At the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip lies the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino Pub & Brewery. Massive steps lead from the strip into the main casino area where a maze of hallways and slot machines hides the actual brewpub. Once located, the main entrance guards access to the 100 foot-long serpentine bar and surrounding dining area. At the right side of the room the 15 bbl Pub Brewing copper serving/conditioning tanks are clearly visible behind the long stone and brass bar. Farther back was the copper brewhouse with the grain hopper clearly visible above the mash tun. a back row of 15 and 30 bbl unitanks was adjacent to a full kegging line. So you won't forget that you're in Las Vegas, each bar stool has in front of it an electronic video poker game embedded into the bar. The brass tap towers featured seven taps with each handle fashioned to resemble a hand tool. Sports fanatics will find a dozen overhead TVs with their sound blasting away. A full liquor selection is available and cigar smoking is allowed. Fortunately, the negative side-effects of second-hand smoke are mitigated by the very high ceilings so the flavor of both the food and beer could be enjoyed. A freight elevator leads to the second floor with another bar and overflow lounge area. From the large first floor dining area the view was reminiscent of the movie Brazil, with multiple layers of steel and copper ducting hanging from the 30 foot ceiling. Gray brick walls made for a well-lit atmosphere and glass-enclosed storage tanks line one side of the expansive room, running from the main entrance to the small stage.
The Jackpot Pale Ale was a clear amber color with a light hop aroma, assertive hop flavor, and smooth underlying malty sweetness. The Winner's Wheat was an opaque straw color with no aroma, no tartness, no clove, a medium body, nice mouthfeel, slightly tangy flavor, and very clean finish. The High Roller Red had a ruby color, malty color, flavor starting malty dry, turning hoppy, and finishing on a crisp hoppy note. Overall, very nice! The Silver State Stout was nearly opaque with a dry long-lasting creamy head, almost burnt/acrid flavor, medium body, and sharp dry aftertaste. The Las Vegas Lites was a hazy very light straw color, well-carbonated with fine bubbles, no aroma but pronounced hop presence in the flavor and finish for such a light body. The Brewers special was the Old Leaf Maple, hazy gold in color, it had a light head, low carbonation, but an intensely rich maple aroma. Light-bodied, the sweet maple flavor combined with other flavor components such as butterscotch and almond to finish with a nice dry complexity.
The Brewmaster Special for February, 1998 was a Pommegranite Wheat. Hazy pink in color, a light fruity aroma started the taste experience that continued with a tangy mouthfeel, medium body, slight tartness, and a fruitiness that dominated but did not overpower the wheat flavor.
Newly opened in 1996, Monte Carlo seems to represent the trend in new Las Vegas of large hotel/casino corporations making seven-figure investments in top-of-the-line brewing systems on a large scale. So far the approach seems to be working. The 90/10 ratio of guys to women was most likely due to the showing of Monday night football on the numerous TVs. Prices are reasonable: $2.95 for 16oz, $3.50 for 23oz, $3.75 for 25oz fractional yard, $5.00 for a five glass sampler, and $9.50 for a pitcher. The nightly live music offers a welcome break from the sounds of acres of slot machines. Even the food got uncommon attention and the fare included Appetizers, Salads, Sandwiches, Pizzas, Pastas, and Desserts. Don't let the dinner waiting line discourage you from paying the bar a visit. Gamblers can even take their beer back to the casino area, in plastic cups! Tourists can walk away with souvenirs such as T-shirts ($14.95 - $17.95), Leather Jackets ($59.95 - $299.95), or cigars ($7 - $15). If the success here breeds more imitators, beer appreciating visitors should only benefit.
Monte Carlo Resort & Casino Pub & Brewery
3770 Las Vegas Blvd. So.
Las Vegas, Nevada 89104
Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - November, 1996 & February, 1998
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