Notes on Omaha

After much consideration, I made my second foray into the world of Omaha’s beer over the weekend. Beer plans included the following:

  • a beer or two at Upstream Brewing Company
  • a meal at Jobber’s Canyon Restaurant and Brewery
  • Whole Foods Market
  • Fermenter’s Supply Homebrew Shop

In an effort to long story short the entire trip, I did make it to all these locations.

Kevin commented in another post that he thought Jobber’s Canyon was closed. I found that he was sorta right. When I arrived, I found a sign on the door indicating that they had switched from brewpub format to entertainment and catering. Their brewery apparently ceased on October 15.

That took us to Upstream for not only a beer or two, but a meal, which I’ve been wanting to do anyway. Our food was excellent. I had the pecan-encrusted rainbow trout, while my wife tried the beef-lover’s salad (if you’re gonna have a salad, it oughtta be slathered with meat).

Upstream BarrelsLike my last trip, they had a cask offering–this time, an English pale ale, soft and tasty. Their seasonal takes some explanation. It was called Before, part of an aging experiment. Next year, they’ll serve up After. The beer is a red ale brewed for the brewmaster’s wedding. So darn tasty, they decided to oak age part of it, sour it up and get somewhere near a Flanders Red. I hope I’m paying attention next year to give it a try. The Before was good, but I was dreaming of After. Ultimately, I settled in on a pint and a growler of the Scotch ale.

Since I needed a few miscellaneous homebrewing supplies, I set out for Fermenter’s Supply. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice it, tucked back as it was. I saw a sign that indicated homebrewing goods, so I thought I was in the right place. Apparently I was not. I guess it was Cornhusker Beverage (actually, my receipt says “Cornhusker Beverage and Bridal”), a big liquor store/printerwedding invitation place(there was a couple picking out wedding invitations)/”homebrewing store.”

This was a crappy experience. At best, these guys can’t hope to service anyone beyond the partial mash extract level, not that there’s anything wrong with someone brewing at that level. It’s just, if you’re going to have a homebrew store, make some effort to make it complete. Have a clue what you’re talking about. And it was expensive. I dropped forty bucks on very little. There were basically three aisles dedicated to this facet of the store. I left with my grain needs disappointed and one of my yeast plans compromised.

Noting the address when I left, it didn’t match where I planned to go. I poked around a little and found Fermenter’s Supply around the corner. This was a small homebrew shop, and I wished I’d have found it first. I picked up a couple pounds of grain to make my planned brew session more do-able. I didn’t spend a lot of time here, chatted briefly with owner and took note on the address. I don’t have a strong opinion of this place yet, but it’s worth coming back to if I’m in Omaha and needing ingredients. That won’t happen often, but we’ll see…

Whole Foods Beer in OmahaFinally, Whole Foods Market. I love Whole Foods. This place was a good deal bigger than any of the four Whole Foods I’ve visited in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Cary (NC). Vast and wonderful, I’m re-stocked on vanilla beans, turmeric, flour and the fixin’s for spring rolls. I’ve also got some 90 Shilling Ale from Odell Brewing Company, a brewery I have yet to try. Whole Foods’ beer selection was pretty good, though perhaps not fantastic. They had one endcap cooler chock full of four beers on special, a couple of Oktoberfests, and I recall not what else. Primarily, their beer was stocked in a walk-in cooler, lotsa good stuff, local and otherwise. No problem finding something delicious or something new.

It was a good trip, and an informative one. I’m now sold on Upstream as a solid performer–both food and beer. There are a few other brewpubs I need to check out in Omaha (including a second Upstream location), and that’s a task to which I look forward. Work, work, work.


5 Responses to Notes on Omaha

  1. Wes says:

    Next time your in Omaha, make sure you go to the Crecent Moon. It’s a pub with an awesome selection; almost 30 taps at my last count and NO BMC! (well…blue moon.) Also, the owner of Crecent Moon opened up a bottle shop a year ago called Beertopia, and that’s exactly what it is. No bmc in the store and the best selection in Nebraska. Lots and lots of Belgians and every micro that Nebraska can get. It’s a small store, but they make the most of it. Beertopia’s selection makes Whole Foods look like complete crap!

  2. Wilson says:

    Thanks. I’ve heard about both of those, but had my whole family in tow and an appointment in the middle of the day, so had to go easy on this trip. I’ll hit those on the next go-round.

  3. […] Wilson put an intriguing blog post on Notes on Omaha.Here’s a quick excerpt:I guess it was Cornhusker Beverage (actually, my receipt says “Cornhusker Beverage and Bridal”), a big liquor store/printerwedding invitation place(there was a couple picking out wedding invitations)/”homebrewing store.” … […]

  4. Wes says:

    You don’t want to take the fam to those places. Beertopia is very small and packed with as many shelves as reasonably possible. I’ve been in there with 5 or 6 other customers and it felt a bit crowded. The selection is amazing for how little space they have to work with! Also, I forgot to mention (maybe you know about it.) that the owners have also opened Max and Joe’s. It’s a Belgian beer bar next to Beertopia. So far, it’s only open for tastings and parties, but they plan on opening it with regular hours soon. If I were to ever become an alchy and lose my job it would be because of that place. I don’t know with what frequency you come to Omaha, but if you like the Belgians keep your eye out for that.

  5. Wilson says:

    I won’t get to Omaha very often, but I’ll definitely look forward to those. Lemme know when Max and Joe’s is regular hours–I’ll be happy to check that one out.

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