Food & Drink

Your Guide to the Perfect Las Vegas Beer Crawl

Published On 10/21/2016 Published On 10/21/2016
Click for larger image | Oren Aks/Jason Hoffman/Thrillist
Oren Aks/Thrillist

1. Banger Brewing

Your Las Vegas beer crawl begins Downtown at the tacky and touristy Fremont Street Experience. That's where you'll find Banger Brewing, a locals' favorite, where the beer is brewed on-site. Go with the Morning Joe, a kolsch infused with French caramel and hazelnut coffee. It's a little sweeter than you might expect, and may even have a little caffeine left over after the brewing process. That's a good thing, since you'll need all the energy for this crawl that you can get.

2. Umami Burger, Beer Garden & Sportsbook

Hitch a ride with Uber and head south on Las Vegas Blvd. You'll pass by an endless sea of wedding chapels, old motels, pawnshops, and bail-bond services, until you arrive at the SLS Las Vegas. It pretty much signals the beginning of the Strip, and is a perfect spot to continue your beer crawl. Stop by Umami Burger, Beer Garden & Sportsbook, where of course you'll be most interested in the "beer garden" part. This outdoor drinking area comes with picnic tables and a long patio, perfectly situated for soaking in the view of the nearby Stratosphere tower. Your options include more than 40 craft beers, six IPAs, and a special reserve list featuring 10 specialty brews like Brooklyn Sorachi Ace, Uinta Cockeyed Cooper, and Estrella Damm Inedit.

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3. Public House

You've had a couple drinks now… so walk it off and continue to head south. You can also rent one of those motorized scooters if you like (we’re not judging). Head inside the Venetian and wander through the lobby until you stumble across Public House, one of the best resources for regional craft beers on the Strip. The bar staff is made up of certified cicerones, offering more than 200 beer selections, including 24 on tap and three seasonal specialties from artisan cask brewers. Try the Firestone Bretta Rose from the Santa Maria Valley in California. It's made with fresh local raspberries and matured in French oak puncheons to create a crisp, refreshing Berliner Weisse-style ale with a rose color and clean finish. It's also low in alcohol -- which is actually good, since you have more beer to sample as your journey continues.

4. LVB Burgers & Bar

Head back outside and take an escalator to the pedestrian bridge that straddles Las Vegas Blvd. It's time to track down LVB Burgers & Bar, a new spot that has some of the best burgers and bar bites on the Strip. It also has two beers that are exclusive to the Mirage: Amber's Ale from Wasatch Brewery, which is Utah’s first effort at the beer-making game, and the Island Hopper Saison from local CraftHaus Brewery. This may be (it is) a good time in your beer crawl to actually order some food. Ask for the P.S.S., which stands for pineapple, salmon, and slaw. It's much better than your typical fish sandwich, and will provide some much needed omega-3s to help absorb some of that alcohol.

5. ameriCAN

As you continue to trudge down the Strip, hang a left and turn down The LINQ promenade. OK, first, you may want to go take a spin on the High Roller wheel, but then it’s back to serious business, like drinking at ameriCAN, a watering hole that features beer pong and a patio built on imitation grass. The emphasis on the last three letters here emphasizes the unusually large selection of canned beer -- which some experts swear by these days. The bar's original concept was to offer at least one beer from a brewery in every state, a project that turned out to be easier said than done. Still, you've still got more than 80 cans from around the country to choose from, including great choices like Hop Crisis Imperial IPA from 21st Amendment in San Francisco, and the malt-heavy Golden Monkey from Victory Brewing near Philadelphia.  

6. Casino Royale

Cross back over Las Vegas Blvd and keep walking down the Strip until you come across Casino Royale. It has nothing to do with James Bond, but everything to do with saving money. The lobby bar is famous for $1 beers, namely Michelob and Michelob Light. (Sorry, not Michelob Ultra. Don't get greedy.) You may even be surprised to see they're actually served in bottles, not watered-down taps. And if you really want to splurge, Bud, Bud Light, Coors Light, Miller Lite, and Miller Genuine Draft are all $2 each.

