I was a little worried that a holiday weekend might mean Saturday night at The Brew Brothers in the Eldorado would be crowded, so I popped in before dinner crowds or later partiers filled the place. Fortunately, I timed it right, found nearby street parking and waltzed through the mostly empty brewpub to a spot at the bar.
The Brew Brothers is unique in local brewing—the first brewery in a casino, and one of the oldest in Nevada. I couldn’t confirm, but the skywalk location might make it the only microbrewery suspended over a city street. The state of craft brewing was still nascent in the mid-90s when it opened, not long after Great Basin Brewing Co., but I’ve always chuckled at the claim to fame used in their marketing for years now, that The Brew Brothers was named “Best Brewpub in America” by Nightclub & Bar Magazine. But back in 1999 there was a lot less competition for that title.
Getting my bearings, I admired the large copper-jacketed brewing tanks behind glass walls, typical brewery eye candy. Matching ductwork overhead seems to cast a glow throughout the room. I seem to remember there being a kind of fake pipeline of beer running through here, but I didn’t see it and wondered if I just made it up.
My bartender brought a menu, and I was a little disappointed that the beer selection didn’t appear any more progressive than what I consider the basic brewpub spectrum—something blonde, something amber, something dark, something with hops. Other than having both a pale ale and an IPA, the five beers listed hit the formula precisely. I asked if I could get a flight to taste each of them, and she hustled away to fill my little glasses. While waiting, I noticed the tap stations had more than five draft handles. I thought I had ordered everything, but the bartender surprised me with eight tasters. As she described the few that weren’t on the menu, I was pleased to find that The Brew Brothers has somewhat kept up with the times. A Blood Orange IPA and Mosaic—one of my favorite modern hops—IPA would fit right in at any newer craft brewery du jour, and they were both well-made, tasty beers. The remaining samples, however, were fairly mediocre, unremarkable beers. The stout stood out slightly as one of the highlights. I know they have brewed award-winning beers—confirmed by the medals displayed on the wall. I just assume the time and expense of regularly making beers to impress geeks like me isn’t cost effective for a clientele that is accustomed to cheap—or free—slot machine beer or is here for food or entertainment as much as for beer.
Honestly, though, beer is really only one slice of The Brew Brothers pie. Of course there are Ferrari-Carano wines—and others—as well as a very complete bar in all respects. The food is an appealing contemporary brewpub menu to complement your drinks. The final part of The Brew Brothers hat trick is live entertainment, either bands or DJs nightly. While it was too early for such shenanigans when I visited, the music and dancing is a draw here for visitors and locals.
As I pondered these three elements—beer, food, and entertainment—as a sort of three-legged stool supporting a successful brewpub, I laughed at my own ignorance of The Brew Brothers logo staring at me from the wall with the motto emblazoned across—“Meals, Music, and Microbrews.” I guess I figured it out.