Posts Tagged ‘Las Vegas’

During the past holiday weekend, I got to spend some time in Las Vegas. While dodging the heavily crowded Las Vegas Strip, I managed to check out a handful of breweries around town. Breweries in Clark County tend to have a few things in common that make them stand out from the Southern Californian breweries that I have gotten used to. For the most part, the beers cost significantly less, with a few of the breweries charging less than a dollar per brew in a sampler flight. Some of the employees mentioned that the gambling and gaming helps them keep costs down. Also, most of the breweries operate as brewpubs, featuring a restaurant side with a full menu (as opposed to a lighter menu that has only appetizers and/or snacks). Many breweries also feature guest brews (beers made by other breweries), something that not many breweries in Southern California do, if at all. I had not visited Las Vegas since early 2014, and back then I only knew about Tenaya Creek Brewery (who had since moved from northwest Las Vegas to closer to downtown) and Sin City Brewing, the latter of which has a stronger hold on the beers poured along the strip. Since my last visit, I have looked up many more breweries to check out, so I made it a mission to visit as many of them as possible. A quick weekend did not provide enough time for me to get to all of them, so for those breweries that I missed, I will save them for a future visit.

I first visited Big Dog’s Brewing Company in Northwest Las Vegas. Walking in reminded me of the local watering hole that the locals love. I did not get any sense of craft beer enthusiasts here – I only encountered locals who simply love this place for everything it offers. Operating as a brewpub, Big Dog’s has a full menu, televisions, a full bar, video poker, a full bar, and they remain open 24/7. They provided me with a 5-beer sampler flight for $8. While off the beaten path, any craft beer fan will surely want to check out Big Dog’s Brewing Company.

I cruised down highway 95 to arrive at Chicago Brewing Company, another brewpub that remains open 24/7. The name confuses me and many others, but their brews sure do not confuse. Once inside, this place looks like a standard family restaurant. You walk in, see the host stand, and the dining area resides to your right. By entering the glass double doors to the left, you arrive at the bar area that has televisions and video poker. For those on a budget, you will want to check out what Chicago Brewing has to offer, as I received a 10-beer flight for only $9. The flight included their six house drafts, three seasonal brews, and a special cilantro-lime ale from the featured kegerator. As a bonus, I met the head brewer of Big Dog’s Brewing, Dave, here while he visited with his family. I got to chat with him for a bit and learn more about craft beer in Clark County.

Completing my crawl of westside, I end my afternoon at Old School Brewing Company, a brewpub that only opens for a handful of hours each day. Old School Brewing has their restaurant dining area to the right when you enter, and the bar area to the left. Unlike the previous two stops, I did not witness any video poker machines. Here at Old School Brewing, I got to sample four brews for $5. With such a small flight and not much to do or see here, I found myself finishing up quite fast.

I took a break until the evening, where I ended up heading towards the downtown area to find myself at Hop Nuts Brewing. Located in the Arts District between the Las Vegas Strip and downtown, this spacey brewery has a handful of their own brews on tap plus other guest brews. Hop Nuts does not have any gaming machines here, but looks more like that local dive bar that you take your friends to. They have a front patio for you to enjoy your brews and/or a smoke, and they have televisions and dart boards inside. I did not see any food, so I can wager that they do not serve food here. Thus at Hop Nuts Brewing, you get an actual brewery behind the bar that also serves spirits. I wanted to check out the other breweries around downtown, but for a night on a holiday weekend, I had no intention of driving around crowded streets and busy pedestrian areas.

The next day, I trekked out past Henderson to land at Boulder City where I found Boulder Dam Brewing Company. As the only brewery on the way to Hoover Dam from the Las Vegas metropolitan area, locals have made this place one of the premier watering holes of Boulder City. Small town charm pays off here, as everyone appeared to know each other and treated each other like family. You will not find any gaming machines here – you have a family-friendly family-owned brewpub serving up local brews and comfort food. While I may not speak of the beers here, I can highly recommend stopping by this place for the local legacy that this brewery has created.

