A Beer of Their Own, A Bourbon of Our Own, and Three Not-To-Miss Events

Food from Life is Beautiful's Culinary Village

Food from Life is Beautiful’s Culinary Village

Aria offers cocktailians plenty of reasons to flock to its restaurants and bars. And with the debut of Brass Tacks Saison, craft-beer lovers can join in the party as well. The golden, farmhouse-style ale is a collaboration between the resort and Stillwater Artisanal Ales in Baltimore. Aria’s property mixologist Craig Schoettler stepped out of his spirited role to work with Stillwater founder and brewer Brian Strumke to create a crisp, light beer made from pilsner malt and wheat, and accented with herbal, grassy German hops. The Strip has become a special place for tasting resorts’ proprietary whiskey blends and handpicked single-barrel spirits; it’s great to see beer getting in on the action! Brass Tacks will be available in 12-ounce bottles and on tap exclusively at Aria beginning March 10.

Speaking of whiskey, Nevada’s first straight whiskey (aged two years), Las Vegas Distillery’s Nevada 150, is now available for pre-order. The bourbon was created by distillery owner George Racz in celebration of Nevada’s sesquicentennial, the 150th anniversary of the state’s admission to the Union, and distilling commenced in October 2011. As with much of the distillery’s portfolio, local and regional products were used, including yellow corn and soft white winter wheat from Nevada’s Winnemucca Farms, as well as California malted barley and Montana Rye. Just 10 53-gallon American white oak barrels were made, yielding 2014 individually numbered bottles ($100 each), which can be reserved online for pickup at the distillery beginning June 14 at the Nevada 150 Bourbon release party, also the anniversary celebration of the Nevada Craft Distillery Bill passing. There is a two-bottle maximum per person, and engraving is $18 extra. Reserve yours and pick up a plaque, barrel stave, T-shirt and other Nevada 150 memorabilia at LasVegasDistillery.com. And don’t even ask about bottle No. 7—she’s all mine!

June seems like a long way into the future, but while you’re putting important dates on the calendar, save October 24-26 for the second Life Is Beautiful festival. More than 60,000 people descended on Downtown for October’s inaugural event, in which 15 city blocks hosted five stages, the Culinary village and the Alchemy Garden, where I spent much of the festival tasting wine, mezcal, liqueurs and craft beers. “We are very likely going to take a new operational approach to the Culinary Village and Alchemy Gardens, expanding their size and scope by integrating them more fully into the footprint,” founder Rehan Choudhry tells Vegas Seven. “This is based on feedback we received last year that the Culinary Village and Alchemy Gardens were a bit too isolated. The food and beverage programming for Life Is Beautiful 2014 will be incorporated all around the festival grounds, to be enjoyed at nearly every experience.” My interest is officially piqued!

Also save room for a four-course beer-pairing dinner at T-bones Chophouse & Lounge in Red Rock Resort on February 27 ($85 per person). Executive chef Aaron Losch’s menu will complement beers from Lagunitas Brewing Company, Rogue Ales, Stone Brewing Company and ciders from Angry Orchard—hello, wagyu short ribs with Rogue Chocolate Stout! Call 797-7517 to reserve your seat.

Finally, Scotch lovers probably already have this date tattooed on their drinking hand, but if you’ve been considering taking your whisky appreciation to the next level, The Nth on April 4 at the Universal Whiskey Experience (April 2-5, at Encore; UniversalWhiskyExperience.com) is the one tasting you must attend this spring. But start saving your moolah now: Tickets for the weekend of tastings, seminars and extravagant outings start at $525. But you get to keep your glass. So there’s that.