By Burt Davis
Photos by Burt Davis or Dianne Davis unless otherwise noted
Posters throughout the area welcomed guests and pointed the way
I have never considered myself to be a beer connoisseur. I generally drink the basic Bud or Miller Light beers that are on tap at the local Las Vegas bars or casinos. Wow, did I get an education about the great variety of beers available when I attended the Mandalay Beach Craft Beer and Barrel Festival held at The Beach at Mandalay Hotel and Casino on August 29, 2015.
The festival is the highlight of the three day Las Vegas Beer and Barrel Project presented by Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and Back Bar USA marketing group. The overall event included Friday seminars and a reception, the Saturday Festival, and a Sunday morning beer brunch at Fluer by Hubert Keller.
People mixed and mingled
A portion of the event’s proceeds benefits the Epicurean Charitable Foundation, a local foundation dedicated to ensuring scholarships and unique mentorship opportunities to financially-underprivileged Clark County students passionate about pursuing a career in the culinary arts.
Everywhere you turned happy people were having their cups refilled
My first surprise was that as I entered the event, a guard indicated that I should pick up a metal cup from a table filled with them. I soon discovered that the cup was my personal receptacle to be used as I sampled beer from over 40 craft breweries. It was soon obvious that I wasn’t going to be able to handle samples of beer from all 40 breweries. Even if I just took a small serving, it It would be more than I could manage.
I began with a Belgian style beer infused with peach flavor from Goose Island Brewing. The Arizona Wilderness Company Brewery produced a beer with a chocolate infused flavor. The Belching Beaver Brewery showcased peanut butter milk stout and great lei pineapple IPA. Ballast Point Brewery provided Barmy Ale and Thai Chili Wahoo White Keg 5G.
This event was titled the beer and barrel festival and indeed I learned why. The Festival offered spirits aged in custom made barrels selected by Mandalay Bay executives. Guests could taste samples of spirits that were aged in specially barrels.
Such well known brands as Templeton Rye, Patron Tequila, single barrel Jim Bean and Jack Daniels and Mount Gay Rum were featured in a special area of the extensive outdoor beach area where the event was held.
Strip Steak provided delicious mini cheese steaks
Oyster Marys Red Squrae grill
Fleur by Hubert Keller
Mini Lamp Gyros
All this alcohol required some nourishment and the guests were treated to some delicious food. Many of the well known restaurants at Mandalay Bay served up some great culinary samples. StripSteak provided mini cheese steak subs, while Aureole had beer braised short ribs with pork belly and whipped potatoes. Fleur by Hubert Keller had mini lamb gyros while Yushoo served barbecued Korean chicken wings and barbecued eel brandaid.
Yes, this amazing event was a real test for one’s stomach’s endurance. But, as you can see from the pictures everyone I saw seemed to be having a great time. While the average age leaned toward the under 40's, beer drinkers ran the span from barely legal to senior citizens. It was a friendly crowd with strangers chatting with each other freely as they waited in relatively short lines for their samples. I guess a few beers helped in that area. As I spoke to some of the folks, I met many who had come in from locations throughout the country especially for this event. And when asked, they all indicated that they hoped to return again for the next Mandalay Beach Craft Beer and Barrel Festival.
Same your own
Cheers to Mandalay Bay for producing this event.