Picture this: you catch wind that a new brewery is opening in your hometown on a Friday afternoon. You gather your husband and your in-laws – who are your partners in crime when it comes to all things craft beer – and you head out to the west side of town to check it out. When you arrive, there is hardly any parking, but you get lucky and find a spot on the street. You walk up to the doors of this brand-new and shiny facility, and then you enter the building. It’s packed. Seriously packed, and full of excited customers, eager to enjoy new brews from a new brewing company. It’s shoulder-to-shoulder, standing-room only in the middle of winter at Lincoln, Nebraska’s newest brewery. I can hardly believe my eyes, but I know this marks the beginning of a beautiful cultural expansion for not only Lincoln, but also for the state of Nebraska in terms of craft beer.
You may not know much about Nebraska – in fact, there are a surprising number of people I’ve met in my travels that couldn’t even point to Nebraska on a map. However, I can assure you that the dedicated and passionate brewers in Nebraska are doing their best to put themselves and the state on the map in the craft beer world – especially in the past few years, and will for years to come. In fact, off the top of my head, I can think of six new breweries/brewpubs that are slated to open throughout the state before the end of the year, and most of them already have a wonderful reputation for tasty and exciting brews.
Much like Nebraska’s craft beer reputation, I have not always been a beer – let alone a craft beer – enthusiast. I can credit my passion to my husband, along with his craft beer-loving parents. Try as they might – with their oddly named brews of colors I was not accustomed to – I just couldn’t appreciate the taste like they could. Until one glorious day, sitting in a local Omaha restaurant called Brewburger’s. As usual, they encouraged me to order a beer. Not knowing what to pick, I had them choose for me, hoping that it would finally be the day for my taste buds to cooperate. What did they choose? St. Bernardus Abt 12. And it was love at first sip! Because of that one sip of just the right beer, my taste buds seemed to miraculously understand – and crave – craft beer. Since then, my love for finely crafted beer has grown exponentially, as has my palate, and appreciation for the work, passion, and patience that goes into brewing a craft beer.
I’m truly ecstatic about Nebraska’s thriving foray into the craft beer scene. And much like the brewers in the state, I want to spread the Nebraska brewery love and help put my home state clearly on the craft beer map. From old favorites like Nebraska Brewing Company in Papillion and Upstream Brewing in Omaha, all the way to Loop Brewing in McCook and Gottberg Brewing in Columbus – and I cannot wait to start my journey!