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Las Vegas: Would You Care For a Heineken?

Its everywhere and it is ubiquitous.  Heineken owns Las Vegas.  At least it seemed that way to me.  But let me start at the top.  My Son had a Basketball tournament in Las Vegas last week.  So we decided to make a little mini vacation out of it.  We took a couple of days after the tournament to play tourist.  I was with the fam, so there were no big excursions to go hook up with some great whiskey or single malt, no, I was relegated to the occasional beer, but frankly it really wasn’t worth it.

Now let me start out by saying I know there are amazing drinks in Vegas, and no, I’m not talking about the three foot tall hurricane glasses filled with 80 proof laden fruit juice.  There are great whiskeys available in many of the finer establishments in Vegas.  I know this because we walked around a lot and I caught glimpses of great things on menus and glass shelves around the casinos.  It looks like the Bellagio has about the best selection of the major casinos without venturing off the strip.

I did mention I was with the fam, so these places were off limits, at least for the next 9 years until my youngest turns 21.  Mostly what we were talking about was beers with dinner.  My family and I are buffet people, so we checked out a couple while we were there.  The beer selection was abysmal every where.  It didn’t matter if we were at Caesar’s Palace, the Belaggio, or New York New York.  They had plenty of Bud, Miller, and Coors selections, one place even carried Blue Moon, but when I tried to order it, they were out.  No, Heineken was as crafty as they really got, and it was everywhere!

So my question is why, in a city that boasts 24 hour night life and every sort of exotic luxury known to man, can you not get a decent beer?  Oh, the Chrystal was flowing, and you can find $300 drams of single malt, and $3500 bottles of wine, but not a brown or better yet inky black beer in the place.  Vegas prides itself on being edgy and enlightened.  I think it is about time that the beer selection reflected this overall impression that the city leaves on you.  Otherwise it’s just a fun place in the desert to get a Heineken.

-Don

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Categories: Beer, Lifestyle, Scotch Whisky

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27 Comments on “Las Vegas: Would You Care For a Heineken?”

  1. August 2, 2011 at 11:37 am #

    Amen! Vegas has so much to improve upon with craft beer. The number of decent craft bars can be counted on one hand most likely. I found pour 24 which was one of the best there with Stone Ruination on tap, but not spectacular selection. I heard the burger bar at Mandalay bay has good beer as well. It just shouldn’t be that hard to find decent beer. Like you said, it isn’t hard to find primo scotches. I was at a place (i believe near MGM) where they were selling 55 year Macallan for $1650! That’s one serving!

    • Don
      August 2, 2011 at 11:53 am #

      High rollers like their scotch! I was relegated to family places since my boys that were with us were 16 and 12. None of those places had any craft beer, and for Beer Sake, You would think Caesar’s Palace would have a decent craft beer or two, but not in the places family can go!

      • August 3, 2011 at 10:08 am #

        The Burger Bar does have a great selection of craft beer. And the burgers are great. But trying to get anything other than BMC on a casino floor is a disaster. Some places do have Guiness… but nothing craftier than that.

  2. johnking82
    August 2, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    I’m just kinda ashamed you tried to order a Blue Moon. I hope you would have at least said, “hold the orange”.

    I can’t imagine if Vegas did have craft beer, when I went 5 years ago I paid like $8-9 for a domestic…craft beer would make me even poorer. At least there are naughty advertisement cards to look at in Vegas.

    • Don
      August 2, 2011 at 11:59 am #

      Yeah, my 16 year old was like a steak in front of a hungry tiger where those card hander outer guys (and gals) were concerned. At one point my wife freaked out at one guy, screaming at him, “he is only 16!” Mother claws came out. Beer prices haven’t moderated much, thus it was a dry trip for me.

