Finally… a warm day in May! An odd thing to say in Las Vegas when temperatures are usually well into the high nineties or low hundreds this time of year. Today was spent outside on the patio anticipating a day of Stone Domination at Aces and Ales on Tenaya.

Our server handed us a menu of fifty beers on tap. We were informed that we had 90 minutes to drink all the beer we wanted. It was 10:30 am. Tempting as that all sounded, we needed to start with breakfast.

With a copy of Nevada Beer Quest in hand, we shared our brewspaper around with a few people enjoying the patio as well. Everyone was expecting a party atmosphere, and no one was shy to meet each other. We had our server, LeeLee, pose for our Instagram while holding our order of Stone’s Dom X Imperial IPA and a Goat Bock Yourself. (you gotta smile when you say that out loud)

Nothing goes better with morning sunshine than a tasty breakfast, a refreshing beverage, and great conversation. We were soaking it all in before the big crowd, so we asked our server a little bit about herself.

LeeAnna Lopez prefers to be called LeeLee. She shared that she has been in the service industry for 12 years, a waitress at Aces and Ales and a bartender and music promoter at The Boxx Eastside Bar and Venue.

LeeLee: I kinda play the Fran Drescher, Morticia thing.

Buzz: You don’t do the Fran laugh, do you?

LeeLee: I do!

She did! We were tempted to add the laugh as a sound byte to our website, but she threatened us. “I’ll never speak to you guys again if you do that!” We promised we wouldn’t. But you’ll just have to trust us that it was just as annoying as the original.

Buzz: What do you like about craft beer, and what makes Aces and Ales special to you?

LeeLee: I thought I knew it all. I thought I was such a beer connoisseur because I drank Guinness. That is until I came to Aces and Ales and learned I was dead wrong. I didn’t know anything about beer! I’ve never been much of a wine drinker and beer is more fun and more drinkable, since I can select my beer by alcohol content.

B.K.: Pacing yourself is part of the art.

LeeLee: The fact that I am improving my beer knowledge and not stuck in waitress midlife makes me feel like I’m making improvements in my life and my profession. It’s not just about serving beer; it’s about learning and sharing what I learn with the customer. I also like the variety of beers we carry. There is a broad palette of flavors. I especially enjoy pairing with beer because it’s more fun for me.

Buzz: There is such a fantastic variety with beer at Aces and Ales, what is your favorite?

LeeLee: I’m learning that I do like the more ‘out there‘ beers, though it’s tough for me because I like a few beers with high ABV and have to decide when to drink those because I can’t try a lot at once.

Buzz: What do you like best?

LeeLee: I’m still learning, and I always have liked stout. I’m exploring other brands; like Stone’s Imperial Russian Stout or Garage Brewing Marshmallow Stout. You know, I am so surprised with myself when I lived in Chicago that I never went on a beer tour with my friend who is a Cicerone.

Buzz: Stone makes a considerable variety of beer, including stouts and Belgians, along with IPA’s… Stone’s Imperial Russian Stout – Bourbon Barrel is delicious.

B.K.: Tell us, LeeLee, where do you see yourself in the next five years?

LeeLee: I used to cry about that question. A lot of servers and bartenders have, what I call, bartenders midlife crisis. Vegas is the only town where you can serve and bartend for a long time. You get stuck with the money and the lifestyle so that by the time you get to a certain age you realize you haven’t accomplished much.

So thinking ahead, I combined promoting music and tending bar together while learning a lot of marketing and promotion. I always worked three jobs, and I’ve got a lot of experience under my belt. I’d like to be a talent buyer or a bar owner at some point. I came close. I jumped in to try to save a friend’s bar before it closed, but it ended up closing due to technicalities, gaming issues, and stuff that was out of our control.

I have a lot of friends dedicated to hip hop. Since it’s more straightforward equipment wise, (all you need is a microphone and to hit the play button), I took the music to a new venue, The Boxx. It’s taken a little time, but now we’re more established and can afford more equipment to showcase a variety of house bands. It’s a place where artists can perform their music live, and we need more of those places.

Aces and Ales have been so supportive of me, and they are such a great company to work for, I never want to lose my relationship with them. Hopefully, one day, I can collaborate on some future music event, but for now, I love what I am doing, expanding my palette in beer, and keeping my sights on my future dreams which will include the natural pairing of beer and music.

• • • • •

05/26/19 – UPDATE ~ LeeLee has since moved on to pursue her music calling and is no longer with Aces & Ales. We all wish her the best of success, and we’re sure we’ll catch up with her again at a future date. Cheers to her success.

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