Two New Breweries Coming to Southern Nevada
I frequently hear rumors of new breweries opening up, but very often they don’t pan out, so I refrain from reporting on any new ventures until I can verify they’re actually going forward. I’m happy to report that my friend Chris Walowski, Head Brewer of Trustworthy Brewing, has verified his brewery will be coming to the Vegas Strip this summer, taking over the space of the former I Love Burgers at The Palazzo. The new steam-jacketed 10-barrel brewhouse with full kitchen will be a second location for the brewery formerly known as Verdugo West and will be the only brewery on the Strip, the first to grace Las Vegas Blvd. since Monte Carlo (now Park MGM) closed its brewpub in 2007.
Since opening in Burbank, Calif., in January 2017, Trustworthy Brewing has grown from a three-person team to a 12-person team, increased its four fermenters to nine and doubled its beer production. The name change was due to many having difficulty pronouncing and spelling the name and having Verdugo autocorrected to Vertigo when Googling. The new name made sense as the brewery’s Trustworthy IPA is its most popular beer. MCC Hospitality Group, parent company of the brewery, already has a presence at The Palazzo, as it owns Morels Steakhouse, which has been serving the brews since shortly after the brewery opened.
Having tasted Walowsky’s beers at both Morels and at the brewery in Burbank, I can attest that he is a very talented and innovative brewer who makes very clean, well-balanced and flavorful brews. My favorite is his Gigil, a pilsner made with puffed jasmine rice. This new brewery will be a worthy addition to our local brewing scene and it’s cool that the Strip will once again have a venue in the beer making biz.
Speaking of rumors, there has been scuttlebutt for months that our friends at Aces & Ales were planning on opening a brewery to go along with their two craft beer pub locations, and now they’ve announced it is based on fact.
While there aren’t too many details at this time, plans are to break ground in the coming months, with an opening slated for fall/winter 2019. The 275-seat, 8,200-sq. ft. ten-barrel brewery will be located at The Bend, a new center with a movie theater and handful of restaurants on West Sunset Road near IKEA.
The brewery will include a scratch “craft cuisine” kitchen and family-friendly restaurant, VIP/private events space and two dog-friendly outdoor patios. The menu will offer some of the most popular dishes from the two current Aces & Ales locations, and also incorporate expanded seasonally-inspired entree selections (with vegetarian options), along with a children’s menu.
The venue will be environmentally-friendly. Co-founder Kerri Kelli says, “We will strive for zero waste and recycle and compost everything possible. Our spent grain from the brewing process will be used as animal feed by local farmers. All our lighting will be LED, our cleaning supplies non-toxic, and we plan to conserve and re-use water from the brewing process.”
Aces & Ales first opened in 2009 in the southeast quadrant of the Vegas valley on Nellis near Twain and in 2013 opened a second location, in the northwest on Tenaya between Smoke Ranch and Cheyenne. For the past decade it has proven to be a bastion for great craft beer, offering numerous beer events and a phenomenally extensive selection of rare and vintage beers. Now this brewery will bring to fruition its longtime dream to brew their own AND give Southern Nevadans in the southwest a brewery in their neighborhood.
Arts District Transitioning into a Beer District?
The 18b Arts District (an 18-block zone packed with art-related galleries, studios, boutiques, stores, bars and restaurants) in Downtown Las Vegas may be becoming a beer district. In early 2018 the area welcomed Three Sheets, a second location of the same-named establishment in Dublin, Calif. in the Bay Area. This craft beer bar delivers with a 24-tap selection of several local beers, a variety of beer styles and many brews you don’t see everywhere else that is fluid (pun intended), meaning as soon as one keg is emptied a different one replaces it.
In July the Nevada Taste Site opened. The new restaurant and bar by Derek Stonebarger is just two doors down from his ReBar and is filled with historical knick-knacks (including the old Davy’s Locker neon fish-shaped sign perched above the bar) from his personal collection. Other accoutrements worthy of a museum include pieces of Nevada history, including a mahogany wood bar repurposed from the jury box of the Nevada Supreme Courthouse built in 1905, original hand-painted Union Brew sign that once hung in Goldfield Brewery in 1904, wallpaper made from vintage menus of restaurants from Vegas’ past and blueprints from the Nevada Test Site. The bar celebrates all things Nevada, including its beer, with 24 taps pouring only Nevada brews, including nearly all of the Las Vegas breweries and several from Reno, including IMBĪB, Pigeon Head and Revision breweries.
The area also has Hop Nuts Brewing at 1120 S. Main (near Charleston), and more beer venues are on the way. In the coming months, opening will be Beer District Brewing, a 10-barrel brewhouse which will be situated at 914 S. Main.
Expected to open in the spring, CraftHaus Brewery will open a secondary tasting room at 197 California St. just a few doors down from the popular Esther’s Kitchen. The new location will not be equipped with brewing equipment, but will offer specialty beers and one-off brews which will rotate through its twenty-four tap selection. Stay tuned for further reports on these and other openings coming soon.
Ellis Island Appoints Two New Brewers and Doubles Capacity
Ellis Island Hotel, Casino and Brewery, located on Koval Lane less than a mile east of the Vegas Strip, has earned a reputation since its opening in 1998 for producing extremely light bodied beer, and even utilized a rice cooker for its lagers. But now that is changing in an most excellent fashion. The rice cooker has been retired and the brewery has announced changes to its brew staff, naming Michael Key as director of brewery operations and Eddie Leal as head brewer. After meeting both and tasting their very flavorful brews I can attest that the brewery has indeed turned the page and is writing a new chapter of its history.
Both Key and Leal have stellar brewing resumes. Key began his career under an apprenticeship with Dan Gordon (co-founder of Gordon Biersch) over 25 years ago and has brewed at several breweries, including Steelhead Brewing and Southern California Brewing, and eventually ended up back at Gordon Biersch where he served as Senior Regional Brewer, overseeing brewery locations throughout the company. Key has been awarded medals at the Great American Beer Festival and the Los Angeles County Fair Beer Competition.
Leal began his brewing career at Steelhead Brewing as assistant brewer under Key, until he left and became a head brewer one year later. Leal brings more than 20 years of brewing experience, and has won medals at the Great American Beer Festival and Washington Beer Awards.
Key and Leal have updated the IPA recipe to a hoppier west coast style, with big citrus and fruity notes; released a Bavarian-style Hefeweizen; and will offer up a Doppelbock for the holiday season. The goal is to add a new beer each month and eventually tap 12 of their brews; and barrel-aged beers are also in future plans.
The two accomplished brewers are being brought in at an opportune time, as the property will expand in early 2019 when it opens the two-story Front Yard outdoor dining, drinking and entertainment venue. The brewery also has doubled its capacity, expanding from a 10-bbl to 20-bbl brewhouse and is opening a brewery in St. George, Utah, which will allow Ellis Island to expand to outside accounts throughout Southern Nevada.
To view a video of Key and Leal explaining their new brews, visit their Facebook page here!
As always, great beer happens in Nevada!