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December 22, 2014

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Six Questions:

Adam Carner, adjunct professor, barkeep and restauranteur

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Tiffany Brown

Adam Carmer offers 600 whiskeys in his Whiskey Attic and more than 900 beers just down the stairs in the Freakin’ Frog on Maryland Parkway. Carmer, who also owns two locations of Adam’s Ribs, teaches a course on beer and wine at UNLV, drawing on his extensive knowledge of — and enthusiasm for — fine libations.

When Adam Carmer moved to Las Vegas in 1993, he was hired as a relief maitre d’ at two restaurants at the just-opened Treasure Island. Today he owns the Freakin’ Frog, the Whisky Attic and two locations of Adam’s Ribs. But what really interests us: He teaches beer and wine at UNLV.

How do you teach beer and wine?

The students have to be at least 21 because we teach through the glass. We taste hundreds of beers and wines and students build a vocabulary of flavors they know. It means you know the history of a style of beer, you can read a wine label, you can order wine at a restaurant without fear.

Who are your students?

There’s been more than 1,000 of them. They come from every university major known to man, and from outside the college — people in the industry, senior citizens.

Is your instruction limited to a classroom?

Sometimes we do field trips: the Napa Valley, Santa Barbara, Pahrump, wherever there’s wine, which is everywhere these days.

How did you get started teaching at UNLV?

I took classes in food and beverage. I always take classes. I’m a perennial student. They got to know me and I gave a guest lecture, then some more. Then it was, “Do you want to teach a class?” And then another and another. So here we are. It’s been very rewarding. I’ve got students all over town, now. It makes it easier to get a reservation.

And now you’ve got three businesses and they’ve all got huge selections. Is that a magpie collecting impulse?

Ha. Part of it’s teaching — 915 beers at the Frog, 600 whiskeys at the Attic, 300 tequilas at the Adam’s Ribs on Maryland — that’s a lot of knowledge. Plus, with a big selection, everything sells because everyone wants to try something different. Have you tried this one? What about that one? It becomes almost like a game.

Has the recession hit business?

Oh sure, but you keep your head up. You offer good value. For the ribs, our motto is “affordable to the bone.” At the Frog we’re going to be offering $1 pasta — “frogetti.” It’s recession pasta; you can get it with marinara or olive oil aioli. Or chili, but you have to pay extra for the chili.

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