Chicago Brewing Company…in Vegas, of course…geography on shuffle

What better way to spend some time in Vegas than going to..the Chicago Brewing Company.  I mean, half way across the country and you find a themed restaurant.  How could you go wrong?  (Is this thing dripping with sarcasm yet?)

Here are what others think of this place, since I will be focusing on the liquid portion of the menu:  http://www.yelp.com/biz/chicago-brewing-company-las-vegas

The Chicago Brewing Company is on the west side of Vegas, and it wraps a little bit of everything into one package.  There is a cigar bar upstairs, a family section downstairs, and a non-smoking bar for those not wanting to pollute their lungs while they poison their livers (tongue in cheek).  The food was decent, and they have some kick-ass hot wings, as well as other spicy foods.  Believe me…the hot is pretty damn hot.  They also have some unique meat choices you won’t find elsewhere.  As far as Vegas goes, the place is reasonably priced, also…which leaves more money for BLACKJACK!!!

Alright, I’m done laughing…time for some brews.  These are not listed in suggested drinking order by any means.  They are listed in the order I wrote them down; arrange at your own discretion:

Imperial Stout

The Imperial Stout is an Irish Dry.  The bartender said that this was a random brew from the brewmaster, and that it ran “approximately 8.0% ABV.”  Served in a pint glass, the beer pours with a thick, dense, and chocolate-colored head.  Aroma consists of oak and nut, while the taste is more of chocolate and booze.  Both of which are good in my book.  The beer is very full bodied and bold flavored, while surprisingly smooth and easy to drink.  Nice, creamy texture, which is odd for an Irish Dry, with an extremely pleasant aftertaste.  The finish lingers a bit, but not overpowering or cloying.  Easy to drink, which means easy to get in trouble at the 8% mark.  Good beer for colder weather, which I don’t think happens in Vegas.  This one would actually be good in Chicago, of all places.

All Nighter

The All Nighter is an American Blonde Ale.  Poured on-tap into a pint glass, the beer was a vibrant gold color with no head.  The smell was heavy on the barley, and the taste was a strong barley presence, also, with a light balance of hops.  Balanced, but nothing remarkable.  The beer was light and crisp in mouth, but there was a dusky and dank aftertaste.  The finish makes this beer not particularly pleasant to drink, in my opinion.  Of course, the flavor itself didn’t do anything to help its cause, either.

Ramblin’ Wreck Amber Ale

You guessed it, this one’s an amber.  Served in a pint glass, which at this point I think is the only glassware they own, the beer presents with a typical light, foamy head.  It has a dark caramel-red color which is impressive looking in the glass.  The smell reminded me of most ambers, with bits of malt throughout the nose.  It had a malty-sweet flavor, with a crisp, hoppy aftertaste.  The light finish and the low alcohol content make this an extremely easy beer to drink.  Good on hot days after taking an absolute beating on the roulette table.

Old Town Brown

Poured on-tap into a pint glass, the Old Town Brown pours with a decent head, approximately 1 1/2″.  The beer was a typical brown color, and the smell was full of nutty fragrances.  It had tastes of malt, and very faint hints of chocolate, making it an overall sweet, pleasant flavor.  It was crisp and light in mouth, and very easy to drink, being only about 4.6% ABV.  If you tend to have a sweet tooth, and you like your beer, this might be in your wheelhouse.

Weizenheimer Wheat

I’m going to just stop telling you what the beers are served in, because if the wheats aren’t coming in weisse glasses, then it’s all pints for you.  The Wheat is an unfiltered brew, and it has a nice bright yellow-ish color with a thick, foamy, chunky head.  There was only a very slight smell to the beer, one of light toasted bread, which became surprising once the beer was tasted.  The beer has a heavy nutmeg and lemony flavor, which is sneaky after the lack of smell.  The spicing and citrus are ninja like to the nostrils, but attack the taste buds.  The feel and finish of the beer are fairly typical of most wheats, with a light and clean end-feel.  Easy enough to drink, but not overly memorable.

Blueberry Vanilla Wheat

This beer looks like a watered down wheat, but the smell is pretty impressive.  There is a heavy dose of blueberry front and center on first smelling the beer.  It also directly follows-up with the initial tastes, again heavy blueberry, but now combined with a creamy vanilla balance.  An undertone of spice (I think coriander) keeps the sweetness from becoming overbearing, which gives a decent balance to the brew.  The flavor was well-balanced and round, and it actually had an easy finish that was clean.  I wouldn’t be able to drink too much of it due to its overall sweetness, but it is enjoyable.

Stout of Order

The beer looks like a typical stout, with nice dark colors and a bright, tan, thick head.  There was a good, strong nose of coffee and nut, which was rich and blended.  The beer was very smooth, with a creamy coffee overtone to the taste, and some light nutty and chocolate highlights.  There is a definitive coffee aftertaste, as well.  The beer is rather light bodied for a stout, and the very low alcohol content of 4.5% also adds to ease of drinking.  We are heavy stout drinkers in my household, but this might not be bad for someone getting their feet wet in the wide world of stout for the first time.

Hardaway IPA

I’m a hop-head, so I am always looking forward to the IPA.  This beer was a typical IPA, and nothing truly stood out.  This ‘middle-of-the-road’ seems to be an approach style that I am picking up on here.  That being said, the beer was your typical copper color, although unfiltered, which gave it a cloudy appearance.  The aromas are hoppy, and the tastes are bitter hopped and sour malt flavors.  It reminded me of most east coast IPAs, at least of old.  I think the east coast is doing a much better job of being hopcentric as of late, but in previous years, it was a bit of a lightly tread flavor character.  The beer itself was round and bold in mouth, and combined with the sourness, not the easiest of consumptions.  A little goes a long way here.  The air was officially out of my bubble on this one.

Hawaiian Honey

This beer is copper-colored, with a light, foamy, sparse head.  Smells of honey and alcohol on the nose, and at 13% ABV, that makes complete sense.  The taste of the beer was heavy with alcohol, also.  There are some honey tones to the beer, but they are a bit on the overpowered side.  It tastes like a drunken honey ham.  The beer was not an easy drink.  It almost had a greasy feel in the mouth, and the strength of the alcohol flavor was not balanced well with the rest of the beer.  The aftertaste was pure ethanol, and the beer had an oily slick mouthfeel.  I would tell you about the finish, but my liver crawled out through my throat and flipped me the bird, so I stopped drinking.  Not a beer I would order again.

Cocoa for Coconuts

Our server told us that this beer had just gone onto rotation.  She then informed us that the beer was best consumed at room temperature to allow the coconut essence to fully release.  She also asked me what sport the 49ers play when I asked for the television channel to be put on the San Fran game…given their play in the past decade, I was willing to give her a pass on this one.  The beer has the appearance of your run-of-the-mill porter.  There is little to no head to accompany the brown-almost-black color, which is dense and opaque.  The smells are a balanced mix of coconut and chocolate.  I’m excited.  Unfortunately, the taste is not as well-balanced.  The coconut is there, but there is not nearly enough chocolate present to warrant a mention in the title.  Cocoa and malt in the aftertaste, which helps a bit, but the beer was a little sharp on the finish.  If you enjoy Malibu rum (my wife) and other coconut drinks (my wife), then this will likely be up your alley.  My wife happened to like it.  Just don’t get dragged in by the mention of chocolate.  I did.  It’s like the old Naval tactics of clubbing drunks then dragging them onto the boat so they wake up at sea.  Okay, it’s not nearly that drastic, but I never get to use that analogy.

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