Desert Companion

Brew U


Dave Forrest, cofounder of CraftHaus, with  a glass of UNLV’s signature brew
Photo: Lourdes Trimidal

Artisan beer-maker CraftHaus pours some love on the scarlet and gray

Beer and sporting events make such good bedfellows that it seems a fan can hardly have one without the other. Yet for too long, UNLV athletics enthusiasts have gazed forlornly north to Reno and its Wolf Pack Ale, a craft beer created specially for UNR by Reno-based beer maker The Brewer’s Cabinet. Now, courtesy of Southern Nevada mainstay CraftHaus Brewery, UNLV fans have a beverage of their own: Rebel Spirit Golden Ale.

This Ale’s classic, crisp, airy taste belies its unique mission in the commercial beer industry. “We want to give back,” says CraftHaus owner Dave Forrest, who, with his wife, Wyndee, founded the brewery eight years ago. “Now more than ever,” Dave says, “people really want to spend their money where they know it’s doing good in the community.”

During a post-COVID lockdown vacation in Reno, he and Wyndee were introduced to Wolf Pack Ale, and inspiration struck about how they could give back to their own local community when they returned to Vegas. “What we do is beer, so we thought, ‘Why don’t we make a beer for UNLV?’” Dave reminisces about the decision to embark on the yearlong creation process for Rebel Spirit. “We wanted a beer that would transcend a lot of different ideas, generations, and palates,” Dave says, “very approachable, very drinkable,” like the Rebel community itself.

Support comes from

With development complete, the Forrests decided to pledge a portion of the Ale’s proceeds to UNLV, along with opening their brewery to UNLV undergrads from their beloved William F. Harrah College of Hospitality as a hands-on lab for the brewers of the future. The Forrests’ entire journey, from UNLV grads in 2004 to introducing Rebel Spirit in 2022, can be summed in three words: “It’s full circle!” Dave laughs.

While UNR’s Wolf Pack Ale is still going strong, there is no sign that its UNLV counterpart is slowing down either — quite the opposite, actually, as Rebel Spirit Ale is expanding its retail and stadium reach across the valley. Most importantly for UNLV athletics fans, however, Rebel Spirit Golden Ale is currently offered at all Thomas & Mack and Allegiant Stadium sporting events. Brew Rebels, brew! Φ

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