Six thoughts from Brew’s Best, the biannual beer festival at the Village at Lake Las Vegas:
1. Best beer I tasted: Considering the diversity of beer, this one’s going to have to be a tie. Banger Brewing’s Sandia watermelon wheat was simply delicious—light, not too sweet (watermelon puree is added in the brewing process) and a smooth, clean finish. Perfect for a summer day in the sun. Also amazing: The Sculpin IPA from San Diego’s Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits. If you’re a fan of hoppy beer, definitely put this brew on your checklist.
2. Not my favorite: It would have to be the jalapeño hefeweizen from Banger (sorry, guys, this one might be a miss). My sister was my beer-tasting accomplice for the day, and she put it best: “nachos in a cup.” I understand people’s palates and taste buds differ though, so if you’re an adventurous beer drinker, still give it a whirl.
3. A friend working the fest introduced me to “Jägermeister root beer” by brewery Joseph James. The local beer company doesn’t bottle the concoction, just the root beer (Joe’s 2022), but they suggest mixing a bottle of the soft stuff with a bottle of the black licorice-flavored spirit. Enjoy this delicious (and dangerous) cocktail at home or order local bars Aces and Ales and Hammer’s, which both offer it.
4. File this under exciting news: I also learned that Banger Brewing will soon have a storefront location Downtown. New business for Downtown is always great, and adding a standalone microbrewery to the neighborhood will bring diversity to the bar and lounge scene. Pretty awesome.
5. Sometimes paying the extra $10 is worth it. That’s how much VIP status at Brew’s Best cost, and it came with separate, shorter lines and an extra tasting cup. If I hadn’t gone for this option, I don’t think I would have made it to half the booths I visited.
6. If you get too drunk at a lakeside beer fest, don’t jump in the lake in an attempt to swim across. We saw a few try, and it wasn’t pretty.