New breweries are popping up Downtown (Hop Nuts) and in Henderson (Bad Beat, Crafthaus, Vegas Brewing Co.), but the West Valley is about to get in on the action. Following three years of development, Old School Brewing Co. is preparing for an early November opening at what used to be Graziano’s Pizza on 8410 W. Desert Inn Road.
The man behind the mash here is Jim Wilson. The former Barleys head brewer started homebrewing in the mid ’80s, but he wasn’t always a fan of suds. Wilson worked as a mechanic with the 1985 Porsche race car team that was sponsored by Portland Brewing Co. “That was the first time I tasted good beer, ” Wilson says. And it changed his outlook on brewing for the better.
Shortly after, Wilson had the opportunity to apprentice under master brewer Michael Mankoschewski of Ganter Brewery in Freiburg, Germany, where his knowledge and passion for beer grew. But Old School is going to focus on much more than German-style brews with four standard taps—Hippocrates IPA, Bus Stout, Pale Ale 101 and a hefeweizen—plus four to six seasonals to satisfy Wilson’s creativity and his guests’ diverse palates. “It’s just like cooking at home: You don’t want to have the same thing every meal,” he says.
Along with tours, Wilson and partners Greg Kourik and Ed Utiger will fill growlers and serve “twisted comfort food,” such as a cornmeal tempura-fried bratwurst corn dog. The 190-seat dining room is separate from the bar area, which has five gaming machines. “I really want to keep it a family environment, Wilson says.” So expect rotating sodas, too. “There’s so much flavor to be had.”