No visit to Las Vegas is complete with a visit to the famed Las Vegas strip. Whether you visit one of the massive casinos and play a few rounds of blackjack or make your way to one of the clubs for a “what happens here stays here” rendezvous, you haven’t really visited Las Vegas until you pay your respects to Sin City’s Las Vegas Blvd and its most irreverent attractions.
Once the Strip has been crossed off your list, it will be time to pay respects to an up-and-coming Las Vegas attraction: Beer. The city known for massive hotels and all night gambling is also home to some excellent craft brewing operations and one that I visited and liked very much is Tenaya Creek Brewery, located at 831 W. Bonanza Rd., just northwest of the Las Vegas Strip.
Take a Look Inside
Tenaya Creek Brewery features a large brewhouse with room for expansion. Guests have multiple options for seating, including an outside patio or on the inside at one of the tables or the bar. They even allow dogs as long as you keep them on the outdoor patio. But they do not allow anyone under 21 inside, so you’ll need a sitter for the kiddos.
The atmosphere at Tenaya Creek Brewery is low key and highly pleasant. The staff at Tenaya Creek Brewery makes you feel welcome and they are well versed on the beers. If you have any questions about the products, the company, or anything else, just ask.
Now for the Beer
Stepping up to the bar at Tenaya Creek Brewery, I made my customary request, which is for flight of beer samples. I was presented with five individual glasses, each filled with one of the following Tenaya Creek beers:
- Craft Pilsner
- Bonanza Brown
- Hop Ride IPA
- Imperial Stout
- Tandem Double IPA
I had not tried Tenaya Creek beer before, so every sample was a surprise, and quite a pleasant one at that. I liked all of them, but the Imperial Stout, with its roasty, licorice, toffee, caramel, and full bodied taste was my personal favorite. It was a real treat for the senses. It was also the strongest and at 9.3 percent alcohol by volume, it is definitely a beer that commends respect and care.
Tenaya Creek Brewery has won several awards for its brewing efforts. A quick check of the Great American Beer Festival winners list reveals a Bronze Medal for Bonanza Brown, won in 2014 and a Gold Medal for Craft Pilsner, won in 2002. The brewery has taken home countless other pieces of precious metal over the years at other competitions and has easily proven itself a formidable force in the Las Vegas beer scene.
Las Vegas Evolves
Tenaya Creek Brewery is one of the longest- lived brewing operations in the state of Nevada, tracing its roots back to 1999. Originally a brewpub known as Tenaya Creek Restaurant & Brewery, Tenaya Creek decided to drop food service in 2008 and focus on what they know and love best: Brewing beer.
I knew very little about Tenaya Creek Brewery when I decided to pay a visit. I knew that Las Vegas had a somewhat anemic beer scene, but I also knew that things were changing rapidly and after polling some locals and other beer writers, I was told to add Tenaya Creek to my visitation list. Many people I asked ranked Tenaya Creek as the best brewery in the Las Vegas area and given that these opinions came from people I know and respect, I figured it had to be worthwhile.
Now that I have visited Tenaya Creek Brewery, I can see why beer experts and casual fans love this brewery the way they do. I liked the low key vibe, the relaxed feeling, and the expertise of the staff. I was served promptly and had a good conversation with the young lady who was pouring beers behind the bar. She filled me in on Tenaya Creek Brewery’s past, present, and future, while I thirstily sipped away on each of the beers in my flight.
Tenaya Creek Brewery has undergone expansion in the past year or so. High demand necessitated moving to this larger facility, which opened in November 2015. It should serve the growing business for a while. The moment the new brewery opened, brewing capacity tripled and judging by the open space in the brewhouse, they have sufficient room to add more brewing equipment and produce even more beer in the future.
If you’re wondering whether or not Tenaya Creek Brewery sells its beer in your state, well, chances are they do not, at least not yet. They package their beer in both bottles and cans but the current distribution list is limited to Nevada, Arizona, California, Utah, and portions of western Canada. Their beer can also be found on Allegiant Airlines. Most of the United States population, I am sorry to say, cannot purchase Tenaya Creek beer at their local beverage store, but this could be changing very soon as the brewery continues to gain new adherents and signs new distribution deals.
Las Vegas wasn’t known much for beer in the past. While other western American cities were making a name for themselves as meccas for all things malty and hoppy, Las Vegas was still mired in what it does best, concerned more with slot machines, live shows, and 5000 room resorts than with brewing great beer. But times are changing, and Tenaya Creek Brewery is at the forefront of a beer transformation. Check them out the next time you’re in Las Vegas and in need of a break from the Strip. And tell them Great Beer Now sent you.