The Las Vegas beer scene has been built on a sense of discovery. It’s not just about brew geeks and F&B folks staying on top of Vegas-made product; we also need to keep track of beers new to the Vegas market. That’s one of the reasons why the Downtown Brew Festival, now in its fifth year, is such a success. The Motley Brews crew and its ever-growing team of crafty collaborators annually bring new finds to the fest for their first time in Vegas. “We’re very careful with how we curate that, because we want to be the sounding board and the introduction for new breweries that want to test the waters or are new to the market,” Motley founder Brian Chapin says. “We’re huge fans of local breweries. They’re the ones that’ve been supporting us, and we also use this as a medium for their new brands and product to get recognized.”
A few newbies he’s excited to share this weekend: Phoenix’s OHSO Brewery & Distillery, creators of the Lost Viking Baltic Porter and the clovey Handlebar Hefe, and San Bernardino’s Brew Rebellion, a nanobrewery with a constantly rotating selection. Locally, Able Baker is back at the fest this year. “They kind of teased the market [in the past], and this is a big push for them hitting the market.”
The Downtown Brew Festival is also known for fantastic food options, and if this year’s lineup (Donut Bar, Mochiko Chicken, Naked City Tavern, PT’s Brewing Co., SLO-Boy and more) doesn’t ignite cravings, upgrade your access to VIP where local chefs Gina Marinelli (from the highly underrated D.O.C.G. at Cosmopolitan) and Brian Howard (from Downtown’s upcoming Sparrow & Wolf) will be making magic happen. Besides, there’ll be even more exotic brews to be discovered in that VIP section, too.
Downtown Brew Festival October 22, 5-9 p.m., $40-$60. Clark County Amphitheater, downtownbrewfestival.com.