For the last brewery I would visit this weekend, I end at Lovelady Brewing Company. Finally, I find an actual standalone brewery with no bells or whistles. Lovelady does not serve food, nor do they have gaming machines. Yes, Lovelady gives you just the microbrewery experience and nothing more, and sometimes, you need nothing more. Lovelady Brewing opened just three months ago, and has built up quite a name for themselves with their magnificently balanced brews. You can created your own sampler flight here, as you pay $2 for each sampler. As a bonus, the gentlemen here gave us a free tour of the brewing area in the back, showing up their (2-row) malt silo, kettle, sparge, and fermenters, among other things such as their walk-in cooler and keg storage area. I can honestly say that Lovelady Brewing had the best beers I drank all weekend, and I highly recommend that you check out Lovelady Brewing the next time you visit Las Vegas.

During this weekend trip, I missed Banger Brewing, Triple 7, and the new Tenaya Creek location in downtown, and CraftHaus Brewery, Bad Beat Brewing, and Barley’s in Henderson. I know that a few breweries exist near the strip, but I will likely avoid those as I do not want to put up with crowds and driving there unless I visit early enough in the day to avoid most traffic. Still, I like to see that the craft beer business has picked up in Las Vegas, a touristy place where big brands dominate over local business. I hope to visit Las Vegas again soon to complete the microbrewery circuit.

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Welcome to 2015, an odd year that some may consider a passing year rather than a destination year. Unlike 2014 and 2016 that have significant worldly events going on, no one truly expects anything extraordinary to occur in 2015 other than news as it occurs. With nothing public to look forward to, we must take control of our lives and make something happen for ourselves. Living a bland, boring lifestyle leads to an unproductive life, so get your adrenaline pumping by exploring new things out in the world. If you live in the greater Los Angeles area, check out these five burgers that will definitely add some zing to your life.

5. Slater’s 50/50‘s Faux Gras Burger

California had not seen foie gras sold in restaurants since June of 2012. Animal activists won a battle that made it illegal to sell foie gras in California. However, as of very recently, that law no longer upholds, so foie fans can rejoice! It will take a while until restaurants start to reintroduce foie gras into their menus. In the meantime, the folks over at Slater’s 50/50 have something to relieve our hunger for foie gras. Slater’s 50/50 truly has an international legacy, having graced the front page of Reddit recently, so an introduction has no place here. Moving on to the meat of the business, their January burger-of-the-month has come to us in the form of their aptly-named Faux Gras Burger. Although it does not contain actual foie gras, the flavor comes awfully close. This burger utilizes their Pepper Brandt beef patty instead of their signature 50/50 patty, and honestly, the 50/50 patty would probably muck up the rest of the flavors in the burger. To add to this, the burger comes with fattened chicken livers, Granny Smith apple & onion marmalade, white cheddar, fried onion strings, whole-grain mustard, and arugula on a brioche bun. Some people see liver and immediately turn the other way. I strongly urge you to give this a chance this month, especially since it only costs $12, a bargain compared to many of their past burgers of the month.

4. Restauration‘s The Other Burger

Long Beach may have its ghetto areas laden with crime and death, but outside of those areas, Long Beach has some highly hip and trendy areas. As long as you avoid the bad areas, you will discover some cool places such as the East Village Arts District, Belmont Shore, or Retro Row. Retro Row especially has some great hidden gems, and even beyond the official area of Retro Row, you may find some other great hidden gems, such as Restauration. Formerly 212 Patio Bistro, this quaint little gastropub makes visitors feel right at home with their humble front area and spacious patio seating in the back. The menu contains standard gastropub faire, which means food with a greater concentration of quality, as most apparent in The Other Burger. This grass-fed beef burger, cooked to order, comes with bacon, Fiscalini white cheddar, shredded lettuce, house pickles, caramelized onions, and garlic aioli on a butter-toasted bun. Each ingredient’s unique taste lends well to the support of this amazingly juicy burger, not to mention the crispiness of the toasted bun. You can nab this burger during business hours for just $12, and it comes with your choice of side.

