Great beer and pink johns: Enjoying a beer fest in Lake Las Vegas

Uinta’s Imperial Black IPA — one of the true highlights of my afternoon in Lake Las Vegas.

It wasn’t just charity that had the hundreds of folks at Lake Las Vegas feeling all warm inside on November 12. It was also the dozens of craft beers freely flowing all over the Village for Brew’s Best Spring Fest, a fundraiser for New Vista.

The event started at 1 p.m., and was in full swing by the time I arrived at 1:30 p.m. I have been to Lake Las Vegas several times, and have never seen it this crazy. Beer booths were set up everywhere, some serving on tap, others from the bottle. Some booths sold T-shirts, others gave away everything from matchbooks to coasters to stickers. At nearly every booth, pourers actively engaged customers, answering questions covering everything from alcohol content to ingredients to local availability.

I quickly made my way to get my wristband. Upon grabbing my plastic mug, I was given a ticket to vote for my favorite beer. Even taking a cursory glance at the booths on the way there, I knew the chances of that happening were slim and none. Here were just a few of the choices awaiting me: Lagunitas’ IPA, Uinta’s Imperial Black IPA, Stone’s Double Bastard, Banger Brewing Company’s Perfect Ten Pale Ale, Big Dog’s Leglifter Light … This was going to be a good day.

The highlight of my day had to be finding Tanilla Porter on tap. I discovered this gem, from the Knee Deep Brewing Company in Reno, at Las Vegas’ Freakin’ Frog a few months ago, and have been unable to get its smoothness and wonderful taste out of my mind. I think I might have freaked out the server a bit with how quickly I made my way to the front of the line, but the end justified the means. Most beers this day I sipped and poured out so as to enjoy everything. With the Tanilla, I drank every last drop.

While waiting at the Wirtz Beverage Company’s booth, I noticed a guy wandering over to the Port-A-Potties. Only these particular outhouses were blue and pink, with the pink ones having signs reading, “Port-A-Jane” (“Because John Can’t Aim”). The guy was so hammered he just went to the first one he saw—naturally, he chose pink. Upon exiting, the poor guy was accosted by an equally toasted crowd that began laying into him (jokingly, I’m assuming), questioning his manhood.

I decided I liked this guy for standing up to his accusers, and I cried reverse sexism and exchanged a fist bump with him. Soon he, I and the group were brothers for life, all here for a common goal—to enjoy as much beer as we could consume in one afternoon.

That is truly the wonderful thing about beer: When it’s around, everybody’s got something in common.

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Ken Miller is Las Vegas Magazine's managing editor, having previously served as associate editor at Las Vegas Weekly, assistant features ...

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