’s dinner in May, its first in over five years. Brewmaster Richard Lovelady and Chef Matt Fresinski prefaced each course with details about each dish and the brew with which it was paired. For starters, Märzen Marinated Chicken Skewer, Chipotle Chicken Tostada and Sweet Ginger-Chicken Wonton Stick were served with Golden Export; the salad course was Gorgonzola Pear Tartlet with Baby Greens matched with Maibock; the main course was a choice of Chile Rubbed Hanger Steak or Hefe-Citrus Marinated Salmon paired with Hefeweizen; and the finale was Drunken Pineapple with Coconut Ice served with Dunkles.

All of the food was prepared or somehow incorporated with Richard’s brews. Participants were given a tour of the brewery; Richard gave a detailed talk describing the brewing process and what he does with his four cherished brewing ingredients: barley, hops, water and yeast. I can personally testify that the meal was gourmet quality, but the price certainly was not. The dinner was a sellout, and more such dinners are planned. Go to gordonbiersch.com and sign up for GB Online to receive e-mails about future events, or call 702-312-5247 for scheduling information.

Rosemary’s Restaurant’s next beer dinner will have a West Coast Brewer theme with brews from three breweries, including Sierra Nevada showcasing some products from its pilot brewhouse where experimentation with different brewing styles takes place. It’s possible that there will be beers served that have not previously been released. The date is Thursday, September 21, and the cost is $85, which is all-inclusive: tax and tip, reception with hors d’oeuvres and a five-course feast pairing different beers with each course. Rosemary’s is the premier dining spot in Las Vegas for the highest quality of epicurean excellence matched with an equally phenomenal beer list. The beer dinners never fail to sell out, so don’t delay in reserving your spot by calling 702-869-2283. As always, good things happen in Vegas!

Brew Kits
3695 Highland Ave., #7
Las Vegas, NV 89103
702-456-2739
brew-kits.com

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 be reached via e-mail at LVBobB@juno.com.

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