3. 38 Degrees Ale House‘s The Thirty-Eight Burger

In the debate of opening a restaurant that serves craft beer, one must ask: what do I want the people to recognize us most for, the food or the beer? This balance would materialize itself like a seesaw, as focusing on one aspect often leads to neglect of the other. I mean, sometimes some places that swear by their food may have a different perception by the public. Finding the right balance takes practice, something that 38 Degrees Ale House has done. The folks at 38 Degrees know their craft beer, and they know their food. Their residence in Alhambra may not help them (a city known for its traditional Chinese population), but they use their industry knowledge to hit homers all year round. When I first tried The Thirty-Eight Burger, I knew immediately that they have the recipe for success in their hands. They use triple-grind angus chuck for their beef patty, and garnish it with garlic aioli, onion relish, Point Reyes blue cheese, and baby arugula on a Hawaiian sweet bun, served with shoestring fries (upgradable to sweet potato fries for $2). With the sweet potato fries upgrade, this meal basically eats like a dessert, since only the blue cheese has a non-sweet flavor. Although I rarely modify burgers, I may try this again with hot sauce or something spicy to add some more kick to this burger. Luckily, this burger only costs $13, so it will not break the bank or anything.

2. Mohawk Bend‘s Whitson Burger

Los Angeles has so many unique eateries that one often has a hard time keeping track of all of them. Add to the fact that Los Angeles had so many different named neighborhoods, and you’d have to spend days exploring every neighborhood in Los Angeles County. From Silverlake to Lincoln Heights to the Miracle Mile and more, named neighborhoods all have something that make them stand out. Echo Park, for example, has some great historic sights to see, as well as businesses to visit. If you find yourself in Echo Park, take a look around for a lovely place called Mohawk Bend. Not coincidentally located at the bend of Sunset Blvd at Mohawk St, this restaurant dares to transcend above that of the gastropub label, as they refer to themselves as simply “a restaurant and bar in Echo Park dedicated to bringing you California craft beer and fresh, locally-sourced fare.” I will not lie – the interior looks gorgeous, and stepping foot in here makes you feel like walking into a movie set. If you can get past the scenery, you will find their substantial menu, which contains yummy eats like the Whitson Burger. Only available during dinner hours, this mammoth burger has three types of meat: ground beef for the patty, bacon, and pulled short ribs. Along with this meaty threesome, it comes with cheddar cheese, sliced pickles, shredded lettuce, and sriracha aioli on a brioche bun. Just for the heck of it, Mohawk Bend had to label this burger as (NV) which I assume means “never vegan.” Blast those vegans though – this burger costs $15 and comes with a choice of side, while vegan food usually costs more since it requires more careful preparations.

1. Bachi Burger‘s Ronin Burger

Las Vegas draws thousands of visitors every weekend as they visit for vacationing. Most people come to Las Vegas for the partying, while others come for the gambling or shows. Do people go to Las Vegas for the food? Probably not – most visitors who travel to Las Vegas end up dining at their hotel’s buffet, a cesspool of leftovers with less quality than serviced restaurants. Las Vegas restaurants that thrive on the quality of their food should look to expanding elsewhere, such as the case with Bachi Burger. Originally based out of Las Vegas, this restaurant chain has landed in Southern California with two locations: West LA and Pasadena. So what makes Bachi Burger so good that they had to expand to California? One word: fusion. Bachi Burger brings Japanese and island flavors to the west by introducing them to a form that Americans easily recognize: burgers. Visitors can savor this fusion best in the Ronin Burger, the first burger listed on their menu. This angus beef burger patty gets topped with caramelized onions, Japanese cole slaw, miso goma (sesame) dressing, a fried egg, and katsu BBQ sauce, served with yuzu citrus aioli on the side. Anyone who loves Asian food will fall in love with this burger, as it basically represents Asian-style BBQ in a burger. The price of this burger depends on the location; for example, this costs $13 at the West LA location. Sadly, burgers do not come with any side, but once you sink your teeth into this burger, you will not require a side, as you will want to prolong this experience as long as you can.

