How to experience the Great Vegas Festival of Beer

The Great Vegas Festival of Beer returns to the streets of Downtown this Saturday.
Fred Morledge

Suds, snacks and sounds on a springtime Saturday afternoon—must be Motley Brews’ Great Vegas Festival of Beer returning to the streets of Downtown. Here’s a snapshot of what hopheads of all levels can expect:


Beer is becoming an epicurean experience, as is the festival with its new “gastropub” area. Foodies can look forward to beer-inspired menus (with most bites around $5-$8) from local eateries Echo & Rig, the Goodwich, Cantina Laredo, Stack, DW Bistro, Lulu’s Bread & Breakfast and more. I personally was a fan of Truck U Barbeque chef Mike Minor’s burnt-ends burrito paired with Green Flash’s Le Freak at a recent tasting preview.


Choose from 400 brews by more than 100 breweries. Locals like CraftHaus, Hop Nuts and Triple 7 will join national sudsmakers—from the Bruery and Dogfish Head to Abita, Rogue and Brooklyn—pouring their signature brews, some offering interesting pours as well. We’re intrigued by Banger’s grapefruit saison and Rogue’s sriracha stout.


Looking for rare pours and limited-edition local beers? Breweries from around town and up north will be serving just that at the Nevada Craft Brewers Association Pavilion. That’s where you’ll find the NCBA collaboration beer Banana Split, a German-style hefeweizen brewed with vanilla beans and cacao nibs conceived by a crew of local brewers. The tent will also feature a cherry stout from new-to-the-scene Tonopah Brewing Company and Joseph James’ Super Smoker, a strong Scottish-style ale at 10 percent ABV made with a home-smoked malt. Other familiar participants include Big Dog’s, Chicago Brewing Company, Tenaya Creek, Brasserie Saint James and Gordon Biersch.


This year Motley Brews takes over the Western Hotel for the GVFB’s BrewLogic informational sessions, where aficionados and amateurs alike can gain more knowledge. Learn how to make beer vinegar with local chef Justin K. Hall, find out how to incorporate deep-fried delights during Stone Brewing Co. Craft Beer Ambassador Bill Sysak’s ale and doughnut pairing session and broaden your horizons with an introduction to sour beers.


Is imbibing delicious brews not enough? Don a pair of headphones at the Silent Disco or opt for life-size pub games at the Human Arcade. Music-minded? Local acts Brumby and Josh Royse provide the live tunes this year.

Great Vegas Festival of Beer April 11, 2-7 p.m., $40-$55,

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