Brewing Community – History

by | Sep 26, 2017 | Adam Stange | 0 comments

A Nebraskan Craft?

I remember just turning 21 and being excited to try my first real beer. Unlike some of my friends I did not have much more than a sip of beer until that day. I also remember my disappointment and confusion when I had that first drink. I wasn’t able to figure out how people enjoyed it as much as they did. I honestly thought there was something wrong with me. If so many people drink and love beer, why don’t I? I decided to look into the world of craft beer, as small as it was at the time. In Lincoln I was able to mostly find Samuel Adams and Boulevard Wheat. Nebraska’s microbreweries were few and far between, with Empyrean being the only one that was really packaging at the time. The only other way to get non-domestic beer was to make it myself. That’s where my love of beer began.

 

A pint sized history lesson!

Prior to Prohibition the Nebraska beer scene was alive and well in Omaha. There were three main breweries at the time. These were Krug, Storz, and Metz. There were also a large number of smaller breweries in the Omaha area. Krug was the first brewery in Omaha, founded in 1859. It survived prohibition and was sold to Falstaff Brewing in 1936 and closed completely in 1987. The McCumbe Brewery was the second founded in Omaha, also in 1859. It was sold a few times before being bought and by the Metz brothers and renamed in 1861. It unfortunately closed due to prohibition. Storz Brewing Company was opened in 1863 as the Saratoga Brewery. It was bought and renamed by Gottlieb Storz in 1884. Storz survived Prohibition by becoming the Storz Beverage and Ice Co. in which they made root beer, ginger ale, and other soft drinks. They reopened as a brewery after Prohibition ended and stayed open until 1972. At one point it was producing a third of the beer sold in Nebraska. An attempt to revive Storz was made in 2013, but it closed again only two years later.

1990 brought Nebraska’s oldest brewery, Empyrean Brewing Company.  It started as a part of Lazlo’s Brewery and Grill and became its own entity in 1997, though it is still closely connected to its roots. Bottling and more widespread distribution began in 1999 and they have been steadily growing ever since. Spilker Ales was founded in 1994 in Cortland and produced its first beer in 1996. From 1997 until 2008 they brewed Hopaluia exclusively. They added to their recipe list a couple of times after that, but Hopaluia was their main focus until their closure earlier this year. Upstream Brewing Company opened in 1996 bringing the Omaha metro its first brewery since Storz closed. While both of these breweries made and sold beer, they also had a large focus on food. Thunderhead Brewing Company in Kearney opened in 1999 with a sole focus in making beer. This made them the first production brewery in Nebraska since Storz. With that, brewery openings slowed down to a near stop for about ten years.

 

Nebraskan craft beer on the rise!

The microbrewery boom in Nebraska seemed to start off slowly stating in 2007 with the opening of Nebraska Brewing Company and Lucky Bucket Brewing Company shortly thereafter. They enjoyed about three years of peace until the ball really started rolling. 2011 saw the opening of Blue Blood Brewing Company in Lincoln, its second brewery since Prohibition, and Loop Brewing Company in McCook. Four more breweries opened in Nebraska the next year, two more in 2013, and over ten more between 2014 and 2016. By August of 2017 there were nearly 40 breweries open in Nebraska. This is quite impressive if you remember that prior to 2000 there were less than five. Even now I am constantly hearing of plans of a new brewery opening or one that has recently opened.

While local beers remain popular, there seems to be only so much the public can handle. As the number of local breweries increases, some will inevitably fail. This year the state has lost Ploughshare Brewing Company after being open a short three years. They had some delicious beers and are missed by many.

Upstream closed one of its branches in Omaha and Spilker Ales closed its doors after 23 years. Fortunately their recipe for Hopaluia will live on through Thunderhead Brewing’s acquisition of the brand. As the market gets saturated with craft beer, this will unfortunately continue. But as they say, everything good comes with a cost. And if this is the cost to have world class beer available to every Nebraskan, it can’t be all bad.

 

 

#DrinkupNE

 

 

 

Just a pint of view!

As a chemist I have always found the process of beer brewing exciting and interesting. It’s amazing how you can take the same recipe to two locations and get different tasting beers simply because the water mineral content is different. I’ve been a homebrewer now for a little over ten year and I’ve also been distilling now for about a year and a half. In that time I have learned to truly appreciate all of the hard work and effort that goes into a great beer. Few people outside of the brewing industry really understand the time and dedication required by the brewmasters in a brewery. It’s a hard job and they work long hours, but most I have talked to wouldn’t change it for the world. They also are very proud of the beer that they produce and they love watching their customers enjoying the fruits of their labor. I’m very excited to see what the future of Nebraska’s craft beer community holds as it continues to grow. I look forward to trying all of the new breweries as they open and all of the new styles of beer that are released as the existing ones grow.

