Tap the keg, savor the flavor with these food/drink festivals

If there’s one thing Vegas does well — besides gamble — it’s imbibe. This makes it the perfect setting for Motley Brews’ Great Vegas Festival of Beer, returning to downtown April 11.

Nevada’s largest craft beer event, the festival brings together beer enthusiasts, brewers and culinary masterminds to celebrate all things craft beer. This year, more than 300 brews from more than 100 different breweries will be on tap, along with dishes from a dozen Las Vegas chefs, convening in the streets of downtown Vegas near the Fremont East Entertainment District. This year’s festival includes educational sessions and a full afternoon of live music. 

“We’re doing more this year to evolve the festival experience beyond a traditional beer sampling,” said Brian Chapin, founder of Motley Brews. “There was a great response from guests during the debut of the Gastropub and BrewLogic at last year’s festival. We want to continue to explore the diversity of craft beer through innovative ideas to keep the festival fresh and exciting for beer lovers and novices alike.”

Motley Brews will again partner with the Nevada Craft Brewers Assn. to provide rare specialty beers brewed exclusively for the event. www.greatvegasbeer.com

After all that drinking, you may just have the courage to throw down with “Hell’s Kitchen” tyrant Gordon Ramsay at Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit, the country’s No. 1 wine and food festival, at various locations around the Strip, April 23 to 26.

The festival, now in its ninth year, gives you the chance to hang with (and maybe even get yelled at by) celeb chefs such as Ramsay, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, François Payard, Masa Takayama, Michael Mina and Giada DeLaurentiis.

Perennial favorites include the Grand Tasting at Caesars Palace and the Chef’s Counter: All-Star Feast at Aria. New events include a celebrity chef brunch, “Prime Time” with Jean-Georges Vongerichten at his signature Prime Steakhouse at Bellagio, “In Hell’s Kitchen” with Gordon Ramsay at Caesars Palace and an Italian-style brunch at Julian Serrano’s soon-to-open Lago at Bellagio.

“This is truly the only weekend each year when world-class chefs gather in one destination to host intimate dinners where they push culinary innovation and mix and mingle with their fans and peers,” said Adam Rapoport, Bon Appetit editor-in-chief.

This year also introduces a partnership between Bon Appetit and Bravo Media to put the winner of the network’s newest show, “Best New Restaurant,” in the spotlight at the Grand Tasting at Caesars Palace. “Best New Restaurant,” hosted by Vegas celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, follows chefs from 16 restaurants across the country as they are challenged with a variety of tasks testing their overall performance, the strength of their staff and the clarity of their concept. www.vegasuncorked.com

-Andrea Kahn, Brand Publishing Writer

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