By: Brock Radke
Our newest local brewery is the furthest possible thing from every other local brewery. It has a name everybody already knows, and it had about 50 local bars clamoring for its craft creations before it brewed a drop.
PT’s Brewing Company, which opened in February at the former Tenaya Creek in northwest Las Vegas, is truly one of a kind. Brewmaster Dave Otto—who’s been doing it longer than anybody, starting at the city’s first microbrewery Holy Cow! 20 years ago before it turned into Big Dog’s—is turning out six new signature brews here, all of which will eventually be served at the various venues of PT’s Entertainment Group, the largest gaming tavern operator in Southern Nevada.
“My goal is to max this place out and maybe force the issue of building another building,” Otto says.
PT’s has a built-in distribution chain any brewpub would kill for, and that immediately makes this new endeavor one of the strongest operations in the Valley’s burgeoning beer scene. But more importantly, how’s the beer? And what’s the experience like at the brewery itself?
If you think of PT’s as just the neighborhood video-poker bar serving icy 25-ounce mugs of light beer, the Tenaya Creek location will surprise you. It’s one of the rare local brewpubs with a real kitchen, and while those classic wings and sliders are available, you’ll skip them for giant Bavarian pretzels with beer cheese dip and the hearty “pork ’n beans,” a pile of perfect braised pork shoulder with crispy onions over a country bean stew. “Every part of this menu is made in-house, it will change with the seasons and it is completely different from our tavern menus,” says Corporate Vice President of Food and Beverage Joe Romano.
The first batch of brews shows impressive range. The lighter end is the Horizon Ale, a refreshing cream ale, with the heavier end represented by the bold Boulder Stout, nitro-poured to bring out notes of coffee and cocoa, and the Hualapai IPA, an aggressive but malt-balanced hopfest. In the middle is an Irish Red with pleasant caramel flavors, brewed specifically for PTEG’s Sean Patrick’s Irish pubs. You can taste them all as an $8 flight, or get a pint of your fave for $5-$6. And that’s not even considering happy hour.
“Vegas is so far ahead in so many ways, but as far as craft beer, we’re hitting it late,” Romano says, summing up the consensus opinion on the upstart local landscape. “The big thing for us, getting into it at this point, is that we have Dave Otto, the best brewer in the state. We went after the best because we want to give our customers, at [any location], every reason to say, ‘Let’s try this.’” If you’re into local beer, you really have no reason not to.