Banger Brewing: We introduced you to these former garage brewers last year and are happy to report that their dreams of turning pro are proceeding apace. Banger’s new production brewery and taproom should be open at 450 Fremont St., right next to the Heart Attack Grill, in early 2013, Banger spokesman Nick Fischella says. That means you’ll finally be able to find their watermelon wheat and jalapeño hefeweizen, which have been spicing up Valley beer festivals, on tap. “We just want to get people out of drinking Bud Light,” Fischella says. Amen to that. BangerBrewing.com.
Barley’s Brewing Co.: Production capacity is up about 50 percent since last year to service more Station Casinos properties, says brewmaster Jeffrey “Bubba” Amas, and there are new beer lines and draft towers in place throughout the Henderson brewpub. Bubba (don’t call him Jeffrey) is most excited, though, about brewing a beer with some super-secret hops no one else in the Valley has gotten their hands on just yet. “It’s experimental,” he says. “It’s not yet even in production.” You read it here first. 4500 E. Sunset Road, Henderson, Wildfire.SCLV.com/barleys.
Big Dog’s Brewing Co.: The big dog of Las Vegas brewing has grown since we last checked in. After several years of planning, and six months of “pardon our dust,” Big Dog’s is up and running with a big expansion of its brewery at 4543 N. Rancho Drive. The brewery has tripled its capacity, all the better to send beer out to the 20-plus new clients in Southern Nevada that handle Big Dog’s products. The company is also now bottling special-edition brews for its pubs and has increased keg-production capacity. BigDogsBrews.com.
Tenaya Creek Brewery: The big news at this restaurant-turned-brewery is distribution. As in they are doing a lot more of it, head brewer Anthony Gibson says. “We’ve upped production volumes, and we have distribution in Nevada, Arizona, northern Utah and British Columbia.” There is also some talk of expanding into Texas and Southern California, Gibson adds, but that could tax the brewery’s ability to keep up, even though they are making about 60 percent more beer this year over last. TenayaCreek.com.
Joseph James Brewing Co.: The fall promises a flurry of special offerings from this Henderson production brewery, including a traditional-style Oktoberfest, a bourbon-barrel imperial stout and an IPA hopped up with habanero peppers. Also coming is this year’s winner of the J.J. Pro-Am home-brewing competition, a foreign extra stout, which is similar to a traditional Irish stout but hoppier and higher in alcohol. “We’ve got lots of stuff coming out simultaneously,” says Matt Lisowski, the brewery’s vice president of operations and marketing. Make sure to look for the very limited release of Baby J’s German Chocolate Cake stout, created in honor of head brewer Alex Graham’s daughter’s first birthday. It blends chocolate, toasted coconut and pecans, and has been a huge hit at local beer festivals. Another notch in Joseph James’ belt: With its Fox Tail Ale, the company became the world’s first producer of gluten-free beer in a can. Joseph James doesn’t have a tasting room, so look for its products on sale at liquor retailers and grocery stores all over the Valley. FoxBrews.com.
ALSO ON TAP …
Sin City Brewing Co. (SinCityBeer.com) is adding a fifth beer to its offerings, the aptly named Sin City IPA, a traditional British IPA with a malt-forward profile that brewmaster Richard Johnson describes as a counterweight to hop-crazy American IPAs. And speaking of hops, Boulder Dam Brewing Co. (BoulderDamBrewing.com) is bringing back its high-IBU Arch Gravity IPA for a special five-barrel engagement in September, and it won’t last long because Boulder Cityites are a bunch of “hop zombies,” brewmaster Todd Cook says. Gordon Biersch Brewing Co. (GordonBiersch.com) is introducing its “FestBier” in September, a traditional Oktoberfest lager that’s the chain’s most popular beer, Biersch’s Stuart Melia says. Not to be outdone, BJ’s Brewhouse (BJsBrewhouse.com) has produced its own Oktoberfest brew, available through October. This malty, mildly hopped, amber-hued lager is one of the chain’s tastiest offerings all year. Ellis Island Brewery (EllisIslandCasino.com) is finishing out the summer run of its hard lemonade and will be adding a new American lager to the fall lineup. And with the addition of a Village Pub in McCarran’s new terminal, all Ellis Island brews are now available to travelers.