Industry Weekly

[First Sip]

Mad Craft sparks creativity at this year’s Great Vegas Festival of Beer

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The Vegas Valley’s biggest and best beer fest returns this weekend.
Photo: Angie Ortaliza

Motley Brews’ Great Vegas Festival of Beer—the biggest annual beer fest in the Las Vegas Valley—will be different when it returns Downtown this weekend. First, don’t worry about the unpredictable weather that muddied up last year’s event. It’s been moved indoors to the World Market Center. More importantly, there’s a new aspect to the event that’s taking creative competition to new levels. Before Saturday’s Grand Tasting, Friday’s Mad Craft experience will combine local chefs and breweries into a science fair of beer.

“Brewing is alchemy. We’re half mad scientist and half creative artist, trying to find the balance between the two,” says CraftHaus Brewery co-owner and co-founder Wyndee Forrest, just one of the participating brewers. “Mad Craft allows us to show the public what we’re doing on a daily basis anyway, something unique and distinct.”

Mad Craft guests can sample more than 30 beer creations and 14 culinary experiments, and an industry panel of local judges will award prizes to the tastiest endeavors. Brewers and bartenders from Big Dog’s, Able Baker, Lovelady and more will concoct beer blends, cocktails and specialty brews only available at this event.

Forrest called no spoilers on CraftHaus’ creation, but confirmed that she will compete in the Best Beer Experiment category with something called the Fruit Loop. “It’s never been done before, at least by us.”

With food participants including Toddy Shop, VegeNation, Pub 1842, Other Mama, Tacos & Beer and Metro Pizza competing with beer-infused dishes savory and sweet, Mad Craft is sure to be deliciously off the rails—and an exciting example of the growth of the local scene. “I’m really proud of our local beer scene. I think we’ve surpassed our infancy,” Forrest says. “Vegas is a very unique community. We like to branch out and get people to ask questions and be part of the change, and Mad Craft is exactly that kind of event.”

Great Vegas Festival of Beer at World Market Center, April 7-8, greatvegasbeer.com.

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Brock Radke has been writing about Las Vegas for more than 15 years. He currently covers entertainment, music, nightlife, food ...

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