Tag Archives: craft beers

Flagship Commons

June 10, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

When I am trying to pick a place to go for a quick casual meal, the mall is not usually one of my top choices. That changed when Flagship Commons opened at Westroads Mall in January 2016. Now I find myself going to the mall to eat all the time. Judging by the crowds, it appears I’m not alone.

MysteryReview1Flagship Commons is an innovative new concept by the Flagship Restaurant Group. These are the same people that brought to Omaha Blue Sushi Sake Grill, Roja Mexican Grill, Blatt Beer & Table, Plank Seafood Provisions, and Amsterdam Falafel & Kabob.

In the comfortable and open Flagship Commons area, you will find eight different fast casual or full service dining concepts, plus a bar, in one food hall. The list includes: Weirdough Pizza Company, Yum Roll Sushi, Yoshi-Ya Ramen, Clever Greens, Juan Taco, Aromas Coffee House, Amsterdam Falafel & Kabob, and Blatt Beer & Table. As you might guess the hardest part about eating at Flagship Commons is deciding which concept to go to. Well, I have tried all of them and I can tell you that they are all good. It just depends what you like and what you are in the mood for.

Some of my personal favorites come from Blatt Beer & Table, which has an abbreviated menu of what you will find at the other locations that share its name. Here you will find the best-ever mall burger ($11.50), and some very tasty mac and cheese ($9), as well as a great assortment of craft beers ($5.50 each). Amsterdam Falafel & Kabob is kind of fun in that you first chose a style—flatbread, salad, or plate. Next choose a protein—falafel ($6.25), beef ($7.99), lamb ($7.99) or chicken ($7.50). Then you can doctor it up with assorted sauces and veggies. Juan Taco has a great assortment of authentic tacos ($2-$4.50) as well as some very yummy quesadillas ($2.50-$4.25).

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Over at Clever Greens everything is bursting with freshness. They have some specialty entree salads ($7.50-$13), or you can build your own creation, specifying every single ingredient. The build-your-own option starts at $7.50. As you might have guessed Yoshi-ya Ramen serves up authentic ramen noodles. My favorite is the Tonkotsu Deluxe ($11.50). This ramen soup has chicken and pork broth, chashu, ajitama egg, menma, moyashi, negi, corn, pork belly, and rayu chili oil. Yum Roll Sushi has some excellent bowls ($7-$9), sashimi ($5-$7), nigiri ($4.50-$6.50) and of course sushi rolls ($4-$11.50). Weirdough Pizza Company is known for its Roman-style, square-cut pizza, made by hand to order in their custom oven. You can get whole-sized pies ($18-$23) or a large slice ($3.75-$4.50).

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Many of the concepts serve beer and wine and there is also a full bar at the appropriately named “The Bar.” I should also mention that there is a reverse happy hour Sunday-Thursday from 7:30 p.m. to close. I really like this concept and think that it has some great growth potential. If you have not been over to check it out yet, you really need to do so soon.

Cheers!

Prepare to Meet Our Makers

May 21, 2015 by

This article appears in the Spring 2015 edition of B2B

Remember these lyrics from the popular television show Cheers:

“Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got, taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot. Wouldn’t you like to get away….”

The Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau took a page out of the old Cheers songbook and created a marketing campaign based on the premise that everyone does like to get away and that a beer just might be an interesting incentive to convince some folks to get away to Omaha.

What helps is that over the last couple of years Omaha’s craft beer scene has really come of age, offering brews that are distinctly Omaha and worth the trip. Visitors can sample some of the best beers they’ll ever taste created by craftsman who have made beer their life and Omaha their home.

The Omaha CVB partnered with eight area craft breweries to offer the Omaha Craft Brew Explorer’s Journal. Since the goal is to attract out-of-town visitors to Omaha, anyone living outside the metro area can request the Journal, which includes coupons for a free beer at each of the participating breweries. The brewery will stamp the Journal and after visiting all locations visitors can stop by the Omaha Visitors Center and pick up a souvenir pint glass to commemorate their beer journey. To promote the campaign, the Omaha CVB purchased regional advertising—it was a short but sweet 12-week campaign that ended in October of 2014. However the requests keep coming and so do the visitors. As of the end of December, close to 4,000 people had requested the Journals, and many have emailed, tweeted, and Facebook’d to tell us how much they enjoyed their experience.

