Think of America’s great beer-drinking cities and Vegas doesn’t spring immediately to mind. No, the cocktail reigns supreme here — and has done so ever since the days when Las Vegans clinked martini glasses against the red-orange glow of the atomic bombs dropped on the nearby Mojave Desert. But a burgeoning beer culture is taking root in Sin City, thanks in part to a small but innovative community of brewers.
Ellis Island Casino & Brewery
This off-Strip venue, behind Paris and Bally’s, is beloved by locals for its kitschy old-school vibe, cut-loose karaoke and a surprisingly tasty $7.99 steak dinner served, naturally, with a fresh-brewed beer. Brewmaster Joe Pickett makes several year-round beers — a light brew, an amber, a stout and a hefeweizen among them.
Chicago Brewing Company
Put the bright lights of the Strip in your rearview mirror, drive west toward Summerlin and look for the red-brick building on Fort Apache Road. Chicago Brewing Company pours six year-round beers, from a blond ale to a “hop bomb” I.P.A. The brewery operation is ensconced behind see-through glass in the center of the pub, so you can kick back while watching brewmaster Dave Pascual slave away over a hot tank.
Sin City Brewing Co.
Sin City Brewing Co.’s “mini microbrew bars” are all about the beer. The three Strip locations — at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian and Flamingo Las Vegas — serve four year-round beers and a high-hop seasonal I.P.A., all from brewmaster Richard Johnson. The most popular of the year-round brews is an Octoberfest-style amber-hued lager that’s just about perfect.
—Anne Burke, Custom Publishing Writer