The 17 Most Essential Craft Breweries in Las Vegas
You’ve got your work cut out for you.
The Las Vegas craft beer explosion is hard to ignore—even in a pandemic. Breweries are popping up in all corners of the valley, with an especially strong presence in the Downtown Arts District and Henderson. But even the Strip is getting in on the action.
Despite the increased competition, the sense of community in the craft beer scene continues to grow. See for yourself in the weeks and months ahead at the Nevada Beer Bash on August 21, the first-ever Water Street Oktoberfest Beer Festival, and Motley Brews' Downtown Brew Festival (both October 16). For now, you'll need to study up and get familiar with the best breweries in Las Vegas.
HUDL Brewing Company
As the name suggests, HUDL is meant to be a place where friends old and new can gather together over a love of beer (although a few bottles of wine are behind the counter too, just in case). Inspired by the San Diego craft beer movement, the brewpub is a mix of industrial and wood decor with edison light bulbs and long accordion doors that open up to a spacious outdoor patio (which hopes to host live bands in the near future). The 22 beers on tap aim to cover a wide range of tastes, from a light lager to a triple IPA. Scan a QR code and have food from neighboring SoulBelly BBQ brought to your table.
Beers to try: The digital menu above the bar showcases an evolving lineup of craft beer, but the Vanilla Oak Cream Ale and High Hatter pineapple hef are likely here to stay. The Shaggy Assassin IPA changes every three months, although the name remains the same. Right now, it's a hazy. A guava is next.
Trustworthy Brewing Co.
At the moment, Trustworthy Brewing Co. is the only business brewing beer on the Strip—no small feat, since all that equipment had to be safely installed on the second floor of the Palazzo hotel tower. It's a huge space with at least six different seating areas, including banquet rooms. The brewery itself is behind glass in the center. The concept was founded in Burbank with a focus on West Coast-style beers, but the second location in Vegas is developing an identity of its own with exclusive brews. The food originally focused on barbecue, but expanded to include more traditional pub fare like nachos, pretzels, and fish and chips. A second, smaller taproom is on the opposite side of the property at the Venetian.
Beers to try: 15 beers on tap are from the Burbank brewery, but an additional five are Vegas-only with brews changing every three months. So order a flight and ask about what's new. You can't go wrong with the Trustworthy IPA or the Brass Jar Amber Ale.
Nevada Brew Works
Nevada Brew Works manages to cover a little more ground than the average brewery without spreading itself thin. There's a cocktail menu and full kitchen (serving brick-oven pizzas, Bavarian pretzels, burgers, and wings) in addition to beer. It's also one of the few breweries that's all ages. The 12 beers on tap change with the season, focusing on lagers and lighter recipes in the spring and summer, while shifting to darker, heavier beers in the fall and winter. Nevada Brew Works shares a building and patio with HUDL and the two recently collaborated on a honey tangerine shandy.
Beers to try: The Ariana Rye IPA is named after the daughter of owners Jason and Lauren Taylor and benefits their charity foundation for cerebral palsy. It also happens to be a spicy, malty IPA with a hoppy aroma and smooth finish. The Belgian-style Lemondrop Saison has no actual lemon in the recipe, but has a sweet, citrus taste based on lemondrop hops.
CraftHaus Brewery was founded by Dave and Wyndee Forrest, a husband and wife inspired by the craft beer culture in Europe. The brewery established the first taproom in the Henderson Booze District, emphasizing a social sense of community in place of gaming machines. A second taproom is now serving customers in the Downtown Arts District, featuring local artwork and a specialized Czech tap that controls the flow of foam to beer for an authentic slow-pour pilsner. There are usually around 24 CraftHaus beers produced at any given time with lagers, sours, and IPAs that rotate with the season. As for food, try the soft pretzels made from the brewery's spent grain with beer cheese or bacon bourbon jam on the side.
Beers to try: The Belgard Stout is made with coffee from Vesta roasters, while the new Dry Heat is a hazy IPA with extra hops and a citrus aroma. The Silver State blonde ale is a familiar sight in bars, grocery stores, and even hotel rooms in Las Vegas.
Tenaya Creek Brewery
This family-owned and operated brewery has been around for two decades, moving Downtown after outgrowing its previous facility in the northwest valley. It's not your typical Las Vegas watering hole: no gaming, smoking, or liquor. Just great craft beer and a little bit of wine. There are 28 handles—about half from Tenaya Creek and half from other microbreweries. The house brews are also available by can or bottle. There are a few exceptions, but they're generally well-balanced and drinkable—not super-hoppy. A rotating lineup of food trucks serve bites in the parking lot.