      • johnking82
        August 2, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

        It would have been a dry trip for me as well, I’m married now. (pun intended)

        • Don
          August 2, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

          It’s amazing what we give up…:-/

  3. August 2, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    Some of the prices mentioned kinda spell out the demographic at which Vegas is aimed, and it doesn’t include the bulk of real beer or whiskey drinkers. IM(not so)HO there ain’t a whiskey in the world worth 1500 bucks+ a dram or a wine worth 3500 bucks a bottle. That’s not about taste or enjoyment. It’s just more of the ‘Look at me! I can afford it and you can’t, nyaaahh!’ attitude.

    • Don
      August 2, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

      Plenty of that attitude in Vegas! I’ve never seen a place that is more designed for people to be “seen” than Vegas. From the street performers to the faces in the crowd it is all about the glam and who can get the eyes upon them! Pretty hedonistic place, but if you are just a gawky tourist, there is plenty to do and see!

  4. August 2, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    I was in Vegas a few weeks ago for a conference, and I’ll echo the sentiment. Macro swill was everywhere. At some of the conference receptions, they had Sam Adams, which was OK. Honestly, I had the best luck at Walgreen’s, where I could get Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Stone Arrogant Bastard. The Sierra Nevada was actually cheaper than Bud Light Lime, which I thought was hilarious. The only other craft beer sighting on the strip was when I went out for sushi at the Palazzo and they had Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale.

    I think there are probably some great craft beer places in Vegas, but I’ll bet they are all far away from the strip, where the normal folks reside. Las Vegas is a freak show.

    • Don
      August 2, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

      It is a freak show, but it is America’s freak show, so we must embrace it and claim it as our own! Yeah, we didn’t get to all the hotels, but the ones we did get to didn’t have anything much to offer for craft beer if you were toting around kids, but the gelato at the Bellagio was amazing, and my kids loved getting Ice cream at every meal that day! 😉

      • August 2, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

        Yeah, Vegas is just not my type of place. It’s just so ridiculously over the top and obnoxious, which is amusing for a while, but it gets old very quick. And, I don’t gamble, so I’m automatically outside the target demographic. I think if I had been there with friends, I’m sure I would have had more fun. I did have some very, very good meals on my expense account while I was there, though. 😉

  5. August 2, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    I was similarly disappointed on a recent trip. I was staying at the Venetian though, and they had a little hole in the wall called Sin City Brewing. It was pretty straightforward stuff, but it was good and I was able to sneak away from my conference and have a few brews. Of course, it wasn’t really available at the restaurants, but the nicer places did have some options. Bouchon, in particular, had a great beer menu, with lots of Belgians available. A couple places seemed to have Fat Tire as well, but for the most part, it was the macros and Heinekin (or similarly bad imports, like Peroni), which was indeed disappointing. We ended up at some steakhouse at one point (don’t remember the name) and they had Chimay Blue, which was actually a nice match… (of course, that was really the only good beer they had, but still – I wasn’t complaining).

    • Don
      August 2, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

      I think you have to get to those placed that cater to a more discriminating palate to find things that are a bit craftier. However not being on an expense account, and having to pay for four meals each and every time we went out, some of those nicer places were out of reach on this trip. I was just surprised that I can get a craft beer at TGI fridays in Boise, but can’t find one in most restaurants on the strip.

  6. August 2, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

    Well there are places, just not in the casinos apparently.

    BeerAdvocate listed these places:

    Breweries:

    Big Dog’s Brewing Co./ Draft House – 4543 N Rancho Dr., Las Vegas
    Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant – 3987 Paradise Road, Las Vegas
    Triple 7 Restaurant and Brewery – 200 North Main Street, Las Vegas
    Chicago Brewing Company – 2201 South Fort Apache Road, Las Vegas
    Tenaya Creek Restaurant & Brewery – 3101 North Tenaya Way, Las Vegas
    Joseph James Brewing Inc. – 155 N. Gibson #2, Henderson
    Sin City Beer Co. – 5420 W. Sahara Ave., Las Vegas
    Barley’s Casino & Brewing Co. – 4500 E Sunset Road, Henderson
    Ellis Island Casino & Brewery – 4178 Koval Lane, Las Vegas
    Boulder Dam Brewing Co. – 453 Nevada Way, Boulder City
    Camo Brewing Company – 3300 E Flamingo Rd Ste 17, Las Vegas

