(Full Disclosure: This was supposed to be posted on Monday. Vegas has a way of making you forget to do stuff.)
Sunday in Vegas. My wife has a shoot with Butch Harmon for Winn Grips on Monday out at Rio Secco, so I’m tagging along. Since we have the day to ourselves, and it’s football season, the plan is simple. Find a the best place to watch the games with the best beer selection. My wife doesn’t like beer, but as long as there’s a full bar, she’s completely content. Shouldn’t be overly difficult to find a match here in Vegas.
Big problem. The Las Vegas Rock n Roll Marathon is today. We’re staying at the Green Valley Ranch in Henderson, so this means there is absolutely no way we’re getting anywhere near the strip. Ok. Don’t panic. Time to improvise.
Sidebar: Watching football out west is just plain weird. Kickoff is at 10am, so if you’re not careful, you’re acting stupid before lunch.
There’s a great local brewery down the road called Craft Haus, but they don’t have a full bar (major deductions for the wife) and no football. So, it’s looking like we’ll have to hunker down and see what Green Valley Ranch has to offer.
After having a couple Makers 46’s on the rocks at Drop Bar in the middle of the casino with my wife nearly losing it while watching her Lions do everything they could to hand Green Bay a win, we decide to check out Pizza Rock, cuz ya know…food is needed (refer to the previous sidebar…)
Total clutch move of the day. Plenty of football to be watched, full bar, CRAZY good beer selection and as an added bonus…some of the best pizza I’ve ever had (I was born in NY and grew up in CT, so I know my shiz). Here’s how the tastings went…
MORNING JOE (Coffee Kolsch)
BANGER BREWING (Las Vegas, NV)
Coffee and beer. I gotta say, I’m loving this latest trend. Whereas you’d normally expect this in a stout or a porter, I’m starting to see breweries use this method on lighter styles like this Kolsch. Actually, 3 Daughters Brewing in St. Pete does a Blonde Ale with Coffee (Awake Coffee Blonde) which is not to be missed if you can catch it at their tap room. But I digress…
(inner monologue) “A Kolsch brewed with coffee from a local? I’d be stupid not to start with this one. Also…get the large pint. It’s a celebration bitches.”
The scent of sweet roasted coffee hits you right off the bat, which is also the 1st thing you taste. This quickly develops into that typical Kolsch crispness, which finishes slightly dry with a lovely lingering latte-esque sweet bitterness. Extremely unique and equally delicious. This pint did not last long.
UNION JACK IPA
FIRESTONE WALKER BREWING CO. (Paso Robles, CA)
Ok. I can’t get this goodness in Florida, so after everything I’ve heard about this one…I must.
I’d say this one lived up to the longstanding hype. A hybrid of an English and West Coast IPA, I’d describe this as somewhat “rich”, with its very fruity, citrusy aroma, big initial hop punch, resiny characteristics and clean, dry finish. What sets this in the “must have” category of IPA’s, for me, is the fact that it somehow stays sessionable even while boasting super big flavors. Moral of the story? Please distribute to FLA. I will buy it frequently.
EVOCATION (Saison/Farmhouse Ale)
CRAFTHAUS BREWERY (Henderson, NV)
Totally forgot to take a picture of this one. Not because it wasn’t good (quite the contrary), but the afore mentioned Makers 46’s and previous two brews may have impaired my thought making process. Hadn’t ordered any pizza yet either, which wasn’t helping matters. Vegas.
I do remember enjoying this one and after abandoning the locals for the Union Jack, I felt I owed it to Vegas to return to one of their own.
A very new brewery (only been open for about a year), Evocation was a very solid representation of this traditional Belgian-style ale. Nicely refreshing after the Union Jack, this one hinted at notes of lemon and pepper with a bit of clove and the typical earthy yeast tones consistent with the style.
Pizzas were ordered during this round. A wood fired Margherita and a brick oven Clam and Garlic (oh sweet New England). Both were absolutely phenomenal. I cannot stress this enough. If you make it off the strip and into Henderson. Get. This. Pizza.
STICKEE MONKEE (Central Coast Quad aka: Belgian Quad)
FIRESTONE WALKER BREWING CO. (Paso Robles, CA)
Holy hell. Now it’s just getting ridiculous. I started Sunday with bourbon, so I may as well finish it with this barrel aged wonder of nature.
(inner monologue) “I can’t believe I’m even seeing this on the menu. Me want. They only have it in pint bottles and it’s 12.5 ABV. Still…me want. Well, the Pats game is almost over and we’ve got to be up early tomorrow for the shoot, so I probably shouldn’t. Wait. We’re on West Coast Time. It’s only 4:30. Me get.”
After watching the end of the Pats/Giants game (GO PATS!!!), I took this one to go (ahh…Vegas) and we went back to the room. Just gluttonously indulging. VERY sweet and malty (in every good way possible), you immediately get oak, vanilla and molasses right off the bat, which mellows a bit into roasty coffee flavors, finishing with a slight boozy bourbon burn. This beer sends you into a tasty vortex that may actually make time travel possible.
(ok…NOW I’m drunk).
Took my sweet-ass time with this bottle while snacking on the leftover Clam and Garlic pizza. Actually managed to stretch this bottle out over the course of a couple hours. No reason to rush this masterpiece. Stickee sweet. From my head to my feet.