For Las Vegas, Nevada the combination of casino, brewery, and hotel seems like a natural and that's just what you'll find at Main Street Station. Located two miles off the north end of the Strip, a traditional sign outside proclaims "Casino, Entertainment & Dining", but the best attraction can be found by walking past the hotel lobby and the adjoining rooms of slot machines and entering the Triple 7 Brewpub. One's first impression is formed by the sight of the massive single room layout with seating for 220. Standing at the center of the room and raised slightly above the hardwood floor is a piano, surrounded by the dining area containing picnic tables and light-wood tables and padded dark-wood chairs. The real action can be found along the sides of the room. The brewpub's left side hosts one long wooden bar featuring four 5-tap brass towers and seven very large TVs, three at eye level and four hanging overhead. The right side begins with a medium-sized bar that connects to a full sushi bar in front of a two-story glass wall that encloses the brewhouse, which is lit like a stage production by overhead colored track lights. At the back of the room a row of five illuminated copper-clad stainless steel serving tanks stands perched on a second floor landing, glass-walled and visible throughout the brewpub. Nestled in the corner is the mash/lauter tun, topped by a grist hydrator and hot liquor tank. Nearby, the brew-kettle of the 7 bbl Pub Brewing system feeds two 7 bbl and three 14 bbl fermenters. Behind the scenes lie the grain silo and mill room. Mostly fixed plumbing connects all vessels and kegging is done just to supply the casino bar and handle any overflow from the serving tanks.
Brewmaster Eddie Kuehne, pronounced "Keene", comes to Las Vegas via years of homebrewing, a stint brewing at Montana Brewing in Billings, and graduating from the Master Brewers program at UC Davis. At Triple 7 he has undertaken the challenge of brewing both lager and ale recipes by using two separate strains of yeast. "City water is too hard so we use reverse osmosis then blend with untreated tap water" say Kuehne. Most recipes get pelletized hops and Great Western malts. All beers get coarse filtering by a diatomaceous earth (DE) filter. At present, brew days last a grueling 12 hours. Spent grains see recycling via the feed lot of a local farmer.
The High Roller Gold is a clear straw color with a light body, even flavor balance and a subtle hop presence in the flavor and finish. The Royal Red is a clear dark amber and its medium body is accompanied by a dry malty flavor and crisp finish. The Marker Pale Ale has a clear amber color along with long-lasting lace, a very smooth mouthfeel, medium body, and nice hop-over-malt flavor and aftertaste. The Blackchip Porter is nearly opaque, topped by a thick head, it produces a creamy mouthfeel from its full body and smooth chocolatey flavor. The initial special is the Honey Wheat, a hazy straw color, the honey-sweet flavor is matched with a full body and clean finish. On the day following the grand opening all styles seemed to be moving well. The Brewmaster's Special for February, 1998 is a Raspberry Wheat. Reddish amber in color, the plentiful carbonation brings forth a raspberry aroma that leads into the sweet raspberry flavor where the light body makes for a refreshing brew that finishes on the dry and tart side.
The menu offers tasty food at reasonable prices. Categories include Wings & Things, Burgers ($5), Sushi Bar, Raw Bar, Soup and Salad, Favorites (Chicken, BBQ Shrimp, BBQ Ribs, and Steak), Sandwiches, Pizza, and Desserts. For $3.95 a wooden holder containing five 5 oz glasses is available to sample the wares. Pints are $2.25, 23 oz glasses $3.25, and half yards are coming soon. Unappreciative beer drinkers can even request American light and N/A bottled brands. Although there is no non-smoking area, this is Las Vegas remember, the good ventilation and 30 foot ceiling help draw off even secondhand cigar smoke. The volume of the CD sound system allows for conversation as well as viewing the plentiful large TVs springing from the ceiling above. A large-screen TV angled toward its own "lounge" area offers a relaxed setting for watching football by the mostly male weekend crowd. For new construction, it seems odd to have the main restroom out by the hotel lobby and not wheelchair accessible.
Currently the three to four-batch weekly brew schedule and the two to four week cycle times will allow for a first year production goal of 3000 bbl, with rotating specials expected to include a wheat, raspberry, nut brown, black cherry, and Scottish. In spite of its short history since opening November 22, 1996, all the beers were very clean yet flavorful and make the Triple 7 Brewpub worth the journey from the nearby neon neighborhood.
Changes in 1998 include Brewsday Tuesday, a "no cover" live performance of Blues, Boogie-Woogie and Rockabilly that runs 8 pm to Midnight. A Late Night Favorite menu is available from 1 to 11 am and includes Steak Sandwich ($2.99), Chicken Sandwich ($3.25), Chef Salad ($4.45), and Burger & Beer ($4). Breakfast specials are Ham/Bacon & Eggs ($2.99), Steak & Eggs ($3.49), and Omelets $3+. Still a comfortable place to enjoy good beers in a realized environment, be prepared to endure an audible assault whenever a UNLV basketball game is broadcast on television. Check out their BrewPub Club where a punched card is redeemable for BrewPub Club prizes.
Triple 7 Brewpub
Main Street Station
200 North Main street
Las Vegas, Nevada 89125-7625
Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - November, 1996 & February, 1998
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