    Bars / Eateries:

    Rosemary’s Restaurant – 8125 W. Sahara Ave., Las Vegas
    Burger Bar at Mandalay Place – 3930 South Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas
    Aces & Ales – 3740 South Nellis Blvd., Las Vegas
    Freakin Frog – 4700 South Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas
    Yard House (Town Square) – 6593 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas
    Crown & Anchor British Pub – 1350 E. Tropicana Ave., Las Vegas
    Yard House (Red Rock Resort) – 11011 West Charleston Blvd., Las Vegas
    32 Draft Bar – 12300 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Henderson
    Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant – 750 South Rampart Blvd., Las Vegas
    BJ’s Restaurant – 10840 West Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas
    Holsteins Shakes And Buns – 3708 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas
    Big Dog’s Cafe And Casino – 6390 W. Sahara Ave., Las Vegas
    Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas – 4510 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas
    Pour 24 – 3790 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas
    The Pub (at Monte Carlo) – 3770 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas
    Sin City Brewing Co. at The Miracle Mile Shops – 3667 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas
    Chicago Brewing Co. & Cigar Lounge – 202 Fremont Street, Las Vegas
    Nine Fine Irishmen – 3790 South Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas
    Sin City Brewing Co. at The Flamingo – 3555 Las Vegas Blvd South, Las Vegas

    If you’re a member of AHA (American Homebrewers Association), BJ’s offers a discount of 10% off Food & Merchandise.

    You can take the fam. Next time.

    • Don
      August 2, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

      OH, if only I had this list before I went! Actually the Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay sounds like a perfect place for the fam. I’m thinking next time we go, that is where we will be staying.

      • August 2, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

        Burgers & beer plus a happy fam. Life does not get sweeter.

  7. Jimmy Mac
    August 2, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    Definitely check out Sin City Brewery next time you re in Vegas. They have a few locations where they serve their awesome beer: Flamingo, Planet Hollywood, and I believe the Venetian as well. One of the best Imperial Stouts I’ve ever had!
    http://www.sincitybeer.com

    • Don
      August 2, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

      Thanks for the tip Jimmy. We did make it into the Flamingo to see the flamingos (duh), but the place was so run down we didn’t attempt to have anything there. Now that I know, I’ll look for it next time.

  8. John riley
    August 2, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    Go off the strip into old downtown las Vegas. California hotel and casino has a little micro brewery in house. The porter is the best and is actually my all time favorite.

    • Don
      August 2, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

      We were wanting to get there, but got too busy with other things we wanted to see. Next time through, for sure.

  9. August 3, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    Oh, and Todd English’s P.U.B. at Cosmopolitan/City Center was good for food and craft beer as well. Lots of interesting draft selections (and a few in the bottle). They seem to at least pretend to care about craft beer.

    • Don
      August 3, 2011 at 10:19 am #

      I’ll have to save this one for a trip when I’m sans kids. The Cosmo doesn’t look too kid friendly!

      • August 3, 2011 at 10:45 am #

        It is outdoors at the Cosmo/City Center – you don’t have to enter the casino at all. The restaurant is relatively kid friendly – I can’t imagine you’d have any problems with children in there.

        • Don
          August 3, 2011 at 10:53 am #

          Good to know. Thanks.

  10. August 4, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

    I haven’t been to Vegas lately, but everytime I’ve been I didn’t have time to sit back and enjoy a good beer… then again I usually go with a younger crowd who love to fill their rooms with bottles of good ol’ Johnny Dub, El Capitan and others…

    … and if I happen to buy anything on the strip it’s usually that 5 foot tube thing you hang around your neck…

    Bellagio is my fav place for breakfast hands down…

  11. Josh
    August 7, 2011 at 2:09 am #

    The Pub at Monte Carlo has a TON of craft selections on tap

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