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April 19, 2014

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From smoked porters to Scottish ales, the best local beers to try at Downtown Brew Fest

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Lee Flint

A selection of local beers featured this weekend at the 2013 Downtown Brew Fest.

The Downtown Brew Fest is upon us, as the second year of the fall beer festival from local suds enthusiasts Motley Brews returns to Clark County Amphitheater this evening with nearly 200 seasonal beer tastings from more than 50 local and regional breweries.

"This year we’re bringing a lot more beer to the table, we’ve really worked on curating the list and brought in more local talent,” says Motley Brews founder Brian Chapin, who also organizes the spring Great Vegas Festival of Beer. “We’re very big on quality. We want beers to be approachable, not a list of all double IPAs.”

In additional to festive fall seasonal offerings like pumpkin beers, Oktoberfest beers and spiced beers, this year’s Downtown Brew Fest will also exclusively showcase eight beers from four local breweries that will be entered into next month’s Great American Beer Fest in Denver, the largest beer festival in the country.

Las Vegas breweries like Big Dog’s and Chicago Brewing Company have already claimed numerous GABF awards in years past, and Chapin says the competition is an important opportunity to continue nurturing the city’s nascent craft beer scene.

“Those guys put a lot of effort into their products. It’s been a big boost to beer culture out here,” he says.

The festival, which will be held at night this year, will also feature brew-centric bites from local eateries and live music from local bands including Rusty Maples and American Cream. For ticket prices and more information, visit the Downtown Brew Festival website.

Read on to learn more about the GABF entries from Las Vegas breweries exclusively available at tonight’s festival:

    • Tenaya Creek

      Summerlin’s Tenaya Creek will feature its Off the Cliff Scottish Ale and God of Thunder Baltic Porter as entries at next month’s GABF. The former was selected as part of GABF’s Pro-Am competition, where breweries team up with home-brewers, and will offer up Tenaya Creek’s take on a Las Vegas home-brewer’s take on a Scottish-style ale. At 5.2 percent alcohol by volume, the special batch makes for a nice full-bodied beer noted for its toasted flavor with dark fruit notes. The latter, which Tenaya just finished bottling this week, is a unique porter brewed with a lager yeast strain (most porters are made with ale yeast strains), with hints of raisin and toasted chocolate masking its strong 9 percent ABV kick.

    • Chicago Brewing Company

      Downtown’s Chicago Brewing Company will offer up their award-winning Wild West Triple, a 9.4 percent ABV Belgian-style abbey as well as their Quad Damn, a robust 10.2 percent Belgian dark strong. Also keep your eyes out for the 2012 GABF gold medal-winning Cocoa for Coconuts, a memorable light-medium-bodied porter well worthy of its prize.

    • Joseph James Brewing Company

      Joseph James’ GABF offerings will include the smooth, light and smokey Smokin’ Poles Gratzer and, on the other end of the spectrum, the appropriately named Smoked Wee Heavy, a Scotch ale that clocks in at 13 percent ABV. Swing by the Henderson brewery’s booth on the main festival ground to try local favorites like the Red Fox Russian Imperial Stout, a dark, rich and potent ale with deep coffee and chocolate aromas.

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