I’ve talked about the Arts District morphing into a beer district, and although I don’t condone changing the name, with this and other openings coming soon, it certainly qualifies as one.
First up was Able Baker, which after years of contract brewing its beer at Joseph James, opened its 15-bbl facility at 1510 S. Main St. just north of Wyoming with a preview event on Sept. 16. I found the new digs to be a very cheerful environment, with a bright and open feel thanks to a high ceiling and ample natural light from garage doors that open up to the outdoor patio when weather permits. The room features an abundance of rustic wood, adorning the tables, chairs and tap beer list above the bar. Another plus is the brewing equipment just steps away open for all to view and large screen TVs to entertain while you are hanging out.
The beer tap handles are topped with the iconic yellow ducks and on one wall the legend of the duck tells the (fictitious?) story the brewery takes its name and history from: the first two above ground Nevada Test Site atomic bomb tests named Able and Baker, of which the legend says only a duck was able to survive. Further nods to the beloved duck are footprints painted on the floor leading the way to the restrooms.
Able Baker co-founders James Manos and Randy Rohde and director of brewing operations Matt Marino had no less than 17 of their brews pouring, with an assortment of beer styles, including the 10% Big Boots barleywine, a collaboration with Scenic Brewing; Candy Bar Kiloton, a 12.1% imperial dark ale; 12.4% Double Barrel Honey Dip imperial stout; and the ever-popular Chris Kael Impal’d Ale in both its regular version and a barreled-aged one, enhanced with the Five Finger Death Punch rock star it’s named for, present at the preview event.
Chris Kael wasn’t the only notable celebrity at the event, which turned out to be a who’s who of the local brewing community with several local brewers and distributors attending, including Matt Brady (Astronomy Aleworks), Weston Barkley and Nathan Hall (Bad Beat), Dave Pascual (Big Dog’s), Cameron Fisher (CraftHaus), Kyle Weniger and Kayla Callahan (Joseph James), Dave Otto (PT’s Brewing), Jamie Roberts (Scenic Brewing), Tim Etter and Anthony Gibson (Tenaya Creek), Dave Bowers (Vin Sauvage Distributing) and Joe Cuozzo and Ken Cooper (of the soon-to-open Hudl Brewing).
The evening was topped off with excellent eats from the new kitchen menu expertly crafted by Van-Alan Nguyen, who has been wowing us with his terrific offerings at his 595 Craft & Kitchen (at Tropicana and Rainbow) for the past two years. Having Van’s delicious creations (such as the steak banh mi I enjoyed!) make this one of the only recent brewery openings to offer food along with great beer.
Hats off to the Able Baker team for putting together a stellar event and also for providing yet another reason to venture out to the Downtown Arts District.
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Able Baker Brewing
1510 S Main St., Las Vegas, NV