Packers fans in Vegas????? And they brew #beer !!!

Alright, I’m not a Packers fan.  I’ll openly admit it.  Walking into Big Dog’s Brewing Company in Las Vegas is like stepping through a wormhole into the heart of Wisconsin.  I’m a Niners fan…always have been, always will be.  Add to that my loyalty to the University of Michigan, and this place’s affinity for Wisconsin, and there were two quick strikes against it.  The hair on my neck was standing up, and I was just about to bolt for the exit when a waitress walked by with a huge wrought-iron, candelabra-style sampler of some lovely looking beers and a big plate of schnitzel.  I’M SOLD!!!!!  The following is an account of my time spent behind enemy lines that day…

Big Dog Brewing Company has multiple locations in Las Vegas.  We stopped at the Brewing Company/Ale House on N Rancho.  As I said before, I almost made a run for it, but I’m pretty glad I toughed it out.  Before I get too far into that, a little history, as hijacked from their website (  The brewpub is Las Vegas’ newest so far, but the company itself began brewing in 1993, at which time they opened Las Vegas’ original microbrewery Holy Cow! Brewing Company.  Owned by Big Dog’s Hopsitality Group, the brewery/casino had a 2200 barrel per year production capacity.  Operations closed in 2002, but Big Dog continued their trade, and now can be found in three separate locations in the Vegas metro area.

The food was great…there is a good blend of pub fare and German-style food, both of which go splendidly with some craft brews.  Lots of burgers and brats to choose from, but even the options of pizza and specialty sandwiches.  It was a little while ago now, but I can still remember ordering the Bavarian pretzels and Wisconsin cheese curds for apps while we drank some beer, followed by a Brewer’s Sandwich for myself while we drank some more beer.  I can’t remember what my wife ordered because at that point the cheese curds were blocking my ability to form any short-term memory.  Curd coma is a terrible thing…

Is this place an Ale House, or what???  Time for the brews:

Leglifter Light

Poured on tap, into a pint glass.  The beer was almost clear in color, with only the slightest hints of yellow.  Little to no head present on this one, so you can look down and almost read the coaster below it.  The beer had a sour and dusky taste, while also sharp and bitter, likely from the elevated carbonation levels.  Odd combination of taste and mouthfeel.  Very clean aftertaste, the beer is smooth and crisp in mouth, making it very easy to drink.  Decent brew.  You have to be careful, though, because easy to drink means lots of consumption, which leads to jackasses who may look like this:

…I’m just sayin’…

Tailwagger Wheat

Poured on-tap and served in a pint glass, the beer has a very cloudy but surprisingly light coloring of yellow-gold.  The head was thick and light, very bubbly.  The beer has smells of spices and citrus, as do most Hefs.  Well blended and not overpowering to the nose.  The tastes are that of a citrusy-acid tang, as well as heavy spices (coriander and nutmeg).  The spices are also extremely heavy in the aftertaste, both of which surprise after the well-balanced aromas.  The body of the beer is light, and the feel is smooth in mouth.  The heavy spice does make it a beer that is consumed in low quantities, which is not overly typical of the Hef style.  Some who like it spicy, as with Belgian-styles, may enjoy this more than other Hefs.

Holy Cow! Original Pale Ale

A throwback from the olden days, this brew was poured on-tap in a pint glass.  In fact, since I’m sick of writing the same thing over and over again, they were all served in pint glasses…consider yourself informed.  The beer has a lackluster gold coloring with a thin, filmy head.  Smells of hops on initial sniff, and not much else.  The beer has flavors of bitter hops in the middle of the tongue, with a bitter, light aftertaste.  The beer is smooth and sharp on the finish, and maintains a light tingling sensation in the mouth for a little while after.  Easy to drink, but the flavor is lacking, and Pales are definitely a style that has a lot to offer in terms of good, strong brews out there.

Red Hydrant Ale

The beer has a great coloring of vibrant auburn-reds, with a decent, foamy head.  Unfortunately, it is downhill from the appearance, like a supermodel with nothing interesting to say.  The flavor of the beer is bland, with sour and malty undertones.  The beer has a lingering film on the finish, with a slightly sweet aftertaste.  Nothing ever really jumps out and grabs you while you are drinking.  Not a beer I would order again, and that’s about as close as I get to a “deathblow”, short of not finishing, or the dreaded drain-pour.

38 Special

The beer is a blend of their Pale and Red Ales.  It has a muted but solid red coloring, with a light head.  The smells of the beer are muted from the blend, but the taste is well-balanced.  Interesting combination, and the sum of the blend may be better than the parts.  The beer is nice and smooth, with a decent undertone of hops.  There are also hops present in the aftertaste, with a crisp finish.  This is a very easy beer to drink, which makes what I’m about to do that much more difficult:

…couldn’t help it…

Dirty Dog IPA

This beer had a very light gold color for an IPA, with no head at all.  The beer had minimal aroma, which I have always found to be a big part of IPAs, and one that I personally have enjoyed historically.  On initial tasting, the hops flavor hits mid-tongue, and there is a bland hops aftertaste.  A very light highlight of citrus throughout, with not much else.  It is an easy enough beer to drink, but there are much better IPAs available.

Sled Dog

This brew is an opaque black, with a chocolate-colored, light, filmy head after it settles out from its massive beginnings.  The smells are mixes of coffee and mocha, with hints of milk chocolate and some smoke.  The tastes are a blend of dark chocolate and coffee, with a creamy base/feel to it.  The beer has “good legs,” to borrow a wine descriptor, leaving a thick lacing along the glass.  The smooth finish is highlighted by a chocolate aftertaste.  The thick, full-bodied beer is quite enjoyable, but also quite filling.  It absolutely was the best beer I had on this particular day.  Delicious!

Overall, this is a place that I would definitely visit again should I find myself in Sin City.  It’s definitely one of the more unique offerings in the area, and it gives you a little reprieve from the bright lights of the strip.


One Response to “Packers fans in Vegas????? And they brew #beer !!!”

  1. great post, Big dogs sounds like an exciting place to visit, I want to taste the Red Hydrant Ale

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