The 2014 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo returned to the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas this past weekend. Now in its 16th year running, this trade show for the adult entertainment industry brings together tens of thousands of people from around the world, including those in the industry and all the fans. Traditionally, only those in the industry could attend the first day or two, designated as trade days. Fans could attend the latter of the days of the expo, with the AVN Awards taking place on Saturday, which required a separate ticket to attend. The entirety of the expo covered three ballrooms. The first room, called The Joint, contained the Fan Fest, which featured a large portion of meet & greets for fans to obtain autographs, photos, and other memorabilia. This room also featured the stage for occasional interviews and other performances, such as an aerialist act. The second room, called The Muse Hall, contained the general expo, where most of the companies and exhibitors set up. The third room, called The Artist Hall, contained the Novelty Expo, open only to industry attendees.

Anyways, plenty of information exists on the official website and countless other third-party sites. Although I did not take as many photos as I had hoped to take, I still took my fair share. I had arrived late on Friday, so I missed the expo, but I still made it on time to a meet & greet with Violet and Jenn (not pictured). Lucy also hung out for a while for these photos:

Starting from The Joint, this hall contained the most amount of people, making for slow navigation of the narrow walkways.

Many of the stars made an appearance for fans to meet. Although not as many showed up as on Friday, this room remained busy the entire time.

At one point, an aerialist act started in the middle of the room.

Moving on to The Muse Hall, fans could find some of the stars here as well. As the room that contained exhibitors, plenty of other action occurred here as opposed to The Joint. Nothing explicit ever occurred, but some of the action definitely turned heads without thought.

The friskiest action occurred at the MyFreeCams section. These girls let everything loose and did not adhere to any professional standards. If any of the fans wanted to see action up close, they would find themselves here at the MyFreeCams section.

And of course, I could not help but take a few photos for myself.

No one can predict the future of the industry. While the Adult Entertainment Expo will not leave Las Vegas any time soon, other similar expos may not face the same outcome. While Exxxotica has found its place away from the west coast, Adultcon appears to struggle on the west coast. The industry has seen a slow decline in the greater Los Angeles area over the past few years, and the passing of Measure B has only steepened that decline. The advent of new technology may also shift the face of the industry in an entirely new direction, much like how social media does for anybody and anything. What can we expect to see occur in the adult entertainment industry this year? With this much volatility, no one can truly predict an outcome.

As a wise man once said, “In volatile market, only stable investment is porn!”

Although not as large as other prevalent areas, a punk rock scene does exist in Las Vegas. Last Saturday night, The Dwarves headlined a small local show at the Las Vegas Country Saloon in Downtown Las Vegas. On a cold, dry night, not many people showed up to this show, but for those that did, they got to enjoy a fresh set from The Dwarves a night before they would come to play in Long Beach. Although originally scheduled for six bands, Lambs To Lions had to unexpectedly drop out of the show, resulting in a five-band show that cost $17 to enter – quite pricey, but many things cost more in Las Vegas.

Local band The CG’s opened the show with their 30-minute punk set. At this early point in the night, the venue contained no more than ten people, but The CG’s paid no mind to the emptiness. This group of kids has yet to reach their own unique sound, as they still sound like your typical garage band, albeit with a hint of ska thanks to the way their guitar sounds, and that all three band members equally do vocals. If they want to grow, they will need to grow beyond Las Vegas to find a larger punk crowd.

