- Barley's Brew School
- 4500 E. Sunset Road, 458-2739.
“The more you drink, the more interesting I am,” jokes Barley’s brewmaster Jeffrey “Bubba” Amas, before taking the Weekly crew to Brew School. It’s part of Barley’s Casino and Brew Pub’s attempt to educate the public about beer making—while giving away a few free samples in the process.
Barley’s has been a locals mainstay since 1996 and is the oldest operating brewpub in the Valley. If you’ve never been, Brew School is an excellent place to start.
Groups of up to 15 can reserve the “classroom”—a week in advance is recommended—to learn about both the history of beer (Did you know the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock because they ran out of beer?) and how it’s made (very carefully). Most of the free class takes place in the brewing facility itself, where Amas breaks down the basics and shows you around, explaining the precision that goes into four signature Barley’s beers: Red Rock, an Oktoberfest lager; Blue Diamond, a German Helles-style lager; Black Mountain, an unfiltered dark lager; and Boulder Gold, a hefeweizen.
Then come the free samples, along with advice from Amas on what to look for as you drink—head quality, lacing on the glass, what your nose might detect (bananas in the hef, for example). For our class, Amas also pours some of his India Pale Ale, intentionally made less hoppy so as not to intimidate Barley’s IPA newbies. He intends a much hoppier version in the future, but his “light” IPA is just fine, with no hops discernible at the front, but a satisfying finish at the back.
Even after the tour ends, Amas is in full teaching mode, joining us for a drink and talking about his favorite beers and breweries and how excited he is for the local brewing scene going forward. Barley’s is a worthwhile part of that scene. Class dismissed.