Summer is pretty much over, which means it’s time to go back to school – Beer School that is – at Gene McCarthy’s/Old First Ward Brewing. Yes, you read that right – school has never been this cool before.

Beer School is your chance to earn a degree in beer studies. It’s a 10 month course taught by the brewing team at OFW Brewing, which will allow you to further explore the wonderful world of fresh, locally crafted artisanal beer.

Beer School will start this September and happen on the third Wednesday of each month, from 7-9pm (see the entire course schedule below). Each student will be treated to a course on beer styles – history, flavors and character – to be sampled as well as studied. At the end of the course, students will have an opportunity to earn a diploma that will not only be available for display along with your many other degrees, but will also give you a discount on Gene McCarthy’s Annual Mug Club mug.

During Beer School you will study local, national and international examples of beer styles. Local brewers will be invited to class when they brew a beer that is in style with the curriculum, so come and hear brewers from your local favorite breweries talk about their beers.

The cost per evening/class is $25 and those wanting to sign up for the all ten courses will receive a $50 discount by paying $200 before August 25 (class sizes limited to 40 students). And for your money, you will receive your first pint of OFW beer free, as well as anywhere from a half dozen to ten samples of a singular beer style, each and every class. The cost also covers a beer/food pairing buffet.

Beer School dates:

Wednesday, September 20 – Wheat Ales – (Summer in the city!)

Wednesday, October 18 – Oktoberfests (Prosit!)

Wednesday, November 15 – Stouts (A great beer for a cold night)

Wednesday, December 20 – Holiday Beers (Tis the season to spice things up!)

Wednesday, January 17 – Imperial Beers (Big, bad and bodacious!)

Wednesday, February 21 – IPAs (Hop heaven!)

Wednesday, March 21 – Irish Red Ales (Ah up, mate!)

Wednesday, April 18 – Guess the Beer Style (It’s April and OFW is aiming to fool you!)

Wednesday, May 16 – Pilsners (Time to celebrate the end of winter!)

Wednesday, June 20 – Review, test and graduation party

You can sign up for Beer School right now at

Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at, on Twitter at @buffbeerleague, on Instagram at @buffalobeerleague and on Facebook at @thebuffalobeerleague.