The frothy foam of a pale ale finds my upper lip as I sip, providing solace under the heat of the Vegas sun. There’s nothing more refreshing than a cold beer on a hot day, and this past Saturday I felt quite rejuvenated.
An abundance of Nevada breweries poured signature beers for the Nevada Craft Brewers Association’s inaugural Brews N ’Ques Festival, held June 4 at the Henderson Events Plaza. Locals like Joseph James, CraftHaus, Lovelady, Tenaya Creek and Big Dog’s came out for the Water Street beer fest, touting not just their top selections but also specialty one-off and collaboration brews.
After sampling at least 20 different beers and buying myself some beer goggles (literal plastic glasses made from straws), I chose five standout Brews N ’Ques libations:
5. PT’s Brewing Co.’s Festival Pale Ale I was pleasantly surprised with this fruity and delicious season-suitable brew, a golden pale ale dry-hopped with Citra and infused with guava, mango and pineapple. It would pair well with rays poolside. This brew was a one-off for the event, and will be replaced at the brewery this week by a Belgian blonde.
4. CraftHaus’ #BiggestSmallBeerEver The oatmeal porter is generally not thought of as a top summer brew, but CraftHaus’ #BiggestSmallBeerEver is light and easy to drink, allowing dark-beer drinkers to imbibe year-round. This one was part of a collaboration effort during American Craft Beer Week, in which participating breweries nationwide were given the same malt beer to modify. Henderson's CraftHaus, the only Nevada brewery to participate, tweaked theirs to satisfy the thirst brought on summer’s incessant heat.
3. Lovelady Brewing’s Four Pepper Chile This newbie to the local brewing scene opened in February, but its brews are far from novice. This smooth yet spicy beer is a blend of their Steamin Nights brown ale and four different peppers. One of the Lovelady brothers tells me (with his delightful, perfected “Walrus” ’stache dancing on his top lip) that the brewery threw about 100 peppers in the mix and let it soak, adding habaneros at the end. Using the brew as a marinade will add a unique and savory flavor to any meat. Find it on tap at the brewery.
2. Tenaya Creek’s Local 702 Pale Ale with mango Tenaya infused this classic Local 702 Pale Ale, brewed specifically for the festival, with mangos to produce a one-off offering. The flavor was mouthwatering; the mango was prominent and complemented the crisp, light ale. Although this specific brew is not regularly available, every week Tenaya features batches infused with different ingredients, and mangos are very popular. This week at the taproom you can find a Baltic porter infused with vanilla and toasted coconut.
1. Lovelady Brewing’s The Angry Redheaded Hawaiian Lovelady tops the list here with this hot, exceptional blend. The brewery combined its 9th Island caramelized pineapple sour and Love Triangle red ale with jalapeños for a fruity one-off kicker. The fierce concoction packs a punch, yet goes down smooth.