Spring for Beers at Motley Brews’ Sixth Annual Beer Fest

Photo courtesy of the Great Vegas Festival of Beer's Facebook.

Photo courtesy of the Great Vegas Festival of Beer’s Facebook.

A perfect alignment of cheery spring weather, lifesize pub games and craft beers as far as the eye can see sounds like the ideal way to spend a Saturday. Happily, the sixth annual Motley Brews’ Great Vegas Festival of Beer ($40-$55, GreatVegasBeer.com) returns on April 9 to the streets of Downtown, and this time our pint spilleth over.

The name of the game, of course, is craft beer—those small, independent brews that you and your friends nerd out about. It’s the antidote to fast-drinking, commercially produced swill; you drink craft beer for the sheer pleasure of drinking it, not to just finish it. There will be plenty of pleasure on hand at this festival, whether you prefer to drink seasonally, chew your way through a stout, take a few hours to finish just one IPA, or get fruity with a saison thanks to more than 400 varieties from more than 100 breweries, including Magic Hat, Rince Cochon, Left Hand and Dr. Jekyll’s.

Did you know the average American lives within 10 miles of a brewery? Our own homegrown favorites include Barley’s, Tenaya Creek, Joseph James and Banger Brewing, which all will make an appearance at the fest.

Keep an eye out for new samples from newcomers such as Coachella Valley Brewing Company and Henderson’s Lovelady Brewery, along with the recently launched PT’s Brewing Company, which also happens to be a sponsor. In addition to six of its own selections and food from the pub, PT’s brewmaster Dave Otto is behind the event’s official beer, a guava pale ale that sounds like it will be highly drinkable on a presumably gorgeous, sunny day.

Also new this year, sour beer lovers can find the Funk, a zone sponsored by San Diego’s Modern Times and Las Vegas-based Crafthaus Brewery that will bring the funk all right, in terms of both its beer and its soundtrack.

Of course, you need to eat during this indulgent afternoon, so the Gastropub has you covered. Brick-and-mortars on hand include the Goodwich and SLO-Boy, while Scott Conant’s DOCG offers a burger and an Italian sausage hero, and Glutton goes deep on the bar snacks with beer cheese and pretzel chips, pork rinds and meatballs on a stick. Mobile kitchens are mandatory for an outdoor beer festival, so Truck U BBQ has, among other dishes, a burnt ends and fries burrito with my name on it. Or opt for another culinary mash-up with a Bulgogi Philly Cheesesteak from Dragon Grille.

And even if you don’t freak when you see mead on a beer list or hear that an obscure Belgian Trappist abbey has finally started exporting its quadrupel—at the Great Vegas Festival of Beer, you can still drink like the best of them.