Season 2: Episode 4: One of the best kept secrets among Las Vegas locals is that the best places to go are OFF the Las Vegas Strip, including Money Plays, which is a great local “dive bar” to go for a phenomenal selection of craft beers. We met up with the guys from Money Plays, located right by the Palms hotel on Decatur and Flamingo to taste and review Sophie from Goose Island, Indian Wells Whiskey Amber and Ballast Point’s Victory at Sea, all of which were fantastic! We would suggest you come on down to Money Plays, play shuffleboard, video poker, have some great food, and ask them about their latest selection of craft beers.

Wow.. did we ever find a winner at this place or what? Yes, it is a “dive bar”, but let’s face it: some of the best bars where you have the most fun are dive bars. Besides, Stan the owner was amazing and Nick the marketing “nerd” was about as knowledgeable about craft beer as they come. Add Nicole behind the bar and you have the ingredients for a great time tasting a craft beer selection that you certainly won’t find at the neighboring Palms Resort Casino. “Like” their Facebook fan page here and stay informed on the latest happenings at Money Plays in Las Vegas.

And speaking of winners, the “Sophie” from Goose Island was a great way to start the show. Sure, Chicago has cold weather, biting winds, and the Cubs, but the Goose Island Brewery makes up for it all. We’ve already featured some of their beers on previous shows, and we already knew how great their beers are, so no one was surprised to see that the Sophie was an outstanding light ale. We tasted citrus, orange, and a nice vanilla finish to this easy drinking, light beer. This 6.5% alcohol beer is fermented with wild yeasts and aged in wine barrels with orange peels, which accounts for its unique taste. Again, a great tasting drinking beer that should start any session well.

Then we switched gears to the Indian Wells Whiskey Amber, and couldn’t say enough good things about this. From the color of the pour and the glass you drink it in to the amazingly smooth aftertaste, this is perhaps one of the most unique tasting craft beers you could possibly taste. This amber style lager is brewed using natural artesian spring water and aged in whiskey barrels for months. While the whiskey influence was faint, it was certainly there on our taste test on the show. The result is a beer that pairs well with BBQ and many of the foods you can order at Money Plays from their menu as well (Hint: go for the chicken wings!) And sip the whiskey ale all night long – since it’s not surprising that the alcohol level on this beer is 12%. It’ll definitely hit you!

The show finished strongly with Ballast Point’s “Victory at Sea”, which is their version of a vanilla imperial porter. Similar to Goose Island, we featured Ballast Point’s Calico Amber Ale on Season 1 of the “I Love Beer” Show, so we had an idea about how good the “Victory at Sea” would be. Never heard of “Victory at Sea”? Of course not – that’s why you watch the “I Love Beer” show! Let’s just say the “Victory at Sea” is a “winner” (okay, sorry about the pun). The 10% alcohol beer pours a foamy caramel head, with great retention while you immediately smell a coffee and sweet malty aroma with undertones of vanilla. The taste was just fantastic. The original coffee taste somehow morphs into the vanilla and malt, with just enough bitterness to create an amazing aftertaste for a beer that goes down so smoothly for a porter of such balance.

Stan and Nick certainly know their craft beers! As the old saying goes, “it’s hard to leave Money Plays”. We would definitely recommend that you make your way on out to visit them and taste their craft beer collection out for yourself. Tell them you watched the “I Love Beer” show!