If increasing your exposure to the talent and creativity of the craft beer industry is on your to do list, then Beertopia’s Extreme Beerfest in Omaha, Nebraska shouldn’t be missed. While the beer festival’s “extreme” offerings may not have involved bungie jumping or walking on fire, they did push the limits by celebrating unusual beer styles and high ABV content options that were hand-picked by Omaha’s local go-to beer store. The legend of such a varied, boundary-pushing festival where doppelbocks, barleywines, Belgian dubbels, barrel-aged brews, black IPAs, sours, and imperial stouts were the norm had reached us here in Lawrence, Kansas, and piqued my interest. So along with an intrepid coworker, we packed up and headed north to check it out for ourselves.
In this line of work, I have made it to my share of festivals, and I have never seen such a high concentration of brewery owners and head brewers (from some pretty well known establishments, I may add) gathered under one festival “roof”, sincerely excited to see what was available and to let like-minded people try the beers they themselves put so much effort into. Mix avid enthusiasts with rare releases and sought-after small batch flavors throughout the event and you get a lot of excited beer nerds! What’s that you say? Two bottles of Odell’s Amuste are being released in 5 minutes 6 tables down? Yes please!
If you do happen to find yourself in Omaha on a craft beer mission then I also recommend swinging by Lucky Bucket Brewing in the northwest part of the city. The first pint was poured in Omaha in 2009, and they have continued to grow and evolve ever since. The three flagships beers are wonderful, but if you’re there and Cowbell Saison is on tap you’d be a fool not to give it a try. The beer is great, the brewery and tap room are bustling, and the merchandise is impressive. Say hello to Chris or Jason when you’re there as well, you won’t regret it.
Finally, even after a long afternoon of “extreme” beer sampling no journey to Omaha is complete without a stop at one of the great beer bars in the country, The Crescent Moon. In addition to their communal glass boots filled with German beers of choice, The Crescent Moon is a great place to recharge from the fest and fill up on quality food. The gouda bacon cheeseburger hit the spot, and the accordion player who belted out sing-alongs in the German style beer hall in the basement was just good for the soul. Watching customers struggle over which German-labeled restroom door was pretty entertaining as well.
-Matt Williams, Regional Manager- Mid America