Motley Brews puts on biannual beer festivals that have the distinction of being the largest in Southern Nevada in terms of both attendance and the number of beers offered. The sixth annual Downtown Brew Festival, set for October 21 from 5–9 p.m. (early entry at 4 p.m.), will again be held at the Clark County Amphitheater. There you can expect a wide range of beer styles with more than 200 choices from 70 breweries, including most of our local breweries. There will also be food offerings from eight local restaurants and live music. Tickets start at $40, but purchasing in advance gets you a reduced rate, as well as a chance to score VIP and early-admission tickets.
For a festival specializing in one type of beer, there’s Atomic Liquors’ fifth annual Sour Saturday on November 4 from 1–5 p.m. (VIP entry at noon). You’ll see more than 75 beers poured, ranging from the slightly tangy to the mouth-puckeringly sour. This has grown from a small niche event with 10 beers and 30 attendees in the inaugural year to one of the largest sour-only festivals in the U.S. (last year’s event attracted 400 attendees). General admission tickets are $65, and VIP tickets are $95.
If spirits are more your speed, or specifically agave spirits, head over to the newly opened Salud Mexican Bistro and Tequileria. Situated in the same space long inhabited by Rosemary’s Restaurant on West Sahara Avenue and South Cimarron Road, this nontraditional Mexican restaurant’s collection of tequila and mezcal runs the gamut of lowbrow shot fodder to high-end gems meant to be savored. The count began at 80 when the family-owned eatery opened in June. Co-owner Andres Topchi reports the list now numbers more than 100, which he claims is the largest tequila selection off-Strip in Las Vegas. On researching which ones to carry, he says: “We had lots of drunken days [spent] meeting with distributor reps.” Topchi adds, “The high-end tequilas have more aging and are smooth, with no burn. They taste too good to do in a shot, and no lime or salt is needed to mask a poor flavor as in some of the low-end ones.”
The agave spirit menu is divided into three categories: blanco and joven (unaged or aged less than two months to retain fresh agave flavor; recommended for cocktails); reposado (barrel aged two to 12 months; extremely versatile); and añejo (barrel-aged one to three years; recommended served neat).
A good way to check out the selection is through the flight options, which vary in cost from $14 to $100, and which offer three samples. The Top of the Class flight ($36) features award-winning aged tequilas: Don Julio 1942, Cuervo Reserva de la Familia and Herradura Seleccion Suprema. Or for something out of the ordinary, there’s the De La Casa flight ($14), with cinnamon-infused tequila, cucumber-infused tequila and smoked pineapple–infused tequila.
For a worthy splurge, fork out $100 for the Horizontal Maturity flight: Milagro Select Barrel Reserve, Clase Azul Añejo and Gran Patrón Burdeos. If you prefer a full pour, Clase Azul—the priciest on the list—goes for $65 a shot or $500 a bottle.
Adventurous imbibers may indulge in the Brochacho Bomb: a shot of Monte Albán Mezcal dropped into a pint of Negra Modelo beer, which comes with a roasted salt-and-lime cricket. Exploring Salud’s wide array of tequila and mezcal will not only educate you, but may inspire you to explore other agave-derived spirits, such as raicilla, bacanora and sotol.