Beer tastings become the toast of Downtown Container Park

The third and final installment of Motley Brews’ Open Container summer beer tasting series is scheduled for 9 to 11:30 p.m. Aug. 22 at the Downtown Container Park, 707 Fremont St., and organizers are hoping locals will check out the shopping venue and the wide variety of craft brews.

“It’s been a big success,” said Motley Brews event coordinator Lee Flint. “It’s on the fourth Friday of each month, and we cap out at about 500 (participants), which we’ve had both times. It’s a chance to get out, meet new people and try out a lot of different beer.”

Motley Brews organizes beer-centric events, and it was in April, at its largest annual event, the Great Vegas Festival of Beer, that the Downtown Container Park decided to reach out to organizers. Motley Brews was tasked with creating a similar but scaled down event to draw people to the park.

Open Container takes place in a fenced-off section of the grassy park. For $20, visitors receive an armband that provides admission and access to booths, which offer samples of three to six beers and other brewed beverages. A play list of popular music is periodically punctuated with a gong, followed by a short comedy clip from a film.

“That was Motley Brews’ idea,” said Doug McPhail, director of retail operations for the Downtown Container Park. “It’s been quite the thing to see. When the gong sounds, everyone turns to the screen because they learn pretty quickly that something funny is going to happen.”

McPhail has been pleased with the turnout and the success of the event. Despite the fact that everyone is trying lots of beer, organizers have had no trouble with anyone getting unruly. McPhail attributes that to the nature of the event, which encourages critical taste analysis and discussion.

“There’s a whole sense of exploration that people get,” he said. “It’s not just coming out and meeting new people, which is so important, but trying new things — in this case, beers.”

Each event has had a different selection of beer. In July, the event focused on locally brewed beers. In August, organizers are hoping to bring in more local brewers that couldn’t be a part of the previous event and add regional and national craft beers to the mix.

The park is looking to conduct similar events after this final Open Container event.

“It might not be beer, but it may be,” McPhail said. “It’s been a well-curated event, and we’re looking into what else we might bring in. It may involve other drinks, art, food, music or a mix of several of those.”

No similar event is scheduled at the Downtown Container Park for September’s fourth Friday as the date is too close to the Downtown Brew FestivalMotley Brews has planned from 6 to 10 p.m. Sept. 20 at the Clark County Government Center Amphitheater, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway.

“We may hold off on September and push on for an October event,” McPhail said. “It will probably be something with food, beer and music.”

The Open Container event is scheduled from 9 to 11:30 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call 855-235-2867.

Contact East Valley View reporter F. Andrew Taylor at or 702-380-4532.

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