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 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 Omaha Breweries 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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