Banger Brewing opened at Neonopolis late last month, pulling its first draft at a grand opening celebration December 27.
Local hop heads are likely to recall the Banger name, as the once-homebrew operation started popping up at beer fests around the Valley in 2011. I particularly remembered Banger for its delicious Sandia, a watermelon wheat made with fresh watermelon puree, that I sampled at an installment of Brew’s Best at Lake Las Vegas in 2012.
I had that same Sandia Saturday night, when I stepped inside Banger’s new Downtown digs for the first time. The 3,000-square-foot space, located next door to the Heart Attack Grill, is designed like your typical taproom, with a bar and several café tables and chairs. The brewery itself is attached and can be seen through windows in the taproom, which had attracted a sizable crowd around 9 p.m. Saturday, only days into the brewery’s brick-and-mortar existence.
The bar currently features 10 taps, and seven were devoted to Banger beers Saturday night. The Sandia wasn’t exactly as I remembered it, as the filtration process has reduced its watermelon zing and deep pink hue (though it’s still a damn good beer—and I don’t even like wheat beers!). Rounding out the brewery’s own selections were the DTB (Downtown Brown), a brown ale; El Heffe, a jalepeño hefeweizen; Hops Anonymous IPA; Perfect Ten, an American Pale Ale; Session, a blonde; and Simply Stout.
Pints run $5-$7, decent considering Downtown prices, and while there’s no food menu, containers of Popped’s locally made gourmet popcorn are available to purchase. Flights are also an option, and Banger is currently running a special for its grand opening: Four samples will cost you $6, while $10 scores you an additional pour and that popcorn. Growlers will also be available sometime in the next two weeks, according to co-owner Roberto Mendoza.
I skipped the El Heffe (I’m not a big fan chile-infused beers) and Simply Stout (again, not a big fan of stouts) Saturday night, but of the beers I did sample, I would order each of them again. Sandia remained a favorite; the Session puts the “light” in delightful and the DTB? One bartender said it’s the best beer they make—and he was right.
So, next time you’re headed Downtown, consider stopping by Banger for a quality local brew. Whatever you order, you know it’s going to taste better than that $5 can of PBR right around the corner.
Banger Brewing Sunday-Thursday, 5 p.m.-midnight; Friday-Saturday, 5 p.m.-1 a.m. 450 Fremont St., Suite 135; 456-2739; bangerbrewing.com.