The People’s Whiskey started off next after a quick setup. For another local band, this one impressed me quite a bit. Their sound resembles that of Time Again, but with a slight folk/country sound to it. They had their fast songs, but also toned things down in the middle of their set. The People’s Whiskey split the vocals between the main vocalist and their bearded bassist. They have something going for them, and could possibly get a big break at a high-profile event such as Punk Rock Bowling.

After a delayed intermission, Since We Were Kids finally started their set. Once I saw them, I immediately recognized them as the opening band from a Narcoleptic Youth show back in September, finally pinning a name to them. Since then, their sound has not deviated much from the hardcore punk sound of that show. Without a unique sound of their own, Since We Were Kids resembled a combination of a garage punk band with an east coast punk vocalist. Now I can at least place a name to the faces, and with the knowledge that they come from Southern California, I can expect to see them at more shows soon.

The sub-headliner came on next, as local band IDFI (pronounced I Defy) played an extended 45-minute set. Similar to The Misfits, IDFI plays a variation of horror punk that incorporates heavy metal into their music. By now, a handful of audience members had arrived, and could properly get a pit going. The music of IDFI fit perfectly for the pit, as the speed and intensity of the music drove the bodies around and around. Nobody exhibited signs of fatigue all throughout the 45-minute set, despite the headlining band coming next.

Playing much earlier than anticipated, The Dwarves started their set that would end up lasting only an hour. Glancing at their set list, you will see that their songs mainly talk about sex and drugs – the true rock & roll life. The Dwarves even boast the attitude to back it up, as they proudly proclaimed their significance in the history of music and rock & roll. Their set included fan favorites like I Will Deny, Dominator, and There Better Be Women. I personally wanted to hear Johnny On The Spot, but alas they did not play it, nor did they at Ink-N-Iron. After their last song, they abruptly left the venue, leaving signs that they would return for an encore; however, they never did, and simply left everyone wanting more at such an early point in the night. After all, the fun in Las Vegas should start right after midnight!

Did you get a chance to see The Dwarves in Long Beach this past Sunday? Less than a day after this Las Vegas show, The Dwarves came down to Southern California to play another show. If you missed that one as well, make sure you Like their Facebook page to receive updates about where they will play next.

The age of the domestic beer monopoly in the United States shrinks with each passing day. The beer industry around the world dominates the alcoholic beverage industry, as consumers drink 3,500 bottles of beer for every one glass of wine – that makes 8,000 times more beer consumed by the liter. Annually, consumers worldwide drink 189 billion liters of beer, but only 24 million liters of wine. This veiled obscurity of wine slightly explains the phenomenon that more people drink, care about, and talk about wine, as the underdogs wanted to make a statement about the wonders of wine. We can thank the media for the different portrayals of each drink. The media portrays wine as a fine drink for educated folks, while the media portrays beer as a lazy or fat man’s drink. This old stereotype has shifted the portion of the population that drink each type. In the course of ten years in America, beer drinkers decreased 11% while wine drinkers increased 8%. The typical domestic beer brands (Budweiser, Coors, Miller, PBR, etc) dominate the market, and control distribution of beer in the United States. As much, this made it extremely difficult for small breweries to get their beers out very far from their origin, and in fact, 95% of all micro breweries in the United States cannot distribute beer outside of their home state. So when a brewery can finally venture beyond their state, beer lovers can rejoice over the presence of “new kids” in town. If you thirst for a great brew from outside of California, check out these breweries that have, in one way or another, landed their beers into Californian restaurants, pubs, and bars.

