Comme Ça General Manager Anthony Esparza is something of a one-trick pony. But does he know a mighty fine trick. His compilation of Italian beers at his previous restaurant, MGM Grand’s Fiamma Trattoria & Bar, included some that could be found nowhere else in the States. And now with the unveiling of Comme Ça’s Tour de Bière program, he has managed the same feat with French brews—and arguably assembled the Strip’s best beer selection.
While Esparza began his conquest with French brews in mind, the resultant list is an eclectic trip through Europe, mirroring in some ways the kitchen’s wonderfully schizophrenic menu.
Some of the most remarkable beers on the menu come from Switzerland: Square Root 225 (for you non-engineers, it’s 15) is Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes’ 15th anniversary beer. It’s a slightly sour saison barrel-aged in L’Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien barrels. And as luck would have it, there is a cellared version of L’Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien on the menu as well, the 2011 vintage. This strong ale (11 percent ABV) contemplates life for a year in wine barrels, taking a bit of the edge off this robust sour. Try both for a side-by-side brethren comparison.
And don’t dare look past the Viking Blod mead from Denmark. This sweet, high-octane honey wine will make you strong like a Norseman; choose it over a dessert wine as you’re rounding out your evening.
Then there are the pours from France. Apropos for summer, the brasserie currently has a French cider on tap, Pays d’Auge Cidre from Christian Drouin. A very mellow cider, it’s just sweet without being cloying; even if you’re not a fan of sweeter American ciders, you’d be well served in giving this balanced gem a try.
But the prize jewels of the new lineup are the beers from Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or, the closest microbrewery to the Eiffel Tower. Comme Ça carries a trio of its beers: La Môme, Château Rouge and Charbonnière. The first is a standard saison—I prefer the Belgian Saison d’Erpe-Mere currently on tap—but the Château Rouge and Charbonnière are both unique in their own rights. The former is a spicy red ale that blends hibiscus and chiles native to the nearby Marché Dejean, and the result is hoppy with lingering heat. Even better is the Charbonnière, which displays hints of peat in an otherwise unobtrusive ale.
Each is a style uncommon to American beer drinkers, and Comme Ça is the only place west of New York City where you can drink them, short of toting them home from Paris yourself.
Esparza envisions a day when he can receive seasonals concurrent to their availability overseas—Parisians near the Eiffel Tower downing the same beers as his guests just across the street from the Strip’s own half-scale version. How Vegas of him, and how fortunate for us.
Comme Ça The Cosmopolitan, 702-698-7910. Monday-Thursday, 5-11 p.m.; Friday-Sunday, noon-11 p.m.