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Breweries show off their tastiest crafts at the Downtown Brew Festival

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From local bar taps to our very own microbreweries, Las Vegas is in the midst of a budding romance with craft beer. Saturday’s Downtown Brew Festival at the Clark County Amphitheater is the latest in a string of beer-centric events to hit the Valley and will feature more than 40 breweries and 150 beers, ranging from local to seasonal to totally unique.

“Craft beer brings people together, because it’s one of those products that’s truly, identifiably local,” says Brian Chapin, founder of Motley Brews, the local beer-enthusiast organization behind Saturday’s festival and the annual Great Las Vegas Festival of Beer. “It’s kind of cool to have that distinctly local product and to really identify with something associated with where we live.”

The Details

DOWNTOWN BREW FESTIVAL
October 20, 2-6 p.m., $32-$42.
Clark County Amphitheater, downtownbrewfestival.com

The craft beer movement has been slower to catch on in Vegas than other parts of the country, and this weekend’s festival is part of the push to round out local offerings with selections from other regional microbreweries, rather than commercial brewers like Anheuser-Busch and Shock Top. Beyond bringing beer enthusiasts together, Chapin says his goal is to educate and attract Las Vegans who might not be familiar with craft beer.

“I think a strong craft beer movement starts with good breweries, not just ones that create good product but drinkable product that appeals to a lot of folks,” Chapin says, explaining that he sought out breweries whose offerings are as diverse as they are tasty. “I want to give people the chance to try a lot of different ones and say, ‘Wow I never thought I would like this.’ It’s one event at a time, one person at a time.”

A few of Chapin’s suggested pours for serious beer geeks headed to the Downtown Brew Festival:

Sculpin IPA (Ballast Point Brewing Co.) A legendary india pale ale by one of San Diego’s best breweries, this piney, citrusy hop bomb defines the West Coast style of IPA.

Lake Mead Monster (Big Dog’s Brewing Co.) A huge imperial red ale that will knock your socks off with flavors of caramel, toffee and other complex flavors. The name says it all.

Big Hoppa - the Notorious IPA (Chicago Brewing Co.) For the fearless beer drinker, this one’s teeming with several varieties of hops. Made to be sipped and savored.

Old Rasputin Imperial Stout (North Coast Brewing Co.) An imperial stout that sets the standard for the style. Coffee and chocolate notes abound on the nose and palate.

Haulin’ Oats Oatmeal Stout (Tenaya Creek Brewing Co.) A smooth, sweet seasonal by one of Las Vegas’ fantastic breweries.

Consider yourself a craft beer newbie? Here are five more that might be more up your alley:

Even Keel Pale Ale (Ballast Point) A refreshing, seasonal pale that’s light on the ballast with a great, citrus hop up-front taste.

Shiner Blonde Ale (Spoetzl Brewery) A golden lager that pays sincere tribute to its Bohemian roots, Shiner Blonde carries a distinctive flavor followed by a satisfying, smooth finish.

Red Hydrant Ale (Big Dog’s Brewing Co.) Award-winning local brew with a toasty caramel flavor. Won the Silver Medal at the recent Great American Beer Festival in Colorado.

Wasatch Pumpkin (Wasatch Brewery) An easy-drinking, seasonal ale with big pumpkin and spice flavor.

Orange Avenue Wit (Coronado Brewing Co.) A nice, citrus-forward Belgian-style white beer from a popular brewery in San Diego.

Follow Andrea Domanick on Twitter at @AndreaDomanick and fan her on Facebook at Facebook.com/AndreaDomanick.

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