So just a quick thank you to Sam, Woody, Coach, Cliff, and (everybody say it with me) Norm! You were right. Cheers!

 

Borgata Brewery

March 28, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Before breweries became all the rage, there was another craft alcohol manufacturer that was king in Omaha: whiskey distilleries. For example, Willow Springs, the third-largest whiskey distillery in the nation, once stood at 4th and Pierce. But once Prohibition hit, that niche of Omaha’s craft spirit industry took a hit.

Last December, former Lucky Bucket Brewery owner Zac Triemert and fiancée Holly Mulkins mixed a little bit of Omaha’s past with the present when they opened Borgata Brewery & Distillery, a new full-production brewery, production distillery, and craft cocktail tasting room at 11th and Jackson.

It’s not just another business for Mulkins and Triemert—they want Borgata to become Omaha’s beer and whiskey.  To do so, they’ve relied upon a network of people who are just as passionate about craft alcohol as they are.

“Borgata is an old Italian word for family,” explains Mulkins. “Anybody that shares in what we make and what we’re doing is also a part of our extended family.”

Borgata is the first full-production distillery in Omaha since Prohibition, and Triemert and Mulkins say they’re excited to add their own page to Omaha’s “incredible distilling history.” In fact, Borgata will be brewing a batch of an old recipe from the family behind the Jetter Brewing Company, the Omaha concern that closed one year after Prohibition ended.

“We’re literally going to be tasting history, which is kind of amazing. And doing what we’re doing with the whiskey, it’s history in the making so to speak,” says Mulkins.

Triemert and Mulkins have been hard at work perfecting their craft. Triemert, in addition to his two master’s degrees in distilling and brewing, is a diligent student in the field. He has three notebooks at home, containing recipes and revisions dating from the first batch of beer he ever brewed in college more than 15 years ago.

“It’s a terribly fun thing to have to study and learn about,” Triemert admits with a grin.

The studious crew of Triemert, Mulkins, and bar manager Brian Gummert have spent the past year and a half traveling and tasting in order to perfect their menu. They say Borgata will offer a wide variety of craft beers, whiskeys, and cocktails that will please both alcohol aficionados and customers who are new to the craft world.

On the beer side, Borgata’s flagship is their pilsner, which Triemert describes as “easy to drink, flavorful, nice, hot character with a great, thick, lacy, white head on it.” Borgata will also feature a “Bison series” that will contain beers with higher alcohol content, such as a double IPA.

Moving on to something on the stronger side, Borgata’s whiskeys will feature an “all-malt whiskey”—made of a group of single all-malt whiskeys, blended with Borgata’s own single-malt whiskey. According to Mulkins and Triemert, it’s a whiskey that’s never been done before in the United States.

Finally, Triemert, Mulkins, and Gummert are getting a chance to showcase their in-house spirits with their craft cocktail room.  One of their latest concoctions? Beer cocktails. Mulkins’ personal favorite includes champagne mixed with a stout, which she describes as a “kind of celebration drink.”

Perhaps fitting with their desire to be different, Borgata has faced some unusual setbacks. Originally scheduled to open at the beginning of November, Borgata’s permit approval was delayed because of the government shutdown.

Nonetheless, Mulkins and Triemert made the best out of the situation. They sent letters to President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, promising them their first two cases of beer if they came to an agreement. The effects of the shutdown have been long-lasting. Though Borgata has been able to serve its signature pilsner in its tasting room, its unaged white whiskey wasn’t available until very recently due to the delayed permit. An aged whiskey and a small food menu are still in the plans for the future. Despite the problems they’ve faced, Mulkins and Triemert continue to have fun with what they do.

“There is just so much that has happened, that is going to happen, and that is happening right now that we get to be a part of,” says Mulkins. “You could never get bored of this industry.”

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