Las Vegas and craft beer are definitely not the quick marriage you think of when it comes to Sin City. The long and winding road to elevate beer to a higher standard is paved by CraftHaus Brewery.
CraftHaus is more than a brewery that just popped up in Las Vegas. Co-owners and married couple Wyndee and Dave Forrest made sure they had the ‘craft’ in craft beer perfected, while at the same time trying to make it more accessible.
“We went over to Europe and it really opened our eyes to craft beer. Pairing it with food, sitting in beer gardens, it was bringing people together and Dave is really passionate about bringing people together,” Wyndee said.
The vision of Crafthaus began with a passion of beer, spurred further as Dave won a contest from Sierra Nevada and being one of the people who got to brew on their system in Chico. From there, Dave and Wyndee decided, “Let’s open our own Sierra Nevada in Las Vegas.”
The pair had to navigate the difficulties that come along with brewing and selling beer in Las Vegas, along with spearheading changes that can be seen in the more friendly environment for the industry. They now have a brewery in Henderson and a tasting room in the Arts District and despite not having their beer widespread on the Las Vegas Strip, they are making inroads.
“It is hard to navigate, we’ve seen a great response when we come in contact chefs,” Wyndee said. “With an executive chef, they have a say in the beverage program and they are great at sourcing local and supporting local in some way.”
The beer selection at CraftHaus is wide and ranging, they really have a beer for everyone and have one of the better selections of sour beers that you are going to find as well. One of the highlights is the Czech Plz, a well done hazy, unfiltered Czech pilsner that gets its great classic slight spicy, hoppy flavor from yeast from Prague and 100 percent Czech malt. CraftHaus also has wide range of IPAs, every version you can think of, they likely have it. In terms of a West Coast IPA, the Hop Vegas does a wonderful job of bringing in different notes throughout, citrus, a hint of pine and then a great tropical note to finish it off. CraftHaus created a wonderful stout with their Belgard version made with local Vesta coffee. A perfect blend of coffee and chocolate flavor that is not overpowering, the subtleness allows you to enjoy the flavors while allowing to drink more than one. A real treat to find on tap is the Lowlands Clan Barrel Aged Scotch Ale, which comes in at 10.5% ABV. CraftHaus takes their time with their barrel aging to make sure they get it right, as you will taste with Lowlands, it is aged for ten months in Buffalo Trace and Stranahan barrels and then blended to give it a truly unique flavor that has the richness of a scotch ale, while just hints of the whiskey barrel, so you know you are still drinking a beer. That is barely scratching the surface of what CraftHaus has on tap, so your best bet is to get a flight or two, share with friends and experience as many of their great beers as possible.
CraftHaus has a great way to beat the heat, as they have beer slushies on tap. The flavors always change, but what doesn’t is the great taste and there is nothing artificial about these. They have such flavors as Kiwi Kiss and Watermelon Smash and you can enjoy these at CraftHaus or get a 16 ounce to go pouch. Finally as an ode to the University Nevada, Las Vegas, which not only Wyndee and Dave attended, but so did their head brewer Cameron Fisher, they created the Rebel Spirit Golden Ale, which is the official beer of UNLV and proceeds benefit the University.
The iconic pairing of beer and pretzels can be a great judge of how good a brewery is, and those at CraftHaus are of top notch quality. They have the local Great Buns Bakery use CraftHaus spent grain to create soft, delicate pretzels that are complimented greatly by their beer cheese sauce, Mexican street corn dip and delicious bacon apple jam. You also can choose the over-the-top cheese and charcuterie board or one of their brats and sausages. This is elevated beer food at its finest.
A little trip away from the strip is well worth a visit to either CraftHaus location to experience beer that is so good, you will forget you are in Las Vegas. If you are staying downtown Las Vegas, even better, as the Arts District location is a short walk away.
If you are tired of the same two labels that monopolize the Las Vegas Strip, let the casinos know you want to see local beer like CraftHaus on tap. Until that happens, if you love craft beer and a plethora of choices, take one day, afternoon or evening and visit a CraftHaus location. You will likely turn a tasting into a full blown beer experience.
For more information, visit: CraftHaus