In a few short years (or so it seems), Omaha has grown into a booming craft brewery scene. I’ve had a few years to explore the industry (ahem, perhaps a more than a few years), so I thought I’d share my favorite brews from all of the breweries.
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Be sure to comment with your favorites! If I missed a brewery (or another one opened up), let me know.
UPDATED: This post was first published in 2020, and has been updated in July 2023.
Background on Kim’s beer picks
I’m by no means a beer snob or connoisseur. In fact, if you look over the list, you’ll see I tend to just favor a few kinds of beers (brown ales, saisons). However, I do love trying new beers. So, that’s why I made this post.
I started learning about the Nebraska microbrewery scene in 2008, when my then-fiance and I held a beer tasting fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Back then, there weren’t many Omaha breweries, so we sought brewers throughout the state.
It was a fun and successful fundraiser, and we got to know the friendly and generous people behind some of the state’s longest-running breweries. It’s awesome to see the brewers grow over the past 10+ years! Some of those early brewers eventually opened a taproom in Omaha, like Thunderhead and Empyrean.
Found on the main drag of the Benson neighborhood, Benson Brewery is a great spot for food and drinks before a night out. The brewery opened in 2013.
This is one of the few brewpubs that are family-friendly, and even has a kid's menu with things like burgers and mac and cheese.
Try: The Blonde Bunny is a good, light ale.
Where: 6059 Maple St.
Brickway Brewery and Distillery
With a taproom in the Old Market, Brickway Brewery and Distillery is a prime spot to grab a beer and people-watch the afternoon away.
Brickway is also a distillery, so if you're thirsty for something a little stronger, they distill their own gin, whiskey, vodka, bourbon and rum.
Try: I'm partial to their Red Lager.
Where: 1116 Jackstom St.
Infusion Brewing Co.
Infusion is steadily becoming a favorite of mine, especially since our pool carries my favorite beer on tap. The original location in Benson is in the former Olson's Meat Market, and has an awesome restored, vintage look to it. The brewery has opened additional taprooms in West Omaha and in Little Bohemia in downtown Omaha.
Try: You'll want to try the Vanilla Bean Blonde.
Where: 6115 Maple St.; 6271 S. 118th St.; and 1406 S. 13th St.
Jaipur Brewing Company and Restaurant
Jaipur is first and foremost a restaurant serving delicious Indian food. However, they also brew their own beer.
Try: The Jalapeno Ale is delicious but has a kick to it.
Where: 10922 Elm St. in Rockbrook Village
Jukes Ale Works
One of the newer breweries in the metro area, Jukes Ale House opened in the fall of 2019.
Try: Jukes is a brewery I have yet to visit, so looking over their menu, I'd go with the Little Lady Grisette, one of their core beers. The beer is made with a simple grain bill of pilsner and wheat and a blend of French Strisselspalt and German Perle hops. What sells me on it, though, is that it's made with a special strain of saison yeast. I love Saisons.
Where: 20560 Elkhorn Drive, Elkhorn, Neb.
Kros Strain Brewing Co.
The interestingly named Kros Strain Brewing Co. is a La Vista brewery formed by two beer lovers, Bobby Kros and Scott Strain. Their style of brewing is to always tinker with flavors, so you'll always find something wholly unique on tap there.
Try: Fairy Nectar London Double Dry Hop, my husband's favorite local beer. It's a tad too hoppy for me, but the beer did earn second place at that 2018 Juicy Hazy IPA category at the Great American Beer Festival.
Where: 10411 Portal Road, La Vista, Neb.
Lazlo's Brewery and Grill and Empryrean Brewing Co.
The first location of Lazlo's Brewery and Grill, Lincoln’s Historic Haymarket District, opened in 1991, making it Nebraska's first brewpub. There are now three locations, including one in West Omaha.
Their in-house brewery is called Empyrean Brewing Co.
Try: My favorite Empyrean beer is Third Stone Brown Ale.
Where: 2425 S. 192nd Ave.
Lucky Bucket Brewing Co.
My first introduction to Lucky Bucket was right after the brewery opened in 2008. Raising money for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training, my then-fiance and I decided to have a beer tasting fundraiser and Lucky Bucket was the first enthusiastic brewery to donate beer for it. I've been grateful to them ever since.
They've branched out and added a distillery (Cut Spike), but the beer is what we're talking about here. Lucky Bucket offers brewery tours once a month.
Try: You've got to try the brewery's first beer, Lucky Bucket Pre-Prohibition Lager.
Where: 11941 Centennial Rd, La Vista, Neb.
Nebraska Brewing Co.
Nebraska Brewing Co. formed in 1997, is the state's most award-winning brewer. I've rarely encountered a dud there.
I haven't been to the new taproom, but they say it's kid-friendly, just like their old the old brewpub used to be.
They offer brewery tours.
Try: Brunette Nut Ale, an English-style beer that's not too hoppy, but just right.
Where: 6950 S. 108th St., La Vista, Neb.
Pint Nine Brewing Co.
Scriptown Brewing Co.
The Scriptown brewery is located in the trendy Blackstone District. Scriptown does a great job partnering with other Omaha small businesses, offering Noli's pizza deals, a Kathmandu Momo Station, and they've been known to do beer floats using Coneflower Creamery ice cream.
Try: Nut Job Brown Ale is a smooth beer to try.
Where: 3922 Farnam St.
My first introduction to Site-1 Brewing was during a pop-up bookstore within the brewering. Think of it as an adult's Scholastic Book Fair. It was a great way to endear the brewery.
Try: Try the refreshing Quasar Kölsch
Where: 2566 Farnam St. and 2611 N. 204th St.
Soaring Wings Vineyard & Brewery
Yes, Soaring Wings is a winery and vineyard, first and foremost. And while the whites there are pretty nice on a warm summer day, I've taken to their beers even more.
While it's a bit more of a drive to Soaring Wings versus others on this list, it's worth it to enjoy the view.
Try: Pegasus Pilsner, a German-style pilsner.
Where: 17111 S. 138th St., Springfield, Neb.
Upstream Brewing Co.
Omaha's oldest brewpub, Upstream has been around since 1996. The large restaurant/brewery in the Old Market is surprisingly kid-friendly - every Tuesday there's a hilarious roving magician.
Try: I usually order the Dundee Export Scotch Ale.
Where: 514 S. 11th St.
Vis Major Brewing Co.
Consider Vis Major your friendly, Omaha neighborhood brewery. They offer food along with beer and cocktails, including the pretty interesting specialty pizza, The Goonie.
Free tours are available on select days.
Try: Taste the Highland Brown Ale.
Where: 3501 Center St.
Zipline Brewing Co.
Zipline Brewing has grown over the years, expanding from Lincoln into Omaha with two locations, a NoDo taproom in downtown Omaha (conveniently by Film Streams and The Slowdown), and a lounge in West Omaha.
Try: Copper Alt is a must-try.
Where: 721 N. 14th St. (downtown) and 3808 S. 203rd Plaza (West Omaha)