7. Beer Park

As you cross Flamingo, keep your eyes peeled for the Paris casino, where a set of stairs will take you up to Beer Park. In addition to having an awesome view of the Strip and goofy games like giant-sized Jenga, this spot has more than a hundred beers on offer, with 36 on tap. It recently introduced a value-driven beer flight, where you can choose any four draft beers for $14. Whatever you do, make sure one of them is the Shock Top Twisted Pretzel Wheat.

Oren Aks/Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

8. Sin City Brewing Co.

It's time to detour off the Strip… but only slightly. Around the corner from Planet Hollywood is Harmon Ave, where you'll come across the Sin City Brewing Co. -- the only local brewery with its own bar on the Strip. (It actually has three, if you count the ones inside the Venetian and Miracle Mile Shops -- not to mention a fourth on the way at the Grand Bazaar Shops.) It keeps things simple with a blonde, weiss, amber, IPA, and stout on draft, but there's always a seasonal option worth checking out as well. So for now, turn your attention to the Oktoberfest special -- it's malty and light with a hoppy finish.

9. Beerhaus

Hop on an escalator by Walgreens and take a pedestrian bridge that leads to the Cosmopolitan and then wraps around towards CityCenter. Keep walking until you reach the new outdoor area near the T-Mobile Arena, called The Park. At the center of it all is Beerhaus, with plenty of outdoor seating, live music, and tasty bites that include brats, pretzels, fried pickles, and house-made whoopie pies. The beer list is enormous, but keep your eye on the always-changing list of "Rarities and Unusuals" written on a chalkboard. Beerhaus also recently teamed up with Sin City Brewing to produce its own amber that's designed to go down easy and was given the clever name of "Beerhaus/Sin City Collab."

10. Ri Ra Irish Pub

Cross Tropicana and hop on board the free monorail that takes you from the Excalibur to Mandalay Bay. Mixed among the shops is Ri Ra Irish Pub, a lively spot that features a few distinctly different rooms and bartenders skilled in what's described as the "perfect pour" of Guinness from the tap. It involves holding the glass at just the right angle, pausing, and waiting for just the right amount of time before topping it off. Ri Ra is also one of the very few bars in the United States to import its Guinness from Ireland instead of Canada, and the door-to-door here is well under a week. Does it really make a difference? Decide for yourself during your Las Vegas Beer Crawl.

11. Goose Island Pub

Time to grab a taxi and venture off the Strip to the new Goose Island Pub inside the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. (Make sure the cabbie drives from Koval to Harmon and doesn't try to longhaul you). The Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout may be on the expensive side at $100 a bottle, but it's the perfect choice to wrap up a night of drinking, so share it among friends. The imperial stout is aged for two years in the same barrels that were used to age bourbon for more than 35 years, and this unique method produces a sticky sweet taste that's worth savoring.

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1. Banger Brewing 450 Fremont St Ste 135, Las Vegas, NV 89101

It’s all about beer, so don’t expect table service: just good suds, from light weisse to dark stouts. You’ll want to opt for a flight, with half-pints served in a custom mini wooden shelf. The proprietor favors the Jalapeño Hefeweizen, which packs a bit of a kick, but you can find your own favorite on the rotating tap list. Tours of the brewing facility take place every hour on the hour.

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2. Umami Burger 2535 S. Las Vegas BLVD, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Like your burger with a side of betting? Look no further than Umami Burger, located inside the SLS Hotel & Casino. Guests can gamble in the sports book while devouring signature burgers like the Truffle—truffled aioli, house truffle cheese, and truffle glaze—and the Hatch—made with roasted Hatch chilies, Cali cheese, and garlic aioli. If you’re not looking to win big, head outdoors to the Beer Garden, where exposed brick walls and wooden picnic tables make for a trendy, convivial atmosphere.

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3. Public House 3355 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Deep within the air-conditioned annals of the Venetian Casino, this polished gastropub boasts a list of over 200 types of craft beers, as well as a robust offering of American and Canadian whiskeys (not to mention single malt scotch, with Japanese selections to boot). It’s probably where Ron Swanson would hangout if dragged to Sin City: the menu here is fairly meat-forward, with regulars raving about poutine with duck confit (pro tip: opt to add the fried egg) and heavy-hitters like the porter-braised short rib with carrot mousseline and IPA-battered onion rings.