Beers to try: The Hauling Oats oatmeal stout, and the easy, light-bodied 702 Pale Ale are longtime favorites. Sweep The Leg is a new, limited-edition pilsner with mangos and mosaic hops.
There are a few breweries in the Downtown area, but Banger Brewing is the only one surrounded by the high energy and bright lights of the Fremont Street Experience. Despite the location, the brewery and bar is a favorite of locals and a welcome detour for tourists. Opened by a group of service-industry friends, Banger Brewing is proving to be a great Las Vegas success story. Even in a crowded tourist spot, prices remain reasonable with a $2 discount offered on beers during happy hour (1–3 pm and 10–midnight).
Beers to try: The beer list is constantly revised, but El Heffe—a hefeweizen with a jalapeño kick—is probably the most popular mainstay. The Sandia watermelon wheat is a light, refreshing choice to fend off the notorious Nevada heat.
Lovelady Brewing Company
Lovelady is making a big, sudsy splash in Henderson's revitalized, historic Water Street district. The business, which includes a comfortable taproom with games and a dog-friendly patio, was founded by four brothers (and yes, their last name is Lovelady) who got their start experimenting with at-home brewing back in their high school days. It made them popular at parties, and the love for producing beer was hard to shake. One of them is the former head brewer at Gordon Biersch in Las Vegas.
Beers to try: Love Juice is the most popular seller; a hazy IPA with a touch of lactose for a smooth hint of sweetness. Other fun choices include the tangy 9th Island Pineapple Sour, the Stardust (a fruity double hazy IPA aged with blackberry puree), and Paleo Porter, made with coffee beans from Dark Moon Roasters.
Bad Beat Brewing
Nathan Hall got into homebrewing on a whim. It started with a coupon for a five-gallon beer kit and quickly grew into a full-blown operation in his garage. Hall developed his own recipes and tested them out with friends during UFC viewing parties. He was encouraged to open his own brewery, which finally happened after selling his house. Make a point to visit the taproom in the Henderson Booze District. It has a charming clubhouse feel with long wood tables.
Beers to try: Bad Beat seems especially comfortable experimenting with Gose recipes. Sunday Funday is the latest, made with pineapple, orange, and cranberry puree.
Big Dogs Brewing Company
Founded in the mid-90s by the late Tom Wiesner at the old Holy Cow casino, Big Dog's was the first-ever microbrewery in Las Vegas. It eventually moved north when the Holy Cow was demolished—a Walgreens is currently in its place—and led the way for the craft beer movement in Southern Nevada. Head Brewer David Pascual has won his share of awards and is one of the best in the business. Big Dog's has its own full-service restaurant—modeled after a large barn—that's designed with Midwest hospitality in mind. If you're a Green Bay Packers fan, you're among friends. There's also limited seating on the patio and in the beer garden.
Beers to try: Most of the beers are given a dog theme with the Red Hydrant English Brown Ale and Black Lab Stout among the popular choices. The Triple Dog Dare Belgian Tripel was a seasonal favorite that stuck around.
Hop Nuts Brewing
Blame Hop Nuts for kicking off the beer craze in the Downtown Arts District. The name pays tribute to the brewery's Green Mamba Double IPA—a hop-heavy West Coast-style DIPA that scores extremely high on the IBU scale. That's "International Bitterness Units," so consider yourself warned. A second taproom is now open in the west valley at Tivoli Village. Both options have an outdoor patio. The daily "hoppy hour" runs 4–7 pm with $2 off all pints except hazies and stouts.
Beers to try: Aside from the Golden Ale, most of the brews have something of a hoppy bite with the bitterness turned up to full blast with the Green Mamba. The limited-edition Lighten Up Golden Stout offers some relief, mixing locally roasted Sambalatte coffee beans with Ghanaian cocoa nibs.
Chicago Brewing Company
Located on the eastern edge of Summerlin, the Chicago Brewing Company offers a little bit of everything for Las Vegans living in the west valley, including an outdoor beer garden, cigar lounge, and an overloaded menu of bar food and breakfast bites. Hang out and watch a game or try your luck with video poker. The house brews come in six basic choices with at least three playful seasonal recipes.
Beer to try: It's hard to resist the Ramblin' Reck amber or the Old Town brown ale, but the seasonal choices usually have fun touching on current events. The Capacity 100 blueberry mango sour, for example, celebrates a return to full capacity as we move past the pandemic. Hopefully it stays that way.