5. Elysian Brewing

Having officially lived through the Fall season for two weeks, we can already enjoy the perks of Fall. For example, the weather has changed from excessively hot to the kind of weather where you wear a jacket in the morning and a tank top in the afternoon. Also in the Fall, coffee lovers rejoice over the return of Pumpkin Spice Lattés from Starbucks. Fall in general reminds us all of pumpkins, yams, sweet potatoes, and other similar produce. At this time, I would like to thank Beer Advocate for their integral role in this year’s popularization of pumpkin beers with a simple innocent retweet that managed to infuriate their followers to the level of a headless horseman. When craft beer enthusiasts think of pumpkin beers, they immediately envision Elysian Brewing. Elysian has always had a penchant for pumpkin beers, as evident in their annual Great Pumpkin Beer Fest, which returns TONIGHT as its 9th year running in a row. As one of Washington’s micro breweries from their first wave, Elysian has solidified a legacy for themselves, especially in the Seattle area. Here in Southern California, Elysian does not yet actively distribute kegs for tap purposes. However, Elysian has collaborated with New Belgium to make a beer called The Trip XVI, a farmhouse rye ale, that you can find in select bars. If you can still find it, look up La Citrueille Celeste De Citracado, a collaboration beer between Elysian, Stone Brewing, and The Bruery, that you can currently find in bottles only. Check out the rest of Elysian’s lineup too, as they make more great beers than just pumpkin beers.

4. Uinta Brewing

Mainstream media has done quite a job over the past few decades of giving beer a negative connotation. Television shows like Married With Children or King Of The Hill show men lazily drinking beer and doing other manly activities, like gambling or standing around doing nothing. However, the media fails to show the artistic side of beer. The art of brewing requires intense studying and inherent knowledge of the industry or ingredients necessary to brew beer. In addition to the brewing, micro brewery owners need artists to give life and a face to their brand. Consumers will either see a bottle or tap handle first before trying the beer, so a good first impression can influence opinions of the beer. If you seek fancy beer art, take a look at some of the beers from Uinta Brewing. This Salt Lake City brewpub has had a foot in Southern California for at least a few years by now, but most people tend to overlook them for other prominent breweries like Deschutes, Great Divide, or Avery. Although Uinta’s distribution reaches California, they have yet to cement an image of their company in the minds of Californians. This all changed with the improvisation of their themed lines of beers. Their standard beers belong to their Classic Line, while their Organic Line, which contains tasty brews like Baba Black Lager, features a simplistic cover art for the beer that looks like a t-shirt design. Californians may best recognize beers from Uinta’s Crooked Line, home of the popular Tilted Smile bottle. The Crooked Line consists of Uinta’s odd or strong brews that do not fit in the other categories. Uinta strongly supports the local art community, and looks to them for inspiration for naming beers in the Crooked Line. The artwork for Tilted Smile in particular came from a local artist named Lea Bell. Explore all of Uinta’s beers, and see for yourself how they give back to the community more than just refreshing beers.

3. Ninkasi Brewing

Not one to shy away from keeping up with the rapid craft beer movement in California, the Pacific Northwest has rallied up some of the finest minds in the craft beer industry to open up shop in either Washington or Oregon. Breweries like Deschutes and Rogue have helped to put Oregon on the map, and Washington has the nationally-known Pyramid near Seattle. A recent magazine article claims that Washington has over 190 breweries; however, San Diego County alone has over 200! Any craft beer enthusiast should feel ecstatic over the growth of craft beer in other states, especially neighboring ones. It appears that Southern California has already felt that away about out-of-state breweries, especially Ninkasi Brewing. From Eugene, Oregon comes this powerhouse of a micro brewery with an amazing team of people dedicated to the company and its products. Anyone familiar with Golden Road in Los Angeles will definitely see a resemblance here. Although unrelated, they both share the same vision and path, and the customer fan bases prove it. Ninkasi brews a variety of beers, and releases many beers in different series based on its style or strength. For example, customers can only find the Radiant Northwest Pale Ale during the summer. Other series have to do with the ingredients or style of the beer, such as lagers or the single-hop series. Ninkasi has even gone far enough to devise food recipes utilizing their beers as ingredients. Of course, one could swap out their beers for something similar, but then you cannot call that an official creation of Ninkasi ingenuity. Check with your favorite local craft beer bar to see if they carry Ninkasi on tap, and grab a taste of the Pacific Northwest.

