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August 2005

The Pub and Brewery are located at the back, and I do mean back, of the casino in a small retail shop area. If you’re not specifically looking for it, or know where it is, there’s a pretty good chance you will miss it. Once you move through the relatively small Pub entrance, you come upon a fairly impressive facility. To the right lies the brewery itself, including its own bottling line for retail sales. To the left lies the cavernous bar and restaurant. During the day, the pub looks like your typical sports/brew-pub with big screen televisions everywhere tuned to ESPN, Fox Sportsnet and closed- circuit telecast of live horseracing (this is Las Vegas after all). At night, though, the tables are pushed back a bit, and the pub turns into a nightclub, complete with a stage for bands, a DJ booth and spotlights.

Monte Carlo tries to keep 6 to 7 brews on tap at all times, rotating through a selection of 11 brews on the brewmaster’s slate. The days we were there, the taps included their High Roller Red American Red Ale, Jackpot American Pale Ale, Las Vegas Lites light lager, Raspberry Wheat, Winner’s Wheat Hefe Weizen and Silver State Stout. All were good to very good beers. The Raspberry Wheat and the Silver State Stout were the best in my opinion, with the Raspberry Wheat going down well in the heat and the Stout just going down well. The High Roller red ale, the Jackpot American Pale Ale and the Las Vegas Lites clearly are intended to accommodate the taste of commercial beer drinkers, and tend to be less hoppy than you would like.

What the Monte Carlo’s beers may lack in taste in some cases, the casino tries to make up with volume. Along with the usual half-pints and pints, the Monte Carlo also serves beer in 1, 2 and 5-liter beer pillars, tall clear plastic tubes with spigots on the bottoms. In addition, they also sell beer in their own signature growlers, which are nice to have if you also have a refrigerator in your hotel room.

Tip No. 2 – To avoid the crowd that congregates along the sidewalk in front of the Bellagio for its nightly water- show, take the overhead tram that runs between the Monte Carlo and its next-door neighbor. The Monte Carlo’s tram stop is right next to the Brew Pub and the tram drops you off at the Bellagio’s backdoor, only a short-walk through the casino to enclosed viewing platforms.

Triple 7 Restaurant and Brewery at Main Street Station Casino – The Triple 7 Restaurant and Brewery was the last brewery visited, and, based on conversations with locals, is considered the best casino brewery in town. The brewery is part of the Main Street Station Casino, a somewhat eclectic hotel and casino that primarily serves locals, visitors from Southern California, and charters from Hawaii (the hotel’s owner,

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Boyd Gaming, got its start running junkets between the Islands and Las Vegas). The free-style nature of the hotel is seen in its mixing of a 19th century San Francisco theme, with a brew-pub serving both traditional “pub- grub” and sushi, and a men’s restroom that contains a large section of the Berlin Wall. Needless to say, the Main Street Station Casino is a must visit for this strange mix alone.

The Triple 7 Brewery serves as the primary made-to- order restaurant in the casino and sits directly next to the award-winning buffet. The food service is wide- ranging from traditional pub fare to sushi as mentioned above, to steaks, chops and seafood. The prices are about average for what you will pay for menu service in Las Vegas, but the quality and quantity served are certainly above average. Burgers come served on a platter that is completely filled with fries, while the fish- and-chips are as good as I’ve seen anywhere. I can’t personally vouch for the sushi, but based on the number of people enjoying it, I assume it’s much better than average.

While the food is above average, the Triple 7’s beers are the best I found in Las Vegas. The brewery only had 6 brews on tap during our visit, 5 regular beers plus a seasonal, but a conversation with the bartender indicated that the brewery has 14 active brews on its docket. The 5 regular brews consist of the High Roller Gold, Royal Red Lager, Marker Pale Ale, Blackchip Porter, and Doppelbock. The seasonal brews run through a mix of fruit beers – Apricot Amber Ale, Apricot Cream Ale, Black Cherry Stout, Mango Cream Ale and Raspberry Infusion – a Dunkleweizen, a Double IPA, and a Barley Wine named El Diablo, the seasonal on tap during our visit.

The two best of the regular beers seemed to be the Hibernator Dopplebock and the Black Chip Porter. The Hibernator Dopplebock had a nice mouthfeel with big smooth body and grainy maltiness, while the Porter had a wonderful chocolate coffee flavor. The other brews were all well within style and very good to excellent. If you only have the time to visit one casino brewery when you’re in town, this is the one.

Tip No. 3 – The Triple 7 Brewery had the best service hours of the three casino breweries, open 11:00 am to 7:00 am every day of the week. If you happen to visit during the 4-hours the pub is closed, the Main Street Station serves its in-house brews at the main casino bar. Even better, like almost every bar in Las Vegas, the Main Street Station’s bar features built-in video poker machines, at which patrons playing the machines receive complimentary drinks, including the in-house micros. A few well-placed quarters in the machines can buy you the wonderful Triple 7 beers for almost no cost at all,

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