LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
DETOUR: Las Vegas – Tenaya Creek Brewing
"DETOURS" is a travel series by The Hop Review. Being a weary traveler almost always calls for a reward in the form of a pint at the end of the day. Here, we will document those beer breaks–as we travel the U.S. and beyond–with quips, photographs and Q&As. Cheers, to the adventurous beer trekker.
831 W Bonanza Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89106
Bright lights, the buzzing of slot machines and an anything goes atmosphere tends to wear you out in Sin City. At least it did me.
With a hazy memory of overpriced cocktails and half-nude street performers, Tenaya Creek Brewery was a nice change of pace for a slow moving Saturday afternoon.
A short five minute drive from Fremont Street, Tenaya Creek boasts a long bar, a few high tops, and a covered outdoor patio. The interior has a sleek and modern look with touches of dark wood which give it some Southwestern flair.
Tenaya Creek’s year-round brews can be identified by their eye-catching graphic design that were previously reviewed by THR, and designed by notable artist, Kendrick Kidd. I mixed a six-pack of those flagships for later, and chose to get a flight of seasonal beers.
Guided by the only bartender for the day, Ruth Orapka, my flight consisted of a Kölsch, Baltic porter, Oktoberfest, double IPA and an imperial stout. The standouts from the flight were the Kölsch, Baltic porter (God of Thunder), and double IPA (Tandem, the one that apparently gets Ruth into trouble). The mix revealed a strong knowledge of styles, a fearlessness of strong flavors and emphasis on quality as every brew had clean profiles.
Ruth had only been with Tenaya Creek for a year, but was more than happy to chat with me about the brewery's presence in the limited, but emerging craft scene in the Las Vegas area. She directed me to their Off Line series which allowed the brewers to be more creative. I enjoyed a Scribbles which was a porter/brown ale finished with coffee and vanilla. I can only speculate of what a barrel-aged Scribbles might have been as I noticed a handful of whiskey barrels sitting idle on the brewery floor...
When I told Ruth that I was surprised about seeing the 10+ guest taps being served, she just shrugged and said, “We have enough lines and why not? We love beer.” They even had a few bottles of wine in which my wife appreciated, but she ultimately decided on a Tieton cranberry cider.
As Ruth got back to making flights for the other beer tourists, I realized that even with all the trendy options of Las Vegas I would be perfectly happy with only Tenaya Creek to belly up to. For a brewery on the smaller side that caters to more tourists than regulars, Tenaya Creek can certainly hold their own.
What We Drank
Hauling Oats – Oatmeal Stout 5.7%. One of the six beers I packed to-go–and also known as 'the one with the cute Donkey on the can.' It was a toasty stout with hints of chocolate in the nose and palette–perfect for watching the twinkling lights of the Las Vegas strip.
Authored & Photographed by Michael A. Hubatch, contributor for The Hop Review. Hubatch is a writer and photographer based in Chicago. He has previously covered the beer scene in Nashville, TN and Naperville, IL for The Hop Review.