Karaoke fave Ellis Island ups its beer game

Brewmaster Eddie Leal, at Ellis Island Brewery.
Photo: Christopher DeVargas

If you’re an avid beer drinker and haven’t reacquainted yourself with Ellis Island Casino & Brewery, you might want to change that. About a year ago, the family-owned brewery stealthily brought in an infusion of new talent to revamp its offerings in anticipation of opening Front Yard—a two-story outdoor dining, bar and entertainment venue fronting Koval Lane—later this year. Head brewer Eddie Leal, a Gordon Biersch and Steelhead Brewery alum with an infectious laugh, has been overhauling his menu to accompany the casino’s heralded karaoke scene.

Leal began with the brewery’s existing flagship quartet of beers, shifting the lager from an American adjunct—think Budweiser—to a more flavorful, fuller-bodied Helles, and the IPA to a more hop-forward West Coast-style rather than the less hoppy rendition more reminiscent of a pale ale. There’s also a rotation of dark beer, currently a coffee stout with an intense nose, brewed in conjunction with Henderson’s Bad Owl Coffee.

Reactions from regulars were mixed at first, but now, beer sales are up across the Valley’s Village Pub network, the only other place you can get Ellis Island beers outside the property. And when Front Yard opens, Leal will have tap handles for even more seasonals, including a couple of IPAs and a foray into bourbon and wine barrel-aging. But why wait until then? Leal’s beers are already on full pour at Ellis Island.

Ellis Island Brewery 4178 Koval Lane, 702-733-8901. 24/7.

Tags: Drink, brewery
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Jim Begley is an avid food lover who began writing about his Las Vegas dining adventures to defray his obscene ...

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