The Hoover Dam of Beers: Boulder City Brewing
Boulder Dam Brewing Company is located in, conveniently enough, Boulder City, Nevada, just down the road from Las Vegas. It’s a small town with a game-changing, almost-forgotten past: in the 1930s, it was the company town housing the men who built nearby Boulder Dam, better known as the Hoover Dam. Boulder City is a thriving little town, still home to many descendants of dam workers who take great pride in their history. And now take great pride in their hometown brewery, Boulder Dam Brewing Company.
It’s a family business, started in 2007 when Todd Cook started the company after becoming addicted to brewing. A gifted home-brew kit, and a lifelong desire to brew, led him to his set up his dream in Boulder City. He and his family created Nevada’s only true beer garden, providing people a place to come together, drink local beers, listen to local music, and soak up the legacy of the dam that put this town on the map.
So what’re these Boulderians drinking? Cook cleverly names his beers after job titles on the Hoover Dam construction site, suiting them to the flavors of the beer. He offers the Powder Monkey Pilsner, named for the explosives experts carving out tunnels, made of three hops for a flavorful, but not filling option. The High Scaler Pale Ale is, oh boy, quite hoppy and “bold,” much like the daredevils it’s named for: high scalers sat on small swings lowered over the canyon edge to chip away at the rock thousands of feet above the ground. Hell’s Hole Hefeweizen is named after a particularly hot and inhospitable area where workers lived, but in contrast, this hefe is delightful. It’s fruitiness is thanks to a strain of Bavarian yeast Cook chose. IPA more your style? Try the Dam Buster, which Boulder Brewing admits is not for your average beer drinker. They use around two pounds of hops per barrel of Dam Buster IPA. Two. Pounds. Their last offering is a stout named Chilly Jilly’s Espresso Stout, which you can probably guess has a coffee twinge to it. It’s thick and decadent, using four types of malt and fresh espresso shots from down the road at Chilly Jilly’s cafe. Can’t pick? Order the Six-Shooter for $10 and try all the current options.
Their pub also mix up some blends, even offering up a “Rattlesnake Bite,” a mix of hard cider and the Powder Monkey Pilsner. In keeping with the snake theme, they also have the “Irish Rattler,” which is hard cider mixed with Oaked Black Canyon Stout, when available. But their real gift to beer drinkers? The “Golden Cream:” their Oaked Black Canyon Stout topped with vanilla ice cream. It’s so wrong and so, so right.
For a dam(n) near perfect day, take a tour of Hoover Dam, then pop into Boulder Dam Brewing’s pub and drink up the delicious history.