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4. LVB Burgers & Bar 3400 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

A veritable Sin City staple, The Mirage is an essential stop for anyone visiting Las Vegas -- especially if you’re craving burgers. The casino is home to LVB Burgers & Bar, a “walk-ins only” spot with craft burgers and beers at an affordable price (which, considering all the money you’ve likely lost on slots at this point, is important). For those who can take the heat, consider trying the K.I.K. Burger (also called the “Kick in the Kisser”). With pickled jalapeño, a fried egg, avocado, melted pepper jack cheese and Sriracha aioli, it’s certainly not for the faint of taste buds -- but then there’s also killer milkshakes of the virgin or boozy variety to wash it down and cool you off (pro tip: get the “Apple Rye À La Mode”. You can thank us later).

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5. ameriCAN Beer & Cocktail Bar 3535 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

AmeriCAN beer and cocktail bar adds another color to the flag: amber. You see it in some 70 beers appearing on a can-heavy list alongside basic mixed drinks with presidential names like The Coolidge Cooler (vodka and energy drink). No food is served, but you can bring your own right into the bar. The sidewalk patio, close to all the action of the strip, features umbrellas under palm trees, beer pong and corn hole games.

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6. Casino Royale & Hotel 3411 South Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89109

Neon lights, slot machines and cheap beer give gamblers and drinkers alike exactly what they expect at Casino Royale just off the strip. The bar in the lobby of the hotel and casino complex serves light beer on the cheap, with $1 bottles of Michelob to get you ready for the penny arcade. Televisions playing sports behind the bar, cheesy carpeting and plastic drinking cups give the place a decidedly dive feel.

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7. Beer Park 3655 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Budweiser's Beer Park on the Strip at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino offers picturesque views of the city from their 10,000 square foot rooftop beer garden. Come by to catch a game on one of the many flatscreens and shoot some pool, prepare yourself for the beer menu that features 100+ national and international brews (re: Bud Light's not the only option). They also serve up smorgasbord of American ball park delicacies and high-end backyard BBQ-style foods like soft pretzels, Mac & Cheese Egg Rolls, burgers, and even oven roasted salmon. Check the calendar to find out when they host international DJs and bands.

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8. Sin City Brewing Co. 3663 Las Vegas Blvd S #504, The Strip, NV 89109

Sin City, established in 2003, was ahead of the American craft beer gold rush, but they still only brew small batch beers. While brewmaster Rich Johnson doesn’t sell or distribute his Sin City brews outside of Las Vegas, he draws his flavor inspiration from German lagers and English ales. There are five staple recipes, Sin City Amber, Light, Stout, Weisse, and IPA, that use traditional brewing methods (even some from Medieval times) to brew 100 kegs at a time. That’s craft. You can find these rare local favorites at Miracle Mile Shops, Grand Canal Shoppes, and Harmon Corner.

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9. Beerhaus 3782 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89119

Should you find yourself parched from the Las Vegas heat and within walking distance of The Park, consider heading to Beerhaus. The beer garden boasts an extensive list of craft beers (many of which are from local and West Coast breweries), sausages and slow-roasted meat sandwiches, and a sprawling industrial-chic interior. Come for the killer happy hour deals, stay for the jumbo-sized Jenga and Connect Four sets.

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10. Rí Rá 3930 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89119

An Irish pub cozily situated in the Shoppes at Mandalay Place, Rí Rá is known for stellar Atlantic Haddock fish n' chips, and, naturally, Guinness. But the real giants at this popular spot are the formidable whiskey collection and authentic Irish live music seven days a week (performed by musicians directly from the Emerald Isle!).

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11. Goose Island Pub 4455 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89169

The Hard Rock Hotel introduces a shrine to Goose Island Brewery in a pub named after the craft beer. The 3,500-square-foot sports bar has an industrial feel with light wood touches (and lots of the brewery's logos) where maple-bacon beer nuts and pub fare go down with the Chicago-born brew. The IPA is a hoppy favorite, but a flight of four let's you survey the fleet.