Interview by Steph Grimes 1/25/17

Chris Jacobs isn’t your stereotypical small-town kid in a big city, but he doesn’t hesitate to credit his upbringing in secluded Northern California for his approach to art, beer and life.

Now the founder of Beer Zombies, a blog for craft beer lovers, Jacobs never imagined how his first passions — music and street art — could have led him to a love of beer and an enthusiasm for intertwining all three.

The relationship isn’t obvious until you hear Jacobs speak of it, starting with the punk scene in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

“It was very do-it-yourself. If it was what you wanted to do, you figured out a way to do it,” he told me on a sunny afternoon at Atomic Liquors. “It’s the same with street art, and when it comes to beer, I feel like it’s the same way. You do it because you’re super passionate about it.”

Jacobs’ passion for music started in the late ‘80s, when he was drawn to punk rock because of its participants’ guerrilla approach to success.

“It was such an awesome community of people just making things happen for themselves,” he said.

It was a throwback to when he first got involved in street art, around age 12. Always an artistic child, he was drawn to the idea of having his art in public where people could see it without it being forced down their throats.

“You get older, but you never really lose that kind of rebel thought train,” he said. “It just shows itself in different parts of your life.”

Jacobs moved from Redding, Calif., to Las Vegas in ‘95 and started getting heavily involved in street art here in the early 2000s, focusing on sticker art. One of his most successful projects was one any downtown Las Vegan would recognize: the sticker wall outside of Commonwealth at 6th and Fremont streets.

At the time, he had an art blog called “We are Zombies,” and he issued a call for stickers from around the world. He ended up with “like 25,000,” he said. It was enough that he’s redone the wall at least twice since Commonwealth opened in 2012, all with the leftover stickers from his initial push. It was a tribute to the unifying power of art, whatever form it takes.

“I thought it would be really cool to have this wall where people from all around the world had their stickers,” Jacobs said. “I didn’t want it to be just about me.”

That’s Jacobs’ approach to Beer Zombies, too. It’s not about him — it’s about the beer. That’s why you’ll rarely see him in any of the photos he posts, just like you won’t find his signature on any of his artwork. He likes the anonymity of creating something he’s passionate about and releasing it to the world without a face behind it.

You might say Jacobs was destined to be a beer lover, if you believe in such a thing. Growing up less than an hour from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., based in Chico, Calif., gave him exposure to craft beer long before the scene exploded into the public eye.

His dad worked in construction, and took him along for the ride sometimes. Beer was a normal breakfast food at construction sites, and he remembers how cool he thought the men there were.

“Dad had his daytime beer, PBR, and his nighttime beer, Sierra Nevada,” he said. “I always thought that’s what you’re supposed to do: Grow up and drink cool beer.”

So that’s what he did. Next month will make 19 years behind the bar for Jacobs, currently a bartender at Blue Ribbon Sushi at the Cosmopolitan. Beer Zombies was a natural outgrowth of his bartending: As he talked to people about beer, he started getting requests for photos and reviews, so he decided to go for it.

“I started on a Monday and by the end of the week I had around 1,000 followers, he said. “If I hadn’t seen a reaction, though, I probably would’ve just done it for myself and not worried about trying to grow it”

Grow, it did, expanding rapidly from a few beer photos and reviews to include collaborations, art and merchandise, as well. And next month, to celebrate Beer Zombies third anniversary, he’s coordinated with Atomic Liquors to put on a craft beer festival focusing on out-of-market breweries.

“I never started out saying, ‘Hey, let’s do a beer festival,” he said. “It was during (Atomic’s) Sour Saturday and I wanted to have a party, but that little idea evolved into hopefully 500 people here enjoying beers.

“That little idea” sprang from a thousand other little ideas throughout Jacobs’ life that have turned into something bigger, from punk rock to street art to craft beer. He’s never sure where his ideas are going to lead him, but says making sure he’s passionate about everything he works on is where his success comes from.

“Being part of something I love is what really makes me happy,” he said. “You don’t get to buy into this. Either you’re a part of it because you want to be, or you’re not.”

LV Review-Journal Interview 1/24/2017

Vegas Voices is a weekly question-and-answer series featuring notable Las Vegans.

Chris Jacobs is a longtime local bartender and creator of the Beer Zombies blog, which has reviews of beers (he rated Tombstone IPA from Tombstone Brewing of Arizona 4½ out of 5 zombie heads), a list of beers he’s trying to find, news from the craft-beer world and links to informational material such as The Roaming Pint’s Craft Beer Lovers’ Gift Guide.

Jacobs also has a line of Beer Zombies merchandise, including beard oil, glassware and T-shirts, and a Go Keg Flex growler he took on a hike to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

He also incorporates the Beer Zombies logo into his art, which includes murals in Las Vegas and elsewhere.

As for the name, it sort of evolved. “I’m a huge zombies fan, growing up in the genre of ’80s and ’90s B movies,” Jacobs said. When he started doing large-scale murals, he used the name We Are Zombies; Beer Zombies grew out of that.

