Booze News: Fizz champagne lounge, Downtown Brew Fest and cicerone training

Plus, congrats to Vegas’ newest Master Sommelier

Bartender David Falco behind the bar at Hyde Bellagio in Las Vegas seen on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011.
Photo: Leila Navidi

You like beer. Your friends like beer. So mark your calendar for September 21, when local events company Motley Brews brings its Downtown Brew Festival back to the Clark County Amphitheatre for the second year. This fall’s edition will kick off at 6 p.m. (5 p.m. for VIPs) and will feature more than 170 beer tastings from dozens of local and regional breweries, as well as snacks from food trucks and local restaurants and music by Vegas bands Rusty Maples and American Cream. In addition to an extra hour of drinking, VIP ticket holders will be able to sample 20 limited-release beers and a special menu by Cutthroat Culinary’s Christian Dolias. Tickets are on sale now, presale $35-$65, at

If your affinity for beer borders on rabid obsessive love, perhaps you should consider the new cicerone training program from Southern Wine & Spirits. Cicerones are the sommeliers of the beer world, and Southern’s program taps certified cicerones Samuel Merritt and Russell Gardner to teach employees—and coming this fall, local industry pros—all about the world of ale (and pilsner and lager, of course). The class is broken into two segments—the first produces Certified Beer Servers, the second Certified Cicerones—and involves training on beer tasting, the brewing process, styles of beer and how to serve and store the sudsy stuff. And likely it involves some beer drinking, too. So there’s that.

Caesars Palace will welcome a bubbly new venue this fall, Fizz Las Vegas, a 2,750-square-foot champagne lounge located inside the casino between the Colosseum and the Forum Shops. The bar is a collaboration between Marvel Management and Marketing (Michael Greco and Steven Kennedy) and David Furnish (Elton John’s husband), and will serve champagne by the glass, along with cocktails, caviar, charcuterie and other nibbles that pair nicely with bubbles.

On August 22, Hyde plays host to’s Rock ‘N Roll Cocktail Competition Series, which pits local mixologists against each other to create memorable drinks using a specific liquor. This edition’s featured ingredient is Dewar’s Highlander Honey Whiskey, and 15 bartenders will try to mix up something special for guests who’ll cast votes to decide the eventual winner. The top cocktail takes $2,000—and props, of course. The boozing begins at 7 p.m., and tickets are $50. Not bad for 15 drinks and a wicked hangover.

Finally, a belated congratulations to Sage’s Nick Hetzel, who earned the designation Master Sommelier last month at an invitation-only exam in Texas. “On behalf of the entire Court [of Master Sommeliers], I want to deeply and sincerely applaud the efforts of all the candidates who had the courage to take the Masters’ Exam,” said Court chairman Greg Harrington via release. “It’s an honor to be in their presence, and just getting to the exam is an immense achievement.” The Master Sommelier diploma is the fourth and highest ranking offered, and 202 people have achieved it since the exam launched in 1987.

Tags: Nightlife, Booze
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