Ellis Island Casino & Brewery
Just a block off the Strip, Ellis Island is a hotel and casino with its own on-site brewery. Things were given a major upgrade a few years ago with the addition of Eddie Leal as head brewer, making striking improvements to the core lineup of beers served throughout the property. He also gets to experiment with six additional taps in the Front Yard (a two-level beer garden, restaurant, and atrium). The stout was dropped in favor of a rotating lineup of dark beers that changes about once a month.
Beer to try: The light has the bright, sweet corn flavor of a Mexican-style lager; the amber is hoppy and robust; and the IPA has a vibrant, fruity character with a new Belgian yeast strain. Leal also introduced a German-style schwarzbier with a light body and subtle malt roast flavor.
Able Baker Brewing
This Arts District brewery gets its name from "Able" and "Baker"—the first two nuclear bombs dropped in the Nevada desert. The decor reflects the theme, paying tribute to the state's role in the Atomic Age. Yet the place is much more than a gimmick. Able Baker Brewing is a fun social spot with long wood tables and garage doors that roll up to an outdoor patio. Food is served from the Arts District Kitchen, a walk-up counter with a menu that changes frequently.
Beers to try: Choose from more than 30 beers on tap, including collabs with Golden Knight Ryan Reaves' 7FIVE brand (best known for the Training Day golden ale) and Chris Kael of Five Finger Death Punch (a barrel-aged dark Impale'd Ale). The Atomic Duck citrus-forward IPA remains Able Baker's signature beer, while the Radioactive Duck IPA balances a fruity finish with the bite of serrano peppers.
Mojave Brewing Company
John Griffith has been sharing his own home brews with family and friends for more than 30 years. "Griff" got so good at it, he was convinced to open his own place with partner Nate Carney. Mojave Brewing Company, renovated from an old Bank of America building in Henderson's historic Water Street district, is an engaging, industrial space with roll-up garage-style doors, bistro string lights, and a long patio where doggies are welcome.
Beers to try: The small-batch beers change frequently, but the Bones Brigade IPA and Almost Famous porter appear to be sticking around on a regular basis. There's a strong dedication to ciders too. Ask about the Freedom Peach, Flyin' Hawaiian Pineapple, or whatever Griff happens to be playing around with these days.
Beer District Brewing
Beer District Brewing is the combined forces of Jim Doyle and Clyde Lipp, who together have won dozens of homebrew competitions around the country over the past ten years. The venture has 21 ambitious brews on tap, covering a lot of ground with small-batch recipes and a beer list that changes frequently—and drawing especially strong attention for its dark beers. There's always a few hazy IPAs on tap and either a German or Bavarian-style hefeweizen. If you get hungry, scan a QR code and have Mexican food from Letty's delivered straight to your table. Plus there's usually a food truck outside Thursday through Saturday.
Beers to try: The beer list is large and changes frequently. If in doubt, go with the signature Vegas In A Bottle Russian Imperial Stout. Otherwise, try a flight with the latest creations. Overfruited sours and slushie beers are popular during summer.
Along with CraftHaus and Bad Beat, Astronomy Aleworks is one of three beer producers in the Henderson Booze District. The brewery has a science-fiction theme, but also describes itself as "science based," having hosted events with UNLV astronomy students and guest professors in the past. While any Star Trek or Star Wars-inspired events have been on hold throughout the pandemic, the taproom has welcomed back trivia nights and guest appearances by food trucks.
Beers to try: There are 12 beers on tap at all times with the Speed of Light Kolsch and Hawking Hazy Pale Ale among the regular favorites. Special brews change every week or two.
Scenic Brewing Co.
Sometimes you need more than a taproom. Scenic Brewing Company is a full-fledged restaurant with beer produced on site. Head brewer Jamie Roberts is in charge of at least 17 recipes at any given time. That leaves room for plenty of variety, from pilsners, lagers, and ales to coffee stouts and fruity fun stuff. The brewery doubles as a restaurant and sports bar with food honoring the Austrian heritage of Scenic Brewing's owners. Try the schnitzel.
Beers to try: The Mas Cerveza Por Favor is a Mexican lager with flaked maize added to the mash for a reddish hue. The Tropical Hopanero pale ale now has double the hops, mixing the sweetness of mango puree with the bite of habanero peppers.
Rob Kachelriess has been writing about Las Vegas in Thrillist for more than seven years. His work has also appeared in Travel + Leisure, Trivago Magazine, Sophisticated Living, Modern Luxury, Leafly, Las Vegas Magazine, and other publications. He's sometimes hoppy, sometimes malty, but never stale. Follow him on Twitter @rkachelriess.