A native of Redding, California, he moved to Las Vegas in the mid-’90s and has been a bartender at Blue Ribbon Sushi at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas since the resort opened in late 2010.

Review-Journal: How did you get interested in craft beer?

Chris Jacobs: I grew up in Northern California about 45 minutes away from the Sierra Nevada brewery, so a lot of industry and support and our local economy was just based on people who worked there. It’s something that’s been in my life for a long time.

RJ: What is the current state of the craft-beer scene in Las Vegas?

Jacobs: I’ve lived here since ’95 and for a long time it was a no-man’s land as far as that was concerned. The last few years we’re in this really exciting time, with different styles, and out-of-state breweries wanting to be here. Next month will be 20 years behind the bar for me. For the first 15 years, there weren’t craft-beer options. People who have a passion are getting to enjoy what other parts of the United States have for a long time.

RJ: How do you think Beer Zombies might further that?

Jacobs: I really try to use it as a catalyst to bring together people within the beer community. Vegas, for being 2 million people, is kind of spread out and small-townish. There wasn’t anybody who was writing about beer and seeking out beer and trying to do festivals. That’s my contribution to the beer scene.

RJ: What sort of large-scale art projects have you done?

Jacobs: I just came back from Honolulu, at Ravish, which used to be Morimoto. Before that, I was in San Francisco for a Pizza Rock. In Las Vegas I’ve done Pizza Rock Green Valley Ranch, Pizza Rock downtown, Banger Brewing and Park on Fremont. I actually got to do a live art piece at Alesmith in San Diego. They wanted me to be part of the community that was going on while people were drinking. It was fun, very interactive. I started when they opened and worked throughout the day.

RJ: Tell us about your beer glassware, etc.

Jacobs: I have merch, which is glassware, T-shirts, hats, bottle openers — all craft-beer oriented with the Beer Zombies logo on it (and available at Khoury’s Fine Wine & Spirits at 9915 S. Eastern Ave., Top Shelf Wine & Spirits at 6415 S. Fort Apache Road and Liquor Lineup, 6462 Losee Road, North Las Vegas).

RJ: What do you have in mind for the future?

Jacobs: Right now I have a big festival coming up, which is downtown at Atomic Feb. 18. At that festival I’ll have two Beer Zombies collaboration beers that we’re working on (with Beer Zombies branding, made in cooperation with King’s Brewing in Rancho Cucamonga, California, and Brujos Brewing in Whittier, California). I feel like Vegas-based people like to see you prove yourself. My next step, hopefully, is to do a really cool collaboration with a local brewery.

Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at Hrinella@reviewjournal.com. Find more of her stories at http://www.reviewjournal.com, and follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

Getting to know Chris JacobsReview-Journal: Place you always take visitors?

Chris Jacobs: Downtown Las Vegas

R-J: Favorite indulgence?

Jacobs: Probably doughnuts; doughnuts and beer are my passion and my weakness. I’m a big fan of Donut Bar right now.

R-J: Pets or favorite animals?

Jacobs: No pets. I’m a pretty big lover of large animals like rhinoceroses and elephants and actually use them a lot in my artwork.

R-J: Currently obsessed with?

Jacobs: Beer. That’s kind of what I do with life.

Las Vegas Weekly 2018 – Beer Ambassador

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[BEST OF VEGAS 2018]

BEST BEER AMBASSADOR: BEER ZOMBIES’ CHRIS JACOBS

Whatever Valley beer event you attend, odds are good the burly, bearded Jacobs will be there, sharing knowledge and pours. You’ve probably attended some of his own events, from tap takeovers to a beer festival jointly hosted with Atomic Liquors. beer-zombies.com

Beer Zombies – Pub 365, Friday the 13th event.

Wow! what a turn out last night, thank you Las Vegas for showing support. Absolutely nothing better than amazing humans coming together to share our love for craft beer and good times. In case you missed it i’ll include the original details of the event. Once again huge thank to to Daniel Castro for the amazing shots check his Instagram out @danielcastrophoto

July, Friday the 13th at Pub 365 inside the Tuscany Suites & Casino we will invade and take over the 20 brand new craft beer dedicated draft lines. 10 lines will be hand picked and curated by @beerzombies and 10 lines by @beeralien with some amazing gems and out of market beers. $20 at the door gets you a tasting glass, 5 pour coins, raffle tickets, one voting coin & entrance to the bottle share. Drink your beers of choice and cast your voting coin to determine who invaded Pub 365 the best, Zombies or Aliens.

Join in on July’s Beer Zombies Bottle Share that night as well! I’ll be pulling out some awesome beer to share. .

