When temperatures drop and leaves crunch underfoot, Midwesterners crane their necks at the gray sky and try not to think of daily commutes soon to be spent in darkness. The wind is picking up, and the days grow shorter and shorter. Winter is coming, fellow Omahans. It’s time to find refuge from the cold.
Where better to stay cozy than in one of the metro’s growing number of microbreweries and affiliated brewpubs? Read on for a complete list of venues producing and serving local beer (listed in alphabetical order). Choose a barstool, lest you are left out in the cold.
6059 N. Maple St.
Adorned with wood floors and hipster lamps, Benson Brewery is situated in a remodeled space that was once home to a movie theater (in the early years of the 20th century). Enjoy a cold Karha-T as your body warms inside; this English ale is spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and vanilla, and is the perfect autumn beverage. Or choose one of the other nine beers or hard cider on tap.
Brickway Brewery & Distillery
1116 Jackson St.
Also a distillery, this brewery has the unique ability to age their beers in whiskey barrels and their whiskey in beer barrels. Brickway keeps their Oktoberfest traditional, and this amber brew is featured at their Oktoberfest event, where attendees get to drink this beer straight from the tank it was brewed in.
Farnam House Brewing Co.
3558 Farnam St.
After years of traveling Europe to study the best beers, the owners of Farnam House emphasize Old World-style brews with a Belgian and German influence. Thus, it is no surprise that they are proud of their Oktoberfest brew, aged for six weeks for a well-rounded and mellow finish. Their Spiced Tripel is another fall favorite packed with gravity.
Granite City Food & Brewery
1001 N. 102nd St.
A national brewpub franchise, Granite City locations brew beer on location. From their Batch 1000 Double IPA to Broad Axe Oatmeal Stout, Granite City has something for everyone. They offer an Oktoberfest and a Vanilla Porter on a seasonal basis, so get it while it lasts (and maybe snag some waffle fries, too).
Infusion Brewing Co.
6115 Maple St.
6271 S. 118th Circle
A meat market turned brewery in downtown Benson, Infusion Brewing Company prides itself on adding unique ingredients—such as vanilla or cocoa—to their beers. In 2016, they also added a second brewery/tap room location on the edge of Sarpy County. Look out for their fall favorites: Infusionfest and Red X IPA. Vanilla Bean Blonde Ale is their top-seller through the year.
Jaipur Brewing Co.
10922 Elm St.
Located in Rockbrook Village, the Jaipur restaurant features a fusion of authentic Indian cuisine and on-site brewing of several unique beers. Their Jalapeño Ale offers a hot “kick” particularly appropriate for cold days. The restaurant’s owner says Jaipur has been selling beer since first opening in 1992—making it Nebraska’s first and Omaha’s longest-running craft brewery.
Kros Strain Brewing Co.
10411 Portal Road, Suite 102
Brand new to the La Vista area in 2017, Kros Strain Brewing is “Nebraska Fresh,” a motto that is featured on their 24-foot mural that highlights beers set for release. Try one of their startup brews: Helles Creek, Dark Paradise, Fairy Nectar, and Supa Juice.
Lucky Bucket Brewing Co.
11941 Centennial Road, Suite 1
Lucky Bucket Brewing Company hit the ground running in 2008 with their Pre-Prohibition Lager, perfected over time spent experimenting with barrel-aged beers and unique flavors. This eventually developed into five year-round beers and four seasonal favorites (including an Oktoberfest, which they boast “even Bavarian Prince Ludwig would trade his bride for”). Their Conspiracy Series also offers limited batch beers, and the brewery’s sister distillery—Cut Spike—offers craft liquors at the tap room.
Nebraska Brewing Co.
La Vista (tap room)
6950 S. 108th St.
Shadow Lake Towne Center (brewpub)
7474 Towne Center Parkway, Suite 101
Nebraska Brewing Company’s six standard beers offer year-round easy drinking for those who enjoy the hoppier side of the spectrum. If that’s not your ballgame, no worries. They also offer more than a dozen seasonal brews, along with several high-end craft options in their bottled Reserve Series. For those seeking something truly unique, there is the experimental Inception Series—barrel-aged beers that come in limited supply with names such as “Ninja Gnome” and “Fuchsian.”
Pint Nine Brewing Co.
10411 Portal Road
Named for the traditional pint and nine ounce bottles that came to us from Europe back when we had to depend on them for good beer, the folks at Pint Nine appreciate a good German lager or English ale. But that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate innovation. All you have to do is check out their Pink Peppercorn Wit or Hot Burst Blonde to realize that. The Papillion tap room just opened summer 2017.
Scriptown Brewing Co.
3922 Farnam St.
Do you know about “session beers?” Scriptown specializes in these brews, which feature a lower ABV than other craft beers, allowing for hours of drinking, conversation, and fun. If you’re looking for something a bit stronger, try Dmitri’s Revenge, a Russian Imperial Stout at 9.4 ABV.
Soaring Wings Vineyard & Brewing
17111 S. 138th St. (Springfield)
This vineyard is more than just grapes. Soaring Wings offers nine specially brewed beers, ranging from a light, American-style lager to their hefty Imperial Stout, aged in wine barrels for six months and tipping the scales at 10.7 ABV. Be sure to enjoy the covered deck and beautiful vista of the Nebraska countryside while the weather permits.
Thunderhead Brewing Co.
13304 W. Center Road, No. 126
From humble beginnings in Kearney, Nebraska, Thunderhead expanded eastward to the Big O in 2016. Enjoy beers with clever names like “Your Argument is Invalid” in their lovely indoor and outdoor spaces.
Upstream Brewing Co.
514 S. 11th St.
Upstream Brewing Company has been open since 1996. They boast of being Omaha’s “original brewpub,” and they offer on-site brews and a rotating selection of cask-conditioned ales. While this brewery specializes in ales, they always take the time to age their popular Oktoberfest brew, which is malty and smooth.
Vis Major Brewing Co.
3501 Center St.
Vis Major, Latin for “act of God,” boasts of treating craft brewing as an art form, emphasizing intricate nuances of taste and complexity. Their Proverbial Pumpkin ale is the go-to for fall, sporting hints of cinnamon and other spices. Their tap room opened in between Field Club and Hanscom Park during 2017.
Zipline Brewing Co.
721 N. 14th St.
Born in Lincoln, this 5-year-old brewery opened a satellite Omaha location next door to Film Streams’ downtown location in 2017. Zipline emphasizes adventure, sustainability, and connecting with customers. Try something dark this fall with their Coconut Stout, or go the more traditional route with their Oktoberfest inspired Festbier, a crisp lager to match the weather.
This article was printed in the September/October 2017 edition of Omaha Magazine.