2. Tenaya Creek Brewery

Have you ever truly gotten stranded in the middle of a desert? What would you do if you could not locate any water or plants nearby? In the middle of the desert, life cannot exist without generations of adaptation to adjust for the climate. Somewhere in history, a genius decided to open a resort in the middle of the desert. Many decades later, we now have Las Vegas, proof that even in the middle of nowhere, one can still make something of it. Poor Las Vegas – fully a tourist destination, but never a place one would want to live in. To anyone it matters to, farm-to-table dinners cannot exist there, and neither can restaurants that use local sustainable ingredients due to no farms or naturally-occurring bodies of water. Today, we no longer have to worry about local craft beer in Vegas, thanks to Tenaya Creek Brewery. Located in northwest Las Vegas, Tenaya Creek makes the best of its location to crank out beers fitting for a Las Vegas audience. Sure Las Vegas has the Yard House with over a hundred craft beers on tap, but sometimes you just want something local, not flown in. Tenaya Creek’s beers fit the Las Vegas crowd – not too strong, but stands out from the crowd with some of the beer names or something on the cover art. For example, their Monsoon IPA depicts a white tiger-riding Vegas-style dancer on The Strip. Other beers, such as Old Jackalope, captures an audience based on taste and strength. You can now find Tenaya Creek beers at a handful of restaurants, bars, and pubs in Southern California, so reach out to your favorite local spot, and tell the bartender or server how much you love it so they can continue to order more.

1. Epic Brewing Company

A brewery’s name means everything. One cannot lead a successful brewery with a bad name, but with enough time, renaming the brewery can change the minds of those early birds. Breweries do not always need a fancy name – a simple name that evokes emotion will come in handy more often than big names. Remember the Three Caballeros from Disney? The red bird had seven names: Panchito Romero Miguel Junipero Francisco Quintero González III, just for the heck of it, in case the third did not count. Simply Panchito would have worked in his case, as fans would still remember him no matter what. A simple name should still symbolize a characteristic of the object, so logically, Epic Brewing should make epic beer. Thankfully, here in Southern California, we no longer have to guess if they earned that name or not. Hailing from Salt Lake City, Epic Brewing did not select that name for no reason. Their beers get more and more epic the higher in level you go in their beers. They keep a standard line of beers in their Classic Series, but from there, escalate it higher to an Elevated Series, then finally an Exponential Series. In this Exponential Series, you will find the top shelf beers, as this line caters to the adventurous and bold explorers out there. Of particular note, the Brainless Raspberries does not resemble a framboise, as it does not come off as a sour beer. This Belgian-style ale gets infused with raspberries, so as you drink this beer, the perfect balance of raspberries comes through – not too much, and not too little. The Exponential Series also bravely features a gluten-free beer, brewed with sweet potato and molasses instead of the traditional malts and barley. I like the way this series operates, and have not found any disappointments with any of Epic’s beers. Found both in bottles and on tap in Southern California, you can also find Epic at most beer festivals in Southern California, so you have multiple avenues for satisfying your epic thirst.

Las Vegas – The Entertainment Capital of the World. By large a tourist attraction, Las Vegas sees millions of tourists annually. Of all the visitors, what can you expect them to answer as the reason to going to Las Vegas? Clubs? Casinos? Dining? Shows? Marriage? Whatever the reason, travelers often only conceive these main reasons for going. They often lose sight of the less frequent reasons for visiting Las Vegas. Has anyone considered shopping? How about looking around the outskirts of The Strip? Ever consider rock-climbing? Or do you want to check out a music show? I do not refer to the grand shows, like Cirque du Soleil, but the smaller, more intimate music shows. Many people do not consider Las Vegas for doing things small, but when it happens, of course it happens right. Even a small, niche music genre, like punk rock, has found a few places to call home in Sin City. In the case of punk rock, it lives on at the Las Vegas Country Saloon.

