Las Vegas might be the clubbing capital of country, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a bevy of breweries here in town for local beers and good, chill fun. Nevada beers are an overlooked gem — a professor at the University of Las Vegas, Nevada is even writing a book about the growing craft beer scene in Southern Nevada. Most of the breweries are located off the Strip, so you’re more likely to kick it with locals than tourists at these venues. Just remember to wear black and gold on hockey nights: Those are the colors of our hockey team, the Vegas Golden Knights, and we love them almost as much as we love our beer.
Big Dog's Brewing Company
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Big Dog’s is a pioneering Southern Nevada brewery (its owners opened the city’s first brewery in 1992) but are still going strong, with classic beers like their Red Hydrant Brown Ale distributed around the Valley. Keep an eye out for the Tripel Dog Dare, a Belgian-style Tripel, which won a gold at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival. Big Dog’s Draft House has a neighborly, midwestern vibe with a vaulted, wood-beamed ceiling and big barn doors up in the dining room, which serves large portions of classic bar food. Keep in mind that the bar (with gaming) allows smoking, whereas the dining room is non-smoking.
Chicago Brewing Company
The most westerly brewery in Las Vegas, Chicago Brewing Company is housed in a stately brick building near the sprawling Summerlin planned community. Naturally, their Chicago deep-dish pizza is a draw, but amongst their beers the crisp, carbonated Weizenheimer is a crowd-pleaser, and the All Nighter, a light golden ale, is a three-time Great American Beer Festival winner. In keeping with our all-hours city, Chicago Brewing Co. is open 24 hours and serves breakfast 24 hours, too. Feeling classy? There's even cigar lounge upstairs, where you can purchase a selection of premium cigars. Get $5 pints and great deals on food during happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. daily, but note that it excludes NFL and some Vegas Knights game nights.
Hop Nuts Brewing
Downtown darling Hop Nuts is located on Main Street, alongside many other busy bars, eateries and shops. It’s the first microbrewery to open in the popular Arts District. In nice weather, their shady front patio is perfect for catching a breeze (and is dog-friendly, too). With 15 of their own beers and 5 guest beers on tap at all times, it’s worth a few repeat visits to try the range, from their Green Mamba double IPA (fragrant, boozy and extra hoppy) to the Harry Porter, a roasty, chocolate brew. A nice touch: You can order in 6, 12, 16, 32 and 64-ounce servings, whether you’re there to run through a flight or serve up a crew. Be sure to check out their daily happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. for $4 pints.
Ellis Island Casino & Brewery
Walk into the Ellis Island Casino and Brewery and ask where to get their beer. Your answer will be a broad gesture and a single word: Everywhere! For a quick taste, opt for the bar in the center of casino (you can grab pizza and tacos from take-out counters along one wall) or have it alongside a meal at one of their two restaurants (The Village Pub and Cafe has the best deal on a steak dinner for $7.99). Ellis Island will also be opening a two-story brew pub venue later this year with bar games and a view of the Strip. Is their beer the best in town? At $2.50 a pop, it’s definitely the best for the price. Non-drinkers should keep an eye out for their tasty house-made root beer.
Banger Brewing was started by five friends in the thick of things on the freewheeling Fremont Street Experience — it’s a small taproom that’s perfect for taking a breather and people-watching. Still, you’ll want to spice things just up a bit with their most popular beer, El Heffe, a Hefeweizen brewed with fire-roasted chilies. Not feeling the heat? Opt for a Morning Joe, their coffee kolsch with a hazelnut and caramel twist. Food offerings include typical bar fare, alongside unique offerings like bacon popcorn. Be sure to check out their Groupon deals for tours and tastings.
Triple 7 Restaurant and Microbrewery
The brewery’s glass-walled tanks peer down into the enormous dining room at Triple 7, the brewery housed within Main Street Station Hotel and Casino. There’s often a line to be seated: People come for the wide range of food offerings, which includes hand-made pizzas, gourmet burgers and even a fresh sushi bar. But they especially come for the craft beer, made in-house, like the Royal Red Ale, an easy-going brew with butterscotch notes, and the Carlsbad IPA, a citrusy IPA that pairs well with just about everything.
Tenaya Creek Brewery
Though it’s a little off the beaten path in an industrial neighborhood, you’ll never find Tenaya Creek empty — it’s much-loved by locals and beer enthusiasts alike, who come for the excellent beer and friendly folks (and when a Vegas Knights game is on, the fans come out in force). With no gaming, no smoking, and no food served in-house, Tenaya Creek keeps the focus on good beer, which they’ve been making since 1999. Try their malty-smooth Bonanza Brown, or the Hop Ride, a dry-hopped IPA with a citrusy finish. If you do find yourself hungry, there’s a regular parade of food trucks that set up shop in the Tenaya Creek parking lot.
The newest brewery on the Las Vegas scene, Scenic is a family-friendly establishment for a young, hip crowd: The interior is minimalist and modern, with 33 TV screens to catch all the games, and the menu options include flatbreads, hummus and vegan options, as well as classic bar offerings (don’t worry, those brats and burgers aren’t going anywhere). In keeping with the neighborhood vibes, there’s a kids menu, and kids eat free on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In addition to the five Scenic beers (try the Lemon Ginger Hefe, which is brewed with candied lemon and ginger), they also serve up 18 other local craft beers including ones from Joseph James and Able Baker, two excellent breweries without a taproom.
PT's Brewing Company
Mention PT’s in Las Vegas and you’ll get knowing nods — it’s a dive bar chain so ubiquitous it’s almost a household name. But PT’s Brewing is the mothership, a spacious taproom with a wide-ranging menu and craft beer on tap. Their wide selection of in-house beers is moderately priced and the names include nods to major Las Vegas thoroughfares: Durango, Sunset, Hualapai and Sahara. Happy hour (from 5 to 7 p.m. daily) includes both half-off drink specials and specially-priced menu items.
Breweries in Henderson
Henderson, a city southeast of and adjoined to Las Vegas, is home to the Booze District, an industrial block where an alliance of family-owned breweries, distilleries and shops have taken root. Within the Booze District, you’ll find Bad Beat, a brewery with an industrial-chic taproom and a game area with Mario Kart, air hockey and giant jenga. Neighboring brewery CraftHaus was started by a husband and wife team inspired by European craft beer (check out their weekly tour on Saturdays at noon). Nearby, the space-themed and brand-new brewery Astronomy Aleworks is more of a tasting room than a proper sit-down bar space, but still worth a visit.
A bit further afield in Henderson, look for Lovelady Brewing Company (and try their nutty, chocolatey Paleo Porter); then head to Barley’s Casino and Microbrewery for an old-school locals casino experience.