Las Vegas: Beer vs Booze Dinner at Public House at the Venetian

beer...mmm, beer

beer…mmm, beer

While I was in Las Vegas for Nightclub and Bar show, I was invited to attend the Public House‘s Pop-Up Showdown between beer and booze at the Venetian. The Public House cicerone Russell Gardner was up against San Diego’s Jeff Josenhan from the US Grant Hotel.


crispy duck roll

We tried the Jolly Pumpkin 3 AM bier and Asian Cowboy Sour (Death’s Door white whiskey, Cointreau, agave, Meyer lemon, purple basil, egg white) with the first dish, the crispy duck roll. With the slight sweet and sour flavor of the Asian-inspired dish, I thought both the beer and the cocktail went really well though being a booze nerd, I probably favored the cocktail more.

I really enjoyed the duck  and liked the piquant kumquat sauce.

Asian Cowboy

Asian Cowboy

Jeff was sitting across from me at the dinner and said he trained the bartenders on the cocktails earlier in the evening. I’ll have to visit him the next time I’m in San Diego.


octopus salad

Next up, we had the Grimbergen Blonde beer and the Venetian Arrangement (Sarpa di poli grappa moscato, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, Brachetto, Fee Brother’s lavender water, genea lemon, muddled rosemary). The cocktail came in an enormous glass and so it was a bit hard to see the beautiful lavender garnish at first. I liked the cocktail and wanted to know more about the grappa. I’ve learned lately how some don’t like grappa but I’ve liked it in cocktails lately.

The beer subtlety supported the tender octopus salad. It was so nice to get such big chunks of octopus.

Venetian Arrangement

Venetian Arrangement

Public House recently opened and is one of the few places in Vegas with a certified ciccerone — think beer sommelier. Craft beer lovers can find an interesting list. Ciccerone Russell had a good list put together for the dinner but switched out some beers for our dinner to even more coveted brews.

short ribs

Deschutes Black Butte Porter braised short ribs

Deschutes produces one of my favorite porters and I was glad to try the short ribs braised in Deschutes Black Butte. I half-expected this dish would be paired with the porter but that would be too easy. Russell went with Aect Urbock and we also had the Spirit Grocer’s Soiree (Templeton rye, smoked dark muscovado simple syrup, Fee Brother’s old fashioned bitters, Guinness foam).

Spirit Grocer's Soiree

Spirit Grocer’s Soiree

I’ve been easing into beer a bit more with beer cocktails so it was cool to try the Spirit Grocer’s Soiree with the beer foam. It was almost like a chocolate milkshake in flavor profile though a bit more boozy, of course. The bitterness of the Urbock was a good balance to the sweetness of the beef.

cheese course

cheese course

Sadly we had to leave before dessert but not before we tried the cheese course with a trio of mini cocktails and beer.

The Three Little Jigs

The Three Little Jigs

For the beer, we had the Tide and its Takers Tripel, Firestone DBA and Sculpin IPA. I usually don’t care for IPAs (too hoppy) but I liked the Sculpin. Actually, I liked all the beers.

For the cocktails collectively known as the “Three Little Jigs” though I thought they should be called “three little pigs,” we had:

Tito’s vodka, St. Germain, tangerine, champagne, cardamon

Beefeater gin, Graham’s tawny port, bruised parsley, lime, Luxardo maraschino

Pusser’s 15-year-old rum, sauternes, pineapple

I wish we could have stayed the for the chocolate tart. It looked like the beer was going to be crazy with Speakeasy Double Daddy going up against Smooth Criminal (St. George Breaking and Entering bourbon, creme de cacao, raspberry puree, cinnamon infused whipped cream).

I hope Public House does more of these dinners. It was a lot of fun to pit the craft beer nerd against the cocktail nerd.

Public House

at the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian

3355 Las Vegas Blvd S., Las Vegas, NV 89109  —  (702) 407-5310

© The Minty 2013