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Chicago, Las Vegas

January, 2001

By Bobby Bush

These annual trips to Vegas get tedious. All day at work, all night at play takes a toll on the body and the mind. Trying to cram the most into a truncated two-night stay, barely under my breath, I kept repeating 的値l sleep when I知 dead. I値l sleep when I知 dead. That mantra didn稚 help my disposition, but it served the purpose.

From a beer lover痴 perspective, Las Vegas offers a wide variety of choices. The oldest, and arguably the best brewpub in town, is Holy Cow! Casino & Brewery, founded in 1993. The Cow is in the process of expanding by opening another brewery in the Draft House, an affiliated restaurant.

For the brewpub sight-seer, check just off the strip. On Paradise near Flamingo, you値l find one of the always reliable Gordon Biersch operations. Also off-strip, Ellis Island caters mostly to local casino patrons. Their beer is unremarkable. Monte Carlo Casino and Hotel moves a ton of beer at their Monte Carlo Brewpub. And in old downtown Vegas, Triple 7 Brewpub is located within Main Street Station, a huge casino. South of the airport, the community of Henderson hosts Barley痴 Casino & Brewery, while the northwestern suburbs is the home of two-year-old Tenaya Creek. Many other casinos, restaurants and pubs offer expanded beer lists.

Nevada has the highest beer consumption per capita, which, with the heavy tourist trade, is not hard to comprehend. And to make consumption just a little easier, a new brewpub opened in March 2000 a few mile west of downtown. Chicago Brewing Company, no relation to the Old Chicago pizza multi-tap chain, is part of Magoo痴 Gaming Group, which owns 14 restaurants in the Valley.

The new Chicago building (2201 S. Apache Road) is situated within the Village Square shopping center. The small dining room, capacity 75, was full of hungry customers, many families, attacking delicious deep dish pizzas. Food is definitely a drawing card, and it痴 not just the Up Town Roasted Garlic Chicken pizza, and other wood-fired delicacies. The menu is chocked full of mouth-watering sandwiches, burgers, pastas and entrees, including Chicago痴 Best Sausages, Golden Ale Batter Shrimp and Wrigleyville Vienna Hot Dogs. The bar, offset to the left of the main entrance, was packed with sports fans and heavy smokers. A cigar lounge, upstairs, seats another 40 patrons. Decor was right out of Chicago, circa the 30痴. This was indeed a friendly neighborhood establishment. They池e even open for breakfast - Filet Mignon with eggs, Walter Payton Potato Pancakes, Chicago Platter - served 11:00 PM to 11:00 AM.

The brewery, shining in radiant copperdom, sits just inside the front door for all to see. Brewer Paul Marczyk, who has brewed for Wynkoop and Tabernash breweries and in Columbia, South America, was nowhere to be found on this Wednesday evening. His beer spoke in his stead. Served on a round, wooden tray, we started our tasters portions with Premium Light, a kolsch-like tricycle brew. Cloudy gold with thin mouthfeel, Wheat Beer was typical Bavarian-style with medium banana/clove character. Brewed from five different malts, Amber Ale was smooth and definitely on the sweet side, while medium bodied Pale Ale was gloriously hoppy, rich with Cascade hops flavor sans the typical grapefruity dominance. Nice. Malty and copper in hue, Alt was too bitter for style, but quaffable all the same. Creamy smooth from nitrogen infusion, Stout was deep black, heavy in malt mannerisms. All in all, Chicago Brewing had a nice variety of highly drinkable beer.

When in Las Vegas, save some of your hard-earned money for beer. It痴 a better bet than the slot machines.

Thanks to Bob Barnes, Vegas beer writer and school teacher, for providing information and navigation.

This article first appeared in Focus, a weekly paper published in Hickory, North Carolina.

ゥ Bobby Bush

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