Roid Rage

At the Las Vegas Country Saloon on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas, the entrance tells the story of two separate event spaces. Initially, the entrance places guests in the bar & lounge area, typically with a live DJ spinning the newest beats. Beyond a door to the side lies the LVCS music hall, complete with a bar, tables, open space, and the stage. Set up similarly to House of Blues, when no act occupies the stage, tables fill the room for guests to enjoy food & drinks. Show acts here vary in genre, from rap to pop to jazz and more. Invariably, LVCS features a punk rock show monthly, often with local bands as openers to headliners. Some previous headliners include Lower Class Brats and D.I., while some future shows include Angry Samoans and Jodie Foster’s Army (JFA).

Shotguns ‘N Gasoline

Although located in Downtown, LVCS follows standard bar procedures. During special events, no one under 21 may enter. Guests also have to find their own parking – nearby parking structures charge according to the structure owner, but a few streets down enforce street parking meters only until 8pm. Most shows cost a reasonable price, regardless of the headliner. Expect to get in on the day of the show for under $20 for most shows. They even allow reentry as long as you leave the wristband on you. For a venue in Las Vegas, they have the power to charge exorbitant prices to guests and enforce stricter rules, like a dress code. But for remaining lenient on rules and prices as they do, LVCS shines as a venue worth visiting as often as possible. The next time you visit Las Vegas, check out a show or two at the Las Vegas Country Saloon.

IDFI

LBC Tweet Up Brunch

The first event of my weekend was the #LBCTweetUp brunch at Tavern On 2 on Saturday morning. I did not get an official head count, but it was nice to see Long Beach tweeps again, especially since it had been about a year since I attended one of these tweet ups.

USC Alumni Club of Long Beach’s Baywatch Brunch at Panama Joe’s

This occurred at the same time as the Tweet Up and was next door, so I decided to visit following the brunch. I did not stay too long, only long enough to say Hi to those I knew. Eventually, a random woman unrelated to the group passed out in the corner near us, and paramedics and a firetruck had to stop in front of the venue. At that point, I made a hasty exit.

Manhattan Beach Beer Fest

This beer fest was my next destination. I have already reviewed this event – please click the above link to view it.

Bixby Knolls Dragster Expo & Car Show and The Factory’s Beer Garden

Immediately after the last beer fest, I hightailed it to this car show and beer fest. You can view my pictures and review by clicking the above link.

Revisiting Tavern On 2

My original plan was to go see Avenue Q, as highlighted in last week’s Upcoming Events post. However, I finished my business at The Factory too late, so I decided to return to Tavern On 2 to cap off my night.

Las Vegas: One-Night Stay

On Sunday morning, I drove out to Las Vegas to stay a night, as I had business to take care of Monday morning there. Las Vegas was going through some funky thunderstorms and cloudiness that day, so that limited my time at the pool at Rio. However, I still had time to lay out by the pool for a bit.

Afterwards, we decided to walk through Chinatown for a bit, just to see how different it is from Southern California.

Next, we went to some Asian Buffet restaurant that was way far away from The Strip. If not for the long line to get in, the buffet itself was only $15 per person, quite a steal.

Needing to go on a walk after that buffet, we drove to Downtown Las Vegas to check out the Fremont Street Experience.

I did not remember the flightlines being there last time I came to Las Vegas, so that was something neat to see. At $20 per ride, I felt that my money was better off at the casino. Speaking of which, after a good half-hour walk, we drove down to The Strip to see the sights before heading back to the hotel to crash for the night.

Monday morning, we took care of our work, and left Vegas around 1pm. Driving back after the state line, I was slightly surprised to see water on both sides of the freeway following the storms of the previous days.

So that is the extent of this weekend. I hope to make next weekend crazier than this one, since the only direction to go from here is up.