Omaha’s Beertopia has been hosting its Sunfest Craft Beer Festival for many years but this year they had something new to offer to the 700+ guests, Sprecher beer. Since Sprecher products have only been in Omaha for a few months, Randy and Anne took this opportunity to check out the local craft beer scene. On the surface, there isn’t much of a scene, but if you just scratch lightly, you’ll discover a few Nebraska breweries and a whole lot of craft beer aficionados. Among the best Omaha breweries we sampled is Upstream; one of its brewpubs is located in the Old Market area downtown, a really cool shopping/eating/bar district based in renovated warehouses.
We’re told that despite the growing audience for craft beers in Omaha, only a couple of stores are dedicated to offering a broad selection of craft beers. We visited Brix on 170th St., and Beertopia on 36th and Farnam. Brix is a gorgeous new store with everything for your party needs including a beautiful selection of beers. Beertopia also has a remarkably good selection of craft and import beers along with a knowledgeable staff.
Beertopia is located on an unassuming corner with 3 other dedicated beer pubs: Crescent Moon, Huber House (German) and Max and Jo’s (Belgian). Coincidentally, Sunfest Craft Beer Festival took place in the parking lot behind this craft beer mecca. This was a perfect venue for the festival because like Omaha, it was unassuming yet surprisingly sophisticated.
In between introducing fest goers to Sprecher beers, answering questions, and having his photo taken with Sprecher beer fans, Randy sampled beers from nearby Nebraska breweries including Hopluia, Neraska Brewing Company (NBC), Gottlieb, a group of homebrewers and Uplands. At the other end of the tent were notable breweries such as: Left Hand Brewing Company, Great Divide, Avery, New Belgium and more. Contact www.beercornerusa.com for a complete list.
Of those he sampled, Randy’s favorite beer was a Dortmunder, which I believe was made by the homebrewers who also made some nice rye beers btw. As for commercial beers, NBC’s Melange a Trois was outstanding. Left Hand’s 400 Pound Monkey deserves praise for being a nicely balanced English IPA. Honestly, of the 100+ beers available, many were more than respectable. This is a festival craft beer lovers should put on their calendar because in addition to the usual suspects, several surprises are offered each year.
Thank you to our Omaha distributor DiLoranzo-Penke for involving Sprecher in this festival. And thanks to all the great Omaha residents who love craft beer. You do the industry proud. More pictures can be found at the Sprecher flickr gallery, www.sprecherbrewery.com.