I May Have Found the Best Brew Pub in America!

Last week saw me driving a lot and heading south to the biggest little city in the world Reno, Nevada.  I was there for work, but I managed to get in a little pub time while I was there too.  The hotel I was staying in (The Eldorado) had what they advertised as the best brew pub in America as voted by Traveler Magazine.  My understanding is that this honor was bestowed on the Brew Brothers pub by Traveler several years ago, but I guess it is a little like being President of the United States, once you are President, you are referred to as Mr. President for life.

Being as they had this honor bestowed upon them I thought the only way to truly test it out was to order the dreaded sampler.  Yes, the sampler where more hopes have been dashed than in a strip wedding chapel.  Most places like this that don’t bottle their brew and only sell what they make on site have a signature brew, and then the rest are just kinda ok.  So I began my journey from light to dark, thinking that I would have some palate left over that way by the time I got to the stout.

There were 8 2-3oz samples in all. I started with their version of a Kolsch.  Their Carano Extra.  This was a very light and refreshing beer, that had good flavor.  I thought, aha, I’ve found their signature brew, the one they were known for.  This was further supported by the fact that the two guys next to me at the bar were also drinking this beer.  So, it was good, and very well crafted, as it is difficult to brew flavorful beers that are crystal clear.  Very little room for error.  This showed they had brewing chops and I was anxious to try the next in the sample platter.

Next up was their Gold Dollar Pale Ale.  A nice 5%er or so.  It too was quite well crafted and flavorful, and I began to have hope that this might go better than just about every other sampler I have ever had.

Next up was their Wild Card Wheat Ale.  This was a fairly opaque and cloudy wheat beer that was a complete banana bomb.  It smelled and tasted like bananas.  If I orderd this in a glass it came with an orange slice in it.  I thought that would make an appealing fruit salad, but not my cup of tea as far as beer goes.  I gave them a pass on that beer because I, like my brother Jim, don’t really like wheat beers, so I left it half full and moved on to the next brew.  The final brew on the right side of the place mat was their Redhead Amber Ale (original name right?).  Well that too was pretty good, and I began to think that this is not only a flashy pub in the middle of a casino, but the guys that make this stuff take it seriously and are putting out some really great brew.

I began the left side with their Big Dog IPA.  This is about a 6%er that was really nice and floral.  Not quite like a Dales but not quite like a Ninkasi Total Domination either.  A nice blend of floral up front with a bitter finish.  Next up was their ESB.  This is one of the two seasonals in front of me.  This reminded me of a good English pub style ESB.  Chewy, biscuit, and some hop bite on the end.  A good blend of Malt and hops.  Then I had their second seasonal, a 10% monster of an Imperial IPA.  This one was big IBUs and lots of grapefruit and completely out of balance, just the way I like ’em.  I   Thought this could give Oskar Blues Gubna a run for its money.  Speaking of which, a 22 oz glass of this stuff was only $5, now that is a bargain I can get behind!

Finally their Stout.  I must say, although I drank it exclusively after I finished the sampler, I’ve had better.  It had good flavor, and was a solid offering in a “well drink” kind of way. It was a bit watery, and I could never tell what was more pronounced, the coffee or the chocolate.  It ended up being muddled, but so was I after the sampler, and a bunch of Stouts and a few whiskeys thrown in for good measure! Yikes, lets just say I was a bit bleary the next morning.

As far as the pub itself was concerned, it had a pretty typical vibe, although it had live music every night, and the two nights I went the Garage Boys were playing cover tunes, and doing a fantastic job of it I might add.  The food looked good, although I didn’t have any there.  So all in all this probably isn’t the best brew pub in America, but I’d say it is a pretty good one for the Biggest Little City in the World.


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10 Comments on “I May Have Found the Best Brew Pub in America!”

  1. October 4, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    A pleasant find. Reno is not what comes to mind when you think craft beer destination. But good to know they’ve got at least one capable brew pub in the town. Nice.

    On a completely different note, the guys at both Brewforia locations have asked about your whereabouts. I told them of your doctors orders. Rick wanted to let you know that you are missed. How’s that going btw?

    • Don
      October 4, 2011 at 10:57 am #

      It was a pleasant find, made better by the fact that my room was within stumbl…Ah, I mean walking distance. Tell Rick and Chris I miss them as well, along with the other regular Brewforia gang members. Lookin’ at you Clayton! And of course you too Chad. The Doctor thing is going well. I have lost 12 pounds since the beginning of last month and that is about on track for all the traveling I’ve been doing too. The Nevada Buffets were hard on my waistline, but I didn’t go completely crazy like I used to. I am in the process of trying to find a good mix of liquid shakes, and solid food throughout the day. Thank God for my Garden! It has been a great and healthy thing for me this year. Otherwise I think it is going pretty well. I’ve adjusted to consuming WAY less than I used to, and that is a great thing. With any luck by this time next year I will be but a shadow of my former self, but I’m not running right out and buying a whole new wardrobe just yet. 😉

  2. David T
    October 4, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    I haven’t been to too many brewpubs, but Three Floyds stands heads and shoulders above the others I’ve been to, both in terms of vibe, a great staff, absolutely incredible food (far better than many of the pubs), and of course world class beer.

    Overall they definitely are something I need to try to seek out more often than I do as I travel!

    • Don
      October 4, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

      Yes David, but can you win One Million Dollars by playing video poker at the bar? The promise of untold riches kicks things up a notch! 😉

  3. October 4, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    I have to say you did okay while visiting a town I am familiar with. However need to check out Great Basin, Silver Peak and Buck Bean next time here. Great Basin is by far my favorite.

    • Don
      October 4, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

      I definitely want to hit BuckBean next time I’m in town, and good to know about Great Basin, I’ll have to seek them out. I also saw that there is a brewpub on the Main Drag in Carson City. Know anything about that?

      • October 6, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

        Don –

        I believe the one in Carson is High Sierra Brewing Company. Then there is Doppelgangers in Carson too.


  4. October 4, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

    Hey Don, I write for Uncle Boise and I’d like to put something together about you guys to run on our site. Interested?

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