I had the interesting pleasure to visit Las Vegas for a Conference. I wasn’t looking forward to the trip much because most of my memories of Vegas are of smoky, loud casinos, over the top entertainment and bad draft beer. Don’t get me wrong I like to gamble, I‘m just not good at it. So this time I did a little research before I left and found that Vegas seemed to have come along on the craft beer wagon. Now I was intrigued and looking forward to a little beer hunt. I stopped by the Pub located in the Monte Carlo. It’s a nice looking place and they have a beer locker, where you can keep special bottles. I didn’t count but I there were around 75 taps and an excellent bottle menu. A little pricey on some of the bottles but still a cool spot to have some food and beer. During a break from standing at a trade show booth I stopped off at a bar in the Paris, the conference hotel, for a beer and to play a little video poker. The beer selection was surprisingly excellent. I expected only the standard Miller and Bud products but they had at least 10 different high quality imports and domestic craft beers. I ordered a Pilsner Urquell to get the pallet going. It was served in a slightly chilled Pilsner glass, with the proper head and was very refreshing. Then I found that they were complimentary and it then it was like adding Bacos, even better. I had a few free beers that only cost me 40 dollars and an hour of video poker. I had read about the Sin City Brewery and was on a mission to check it out. I even emailed the owner before I left for Vegas. The Sin City Bars are small and are in the shopping malls so it was a little strange to sit down for a beer. However the beer completely made up for the locations. I was happily surprised. They had 5 different beers on tap, an IPA, a Hefe Weissen, an Amber, a light Lager and a stout. The IPA was solid, a nice session IPA. I was ok with the amber but I am not a fan of ambers so it’s unfair for me to judge. The stout was what you expect from a stout, a bit creamy, a coffee note and it stuck with you. The light Lager was anything but a light lager, it tasted like an eastern European style lager. Like a Zywiec. I later found out that they call it a light beer because the customers want a light beer. The hefe weizen was, in my opinion, freaking awesome. One of my favorite hefe weizens is Franzikaner and I would have bet money that they had a keg of Franz and saying they made it. I went back every day, sometimes twice and at the different locations to double check and YES it was always the same. The only draw back is all the beers were served in plastic, but it was still good beer. Hopefully on the next trip I will get a chance to talk with the owner / Brewer and get some of the back story.
I guess it is clear why I believe in the Craft Beer Movement as a renewal of the American dream. It may also explain why the "moist" Deep South is lacking behind in almost all economic indicators. Take this article from the Coloradoan:
"Craft beer provides $446M boost to Fort Collins, Colorado economies" http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20120426/NEWS01/204260323
The article attributes some of the success to a low excise tax on beer in Colorado at $0.08 per Gallon, ranking it at 46 out of 50 states.
There is a beer festival in St. Petersburg at the Cajun Cafe on the Bayou on April 28th. Looks to be a nice time. Hacking Beer will be there and you can try some of Greg Rapp's beers. Greg is the owner and brewer for the soon to be open Rapp Brewing Company in Pinellas Park. http://www.icontact-archive.com/2tHo2txPcQaE07rkyn1RUC-RC0lvwcth?w=2