Sample Craft Beer at Omaha Breweries

Sample Craft Beer at Omaha Breweries

If you live outside of the Omaha, Nebraska, metro area but plan to visit in the next year and you like beer, you’re in luck. Eight Omaha craft breweries want you to taste their beer—so they will each give you one on the house. Not a little taste, but a full-size beer.

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Here’s how it works:

  1. Request your Craft Brew Explorer’s Journal at the Visit Omaha web site. You will receive your Journal in the mail.
  2. Take your journal to each of the eight breweries for a complimentary beer. Present the appropriate coupon from the back of the book and have them stamp the corresponding journal page. There is space in the Journal for tasting notes.
  3. Although not required, you can rate the brew at and share on social media. You can also map your tour at this site.
  4. If you visit all eight breweries, present your journal at the Omaha Visitor Center to receive a complimentary Omaha Craft Brewery Tour pint glass.

On our recent trip to Omaha we visited three of the eight craft breweries.

Lisa Trudell of The Walking Tourists joined Skip and me for lunch at the Upstream Brewing Company, which is housed in a former fire station in the Old Market area of Omaha. Skip had the Scotch Ale, brewed with chinook hops. I’m not a huge beer drinker, so I ordered the hand-crafted root beer. (Lisa stuck with a diet cola.)

Upstream beverages

Upstream Brewing Company has delicious food options, too. Skip and I both had Mac & Cheese. Mine was the regular menu version made with a smoked cheese cream sauce and chock full of ham cubes. Skip ordered the special with shrimp and bleu cheese. Lisa had the BBQ Chicken Pizza.

Upstream mac n cheese

Upstream pizza

Later that evening, Skip and I went to the Borgata Brewery & Distillery, also in the Old Market district. Borgata doesn’t serve food but has an inviting atmosphere and was one of Omaha’s first craft breweries since Prohibition. I asked for their lightest beer, which was the Borgata Pilsner, and Skip had the Oatmeal Cream Stout.


Borgata Brew Tanks

The next night we had a beer at the Benson Brewery, about a 15 minute drive from downtown Omaha. More of a neighborhood brew-pub housed in a remodeled 1910s movie theater, we enjoyed our beer in the al-fresco seating, a nice atmosphere on a warm summer evening. Once again, I asked for the lightest beer, which was the Dirty Blonde, and Skip ordered one of the darker brews. I’m finding I am beginning to enjoy a nice quality light beer.

Benson Brewery

We didn’t order food at Benson since we had already eaten, but a quick look at the menu, and I wish I would have at least ordered the Brew Fries with tarragon and sea salt, listed on the Late Night menu. Had we been there earlier, I would have ordered the Slider Trio: beef, bison meatloaf and pork belly, served with onion straws.

I’ll hang onto our Explorer’s Journals, since they’re good through July 2015. If we make it back to Omaha before then, perhaps we’ll get our remaining stamps and the complimentary pint glasses.

Disclosure: The Omaha Convention & Visitors Bureau provided us with media early-bird Omaha Craft Brewery Tour Explorer’s Journals, but opinions in this article are my own.

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Weathering this Midwest Winter

Weathering this Midwest Winter

“I’m tired of this winter.”  I’ve heard it over and over again for the past month.  And I agree.  It seems that every day, at least here in the Chicago area, we’ve been getting either more snow, making roads dangerous to navigate, or single-digit to sub-zero temperatures, so we can’t go out and enjoy snow activities.  Of course, the obvious remedy is to go somewhere warm, and if you can do that, great.  But for many, a vacation to a warm climate is impractical or even impossible.  Besides, a week later, you’ll be back home in the snow and cold again.  So aside from hibernating and counting the days until spring, here are a couple of ways to counter the cabin fever that has hit the Midwest hard:

Go to indoor events and attractions.  On the days that are cold but the roads okay to drive on, go to a local museum that you haven’t been to in a long time.  (Call first to make sure they haven’t closed due to the cold.)  Or go to one of the many travel, RV, boat, auto, or home shows going on in cities all over the Midwest.  You’ll find links to information on lots of them on the Midwest Festivals & Fairs page.

Plan your summer travel.  Now is the time to plan your summer getaways.  Get them on the calendar before your calendar fills up with other obligations.  If you’re planning to go to a popular seasonal destination, you should make your accommodation reservations as soon as possible, too, for the best selection.  Need help in deciding where to go?  Turn to the convention and visitors bureaus of the states you are thinking about.  On the Internet, search “[state name] tourism” to find the state’s official tourism site, which will have listings of attractions, accommodations, dining options, and events.  You can order free hard copy travel guides for the states or regions you are considering for your getaways, too.  I personally like to peruse the hard copy guides from the cozy comfort of a sofa and then use the Internet to get further details on places that interest me.  To get you started, I’ve included links below to order tourism guides for the Midwest states.

North Dakota
South Dakota

Just thinking about and planning your summer getaways will do wonders to counter the winter doldrums.  Do you have other suggestions for cabin fever remedies?  Answer in the Comments box below.

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Other attractions you may enjoy this winter:

Peoria Riverfront Museum: Interactive Exhibits, Planetarium and Giant Screen Theater

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, Springfield IL: Museum Meets Disney

Frank Lloyd Wright Dana-Thomas House: 12,000 Square Feet of Phenomenal

Visit Jelly Belly, Pleasant Prairie WI: Take the Tour, Taste the Candy

Tour Stone Hill Winery, Hermann, MO: Most Historic and Awarded Winery in the State