Kevin Holder is winding down inside his new brewpub, chatting casually on the same side of the bar as his customers. On February 13, the baseball-capped Hop Nuts Brewing owner and head brewer will celebrate his business’ grand opening. For now, the low-key, speakeasy-like bar—which has no exterior signage—beckons only the curious, news of its soft opening spreading through Downtown by word of mouth.
“This neighborhood is very familiar to me,” the 34-year-old Holder says. The Long Beach-born, Vegas-bred brewmaster has lived Downtown since ’92 and attended high school there. “I really like what’s going on in the Downtown area. I want to be a part of the neighborhood I grew up in, where I rode my bicycle as a kid. To have my own business here is a trip.”
Working as an MRI tech until a few months ago—he graduated from UNLV with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology—Holder held down two jobs at Valley Hospital and an outpatient clinic, saving up money and interning at breweries in Portland, Oregon, and Reno as time permitted. “I was obsessed with brewing,” Holder says. “I’d get off work and brew all night, till five in the morning.”
His experience has paid off. From the ales ($6 a pint) to the imperial stout and the Green Mamba Double IPA ($6 per 12-ounce goblet)—along with a rotating selection of obscure local brews—Hop Nuts features a well-rounded menu for craft-beer lovers, as well as newbie hopheads. Throw in plans for brewery tours, weekly live music shows and monthly cask-beer events, and Holder aims to deliver a different kind of happiness to Downtowners.
Hop Nuts Brewing 1120 S. Main St., #150, 702-816-5371, hopnutsbrewing.com. Sunday-Thursday, 2 p.m.-2 a.m.; Friday & Saturday, 2 p.m.-4 a.m. Grand opening February 13.