Denton gastropub Barley & Board is giving closet homebrewers a chance to take their hobby to the next level with a new project called the Home Brewers League.
Founded by B&B chef Chad Kelley, the league is a monthly event in which a homebrewer makes a beer, then releases it at a celebration at the pub.
Kelley, who also oversees brew lab operations, says they launched the league to showcase homebrewers via a collaboration, and to enhance the appreciation of the skill and craftsmanship involved in brewing.
"There are so many homebrewers out there who don't advertise their hobby," he says. "We wanted to give them a chance, let them play out their dreams a little bit. They're in their garage thinking, 'It would be great to start a brewery one day.' We give them a chance to act on that by coming to brew on a professional level and showcasing their beer at a restaurant."
The lead-up to the monthly event takes four weeks, from the day they create the batch to tap day, when the restaurant releases the beer to the public.
Recipes are created independently of the restaurant menu, but can vary based on season; for example, for October, they'll consider Oktoberfest beers for inspiration.
"Where we're brewing, we call it 'the lab' because we want to be experimental," Kelley says. "We don't want to do a bunch of safe beers or follow the fruity trend that's common right now. If they're gonna come and brew, let's do something different, and let's have fun."
June was their first event. The selected homebrewer was Cole Haley, who created a black IPA with all German hops — a departure from the typical West Coast IPA that's dominating the craft beer scene these days.
Barley & Board opened in 2015 as the first brewpub in Denton, but with a greater emphasis on food. A second location was just announced for Grandscape, the mixed-use development in The Colony anchored by Nebraska Furniture Mart.
Haley says he felt lucky to get to work with Barley & Board's equipment. "The brewery they have is really a show piece back here," says. "Beer really is a communal thing because most of the time, you're not drinking alone. You shouldn't be. There should be a rule against that."
The July league event will take place July 27, and homebrewers have already been chosen through September. The selection process is "passion-based;" it's the homebrewer's story that Kelley cares about the most. Candidates should email firstname.lastname@example.org with their story and what they love about brewing.