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Dining

Great beer experiences

At these places, the extra touches make the difference.

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Heady brew: Chicago Brewing Company’s Hawaiian Honey packs a 12-percent alcohol kick.
Photo: Bill Hughes
Jim Begley

Best Place to Drink Good Beer on the Cheap: Todd English’s P.U.B. (at Crystals) Like free beer? Who doesn’t? That’s why I love the “Beat the Glass” game at Todd English’s P.U.B. Down a pint of any beer on tap in seven seconds or less (as timed by bar-mounted hourglasses) and it’s free. Conventional wisdom might prescribe lighter stuff like Stella Artois, but English himself suggests Guinness for its lower relative carbonation. Having tried both, I’d say Chef’s onto something.

Best Excuse to Use Your Passport for Good Beer: Aces & Ales (3740 S. Nellis Blvd.) Okay, so a trip to Aces & Ales might not actually require papers, but admittedly it’s in a pretty obscure location in the shadow of Sam’s Town. Don’t let the environs intimidate you, because inside this nondescript gaming bar you’ll find one of the most eclectic beer tap collections in the Valley. And don’t despair if you can’t make the trip, because not only are they scouting a Westside location, they’re planning to roll out their own microbrews in 12-18 months.

Best Place to Find Contraband Beer: Freakin’ Frog (4700 S. Maryland Pkwy.) The Frog’s selection of bottled beers is world-renowned and said to be the largest west of the Mississippi. As a result, one joy of perusing the beer list is finding those lurkers you just can’t get anywhere else. Rarer beers that have been known to make guest appearances include Yeungling Lager, Dogfish Head 120-Minute IPA and Stone Vertical Epics dating back to 02/02/02, but you never know what owner Adam Carmer might have—it can be a greater gamble than those Super Bowl prop bets.

Best Excuse to Build a Wardrobe: Crown & Anchor (1350 E. Tropicana Ave.) At Crown & Anchor, the elder statesman of the draft beer scene with 30 taps since 1995, drinking all 30 as part of the Down the Hatch club gets you a T-shirt. Complete the feat up to seven more times and on each occasion you get a different piece of clothing, ranging from soccer jerseys to polo shirts—add your own pair of pants and no more Old Navy for you!

Best Place to Drink Good Beer Whilst Ogling Hot Girls in Dirndl: Hofbrauhaus (4510 Paradise Road) Who doesn’t like to ogle women in those bust-enhancing Bavarian waitress uniforms popular around Halloween? It’s even better when said hotties bring beer and shots to your table with a live oom-pah band in the background. Hofbrauhaus imports almost everything, including the beer, the chefs and the bands for the authentic German beer hall experience. If you hurry, you can still bask in some Oktoberfest jubilation through the end of the month, including the exceptional Oktoberfest lager.

Best Place to Score a Gateway Beer: Yard House (at Town Square) Even the worldliest of beer drinkers have to start somewhere. And for that beginner beer drinker, there is no more ideal spot to start your education. Though its noisy scene might not cry out relaxed beer-drinking experience, Yard House, with its enormous number of beers on tap, is the best way to get your Bud Light-drinking friends to try something like a Kona Longboard or Spaten Lager. Then it’s only a matter of time before they’ll be drinking Tripel Karmeliets like pros.

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