Here’s the Beer Zombies draft list, be sure to get that coin and vote for us!
1. @prairieales – Prairie Paradise
2. @prairieales – Blueberry Boyfriend
3. @kingsbrewingco – Flip The Script
4. @8bitbrewingcompany – I Love It When You Call Me Big Hoppa
5. @purebrewing – Murklands
6. @purebrewing – Keep Amurka Dank
7. @localcraftbeer – Synthetic Laser Eels
8. @ablebakerbrewing – Double Barrel Chris Kael Impale’d Ale
9. @imbibreno – Black Raspberry Nevada Weisse
10. @uplandbrewco – Peach .

Beer Zombies Mural – Le Thai

Love doing these types of murals, 10 x 12 wall in the new Le Thai restaurant here in Las Vegas. Had pretty much complete creative control on this one with the instructions to make it colorful, fun and reflect Taiwan.

Podcast Interview with The 16oz Canvas May-2018

 

16ozCanvas

 

This one was a blast, met up with AJ Keirans host of The 16oz Canvas for a live in person podcast interview. Sat down with him in Las Vegas inside Tacos & Beer for a few beers, to admire some art and a lot of laughs! Click the link to give it a listen. Cheers

The 16oz Canvas Podcast Interview

Podcast Interview – Las Vegas Money Resources. April-2018

Moneyesources

Sat down with Travis of Las Vegas Money Resources for a chat about Beer Zombies, where it started & where its going. Click the link to give it a listen. Cheers!

Las Vegas Money Resources Podcast Link

Beer Zombies – Steal The Glass night at Eureka!

5/16/18

The first Steal The Glass night at Eureka! was a huge success! In case you missed out here’s how it worked, order a BZ x LCB collab beer Hazy-E and it gets poured into a proper BZ glass for you to keep. Really fun night with friends, beer, food & hockey. Jeremy Warren Brewmaster for Revision stopped by to chat along with the Breakthru Beverage Craft beer team. Thanks everyone for making it another successful event. BIg thanks to Daniel Castro for coming through with some great pictures of the night.

 

Tacos & Beer Zombies – Beer Dinner

Tacos & Beer with Beer Zombies came together for an amazing night of food, beer and friends for the first collaborative works of ” Tacos & Beer Zombies”!

Together with Chef/Owner John Simmons we worked a delicious vegan dinner and beer pairings courses were:

Welcome Course
Montucky Cold Snack, American Lager 3.9% ABV.
Homemade chips and Guacamole with pomegranate and toasted spiced pumpkin seeds topping.
2
1st Course
Pure Project, Keep Amurika Dank Murky IPA 6.9% ABV
Fideo Seco a los 3 chiles, dry pasta with Ancho, Guajillo & Chipotle peppers.

2nd Course
MARZ Community , Diliner Weiss, Berliner Weisse with dill 4.0% ABV.
Heart of Palm, Carrot, Radish & Jicama Ceviche.

3rd Course
8 Bit Brewing, Mosaic Vice Hazy DIPA 8% ABV
Pink tortilla authentic Street Taco.

4th Course
Gueuzerie Tilquin , Gueuze Tilquin (DRAFT) , Gueuze 4.8% ABV.
Wild Mushroom tamal with red mole.

5th Course
Prairie Artisan Ales, Prairie Paradise (DRAFT) 11.5% ABV.
Churros with coconut custard and salted caramel dipping sauces

 

Thank you everyone that came out, looking forward to the next beer dinner stay tuned!

 

Beer Zombies Festival – Brewery List

 

GET YOUR TICKETS HERE:

Indie Rock Vol. 4 Flyer

Here it is! The official brewery list for BEER ZOMBIES FEST!

Before I tag all the breweries wanted to go over this years tickets:

VIP $75: 12 pm – 5 pm – hour early entry, limited edition Beer Zombies full size glass, takeaway Beer Zombies can collaboration beer, access to rare beers in the VIP area, entrance to “The Day After Share” and a chance to win bombers exclusive only to VIP ticket holders.

GA + $55: 1 pm – 5 pm – entrance to Beer Zombies Festival with access to unlimited craft beer pours, and entrance to “The Day After Share”

GA $45: 1 pm – 5 pm – entrance to Beer Zombies Festival with access to unlimited craft beer pours.

Tickets can be purchased at WWW.ATOMICCITYBREWS.COM

Now here is the participating brewery list!
Ale Apothecary
Almanac
Beachwood
Beachwood Blendery
Black Market
Black Project
Boneyard
Burgeon
Burley Oak
Cantillon
3 Fonteinen
Carolina Bauernhaus
College Street
Dionysus
Dewey
Evil Twin
Finback
Firestone Walker
Jester King
King’s
LCB
Marble
Marz
Mikkeller
Mikkeller SD
Modern Times
Moksa
Novo Brazil
Knee Deep
Omnipollo
Paradox
Pfriem
Pizza Port
Prairie
Pure Project
Saugatuck
Sour Cellars
Stillwater
Stone
Tilquin
Toolbox
Local Breweries:
Able Baker
Banger
Big Dogs
Crafthaus
Joseph James