Earlier this summer I discovered the Las Vegas Distillery, which I wrote about in a previous blog post. As fate would have it, Mike Dominiak saw it. He is the Director of Imbibing Operations for Bad Beat Brewing, a new poker-themed brewery that recently opened up in the “Booze District” over in Henderson.
Dominiak invited me to the brewery for a personalized tour, which was led by founder and owner Nathan Hall, a former poker player. Along with his wife, Hall opened Bad Beat in 2012 after selling their house and dipping into their savings.
“Our idea was simple: make fresh, high quality products that the locals could support and enjoy,” Hall explains on the Bad Beat website.
Now I’ll be the first to admit, I’m hesitant about poker-themed anything, be it clothing, energy drinks, and especially a brewery. I was anticipating a whole new level of gimmicky, but what I discovered was the complete opposite. There was no cheap poker tables with even cheaper poker chips set up in the brew house, nor were there any pictures of washed-up poker pros on the wall. Instead, the poker theme was subtly permeated the brand.
For instance, there was tactful poker-themed artwork on the wall, which was designed by resident artist Beth Dominiak, Mike’s wife. These pieces of art will also double as beer labels.
“When given the chance to create images for Bad Beat Brewing, I jumped at the challenge. Breathing life into the individual characters that represent each product creates so much personal enjoyment,” Beth explained. “I feel this marketing concept takes the microbrewery experience to ‘the next level.’ It is an awesome opportunity for me to marry two crafts that I absolutely love: beer and art! I am very excited to share these passions with all of you as I create what I term ‘The World beneath the Poker Chip.’”
The poker theme was also reflected in the beer, which is crafted by Head Brewer Weston Barkley, a mountain of a man you’d think was the inspiration for Big Bad John in the Johnny Cash song. Here’s a list of some the beers offered at Bad Beat, all of which I was lucky enough to sample:
- The Daily Grind – Pale Ale
- Ace in the Hole – Basil Pale Ale
- Ante Up – Amber Ale
- Hoppy Times – IPA
- Gutshot – Dry Irish Stout
- Bluffing Isn’t Weisse – Hefeweizen
If you know me, then you know I’m not much of a beer drinker. I prefer whiskey and rum, and to be honest there are only a handful of beers that I’ve drank that I’ve actually enjoyed. That said, I’m not the best man to be judging the quality of beers, but I can say that I enjoyed every one I tried at Bad Beat. Obviously I liked some more than others, but my favorite was the Bluffing Isn’t Weisse. It’s a “hazy, straw-colored, wheat beer with banana, clove, apricot flavors and aroma.”
While sampling the Bad Beat brews, Nathan, Weston, Mike and I all engaged in a game of Cards Against Humanity, which they offer free of charge to their patrons. This was the first time I’d played the popular card game, and it was amazing. If you’ve never played before, do yourself a favor and do so as soon as possible.
I won’t go into how the game is played, but suffice it to say it’s the perfect game to accompany friends and booze. I was so impressed that as soon as I returned home I ordered the game on Amazon, and I plan on introducing it to my friends back home in Wisconsin.
Bad Beat Brewery impressed me so much that it’s immediately made the short list of places I’ll visit every time I’m in Vegas. I recommend the next time you’re in Sin City, you find your way to the “Booze District” (rumor has it they may offer shuttle services in the next year or so) and make a day of it. You won’t regret it.
There's a lot more to Bad Beat Brewery than I wrote here, so for those interested be sure to check out badbeatbrewing.com.
Here are some more photos I snapped during my Bad Beat Brewery visit:
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