Now get out there and enjoy a pint of something new.

Cheers!

About the Author

Adam Stange

Craft Beer Enthusiast
Assistant Distiller – Brickway Brewery

What happens when you mix business with pleasure? Ask Adam, a life-long student of fermentation sciences, who takes great pride in what is both a hobby and a way of life! A laboratory scientist by trade but a de facto craft beer and spirits expert, Adam moonlights as the assistant Distiller at Omaha’s Brickway Brewery and Distillery. Quite and calculated, this intrepid alchemist puts every ounce of passion he has into crafting what some consider to be the best spirits produced in our state! If you happen to see Adam at work (typically on the weekends), be sure to throw a beer or spirit question his way as there is much to be learned from this up-and-coming enthusiast!

Brewing Community – History

by | Sep 26, 2017 | Adam Stange | 0 comments

A Nebraskan Craft?

I remember just turning 21 and being excited to try my first real beer. Unlike some of my friends I did not have much more than a sip of beer until that day. I also remember my disappointment and confusion when I had that first drink. I wasn’t able to figure out how people enjoyed it as much as they did. I honestly thought there was something wrong with me. If so many people drink and love beer, why don’t I? I decided to look into the world of craft beer, as small as it was at the time. In Lincoln I was able to mostly find Samuel Adams and Boulevard Wheat. Nebraska’s microbreweries were few and far between, with Empyrean being the only one that was really packaging at the time. The only other way to get non-domestic beer was to make it myself. That’s where my love of beer began.

 

A pint sized history lesson!

Prior to Prohibition the Nebraska beer scene was alive and well in Omaha. There were three main breweries at the time. These were Krug, Storz, and Metz. There were also a large number of smaller breweries in the Omaha area. Krug was the first brewery in Omaha, founded in 1859. It survived prohibition and was sold to Falstaff Brewing in 1936 and closed completely in 1987. The McCumbe Brewery was the second founded in Omaha, also in 1859. It was sold a few times before being bought and by the Metz brothers and renamed in 1861. It unfortunately closed due to prohibition. Storz Brewing Company was opened in 1863 as the Saratoga Brewery. It was bought and renamed by Gottlieb Storz in 1884. Storz survived Prohibition by becoming the Storz Beverage and Ice Co. in which they made root beer, ginger ale, and other soft drinks. They reopened as a brewery after Prohibition ended and stayed open until 1972. At one point it was producing a third of the beer sold in Nebraska. An attempt to revive Storz was made in 2013, but it closed again only two years later.

1990 brought Nebraska’s oldest brewery, Empyrean Brewing Company.  It started as a part of Lazlo’s Brewery and Grill and became its own entity in 1997, though it is still closely connected to its roots. Bottling and more widespread distribution began in 1999 and they have been steadily growing ever since. Spilker Ales was founded in 1994 in Cortland and produced its first beer in 1996. From 1997 until 2008 they brewed Hopaluia exclusively. They added to their recipe list a couple of times after that, but Hopaluia was their main focus until their closure earlier this year. Upstream Brewing Company opened in 1996 bringing the Omaha metro its first brewery since Storz closed. While both of these breweries made and sold beer, they also had a large focus on food. Thunderhead Brewing Company in Kearney opened in 1999 with a sole focus in making beer. This made them the first production brewery in Nebraska since Storz. With that, brewery openings slowed down to a near stop for about ten years.

 

Nebraskan craft beer on the rise!

The microbrewery boom in Nebraska seemed to start off slowly stating in 2007 with the opening of Nebraska Brewing Company and Lucky Bucket Brewing Company shortly thereafter. They enjoyed about three years of peace until the ball really started rolling. 2011 saw the opening of Blue Blood Brewing Company in Lincoln, its second brewery since Prohibition, and Loop Brewing Company in McCook. Four more breweries opened in Nebraska the next year, two more in 2013, and over ten more between 2014 and 2016. By August of 2017 there were nearly 40 breweries open in Nebraska. This is quite impressive if you remember that prior to 2000 there were less than five. Even now I am constantly hearing of plans of a new brewery opening or one that has recently opened.

While local beers remain popular, there seems to be only so much the public can handle. As the number of local breweries increases, some will inevitably fail. This year the state has lost Ploughshare Brewing Company after being open a short three years. They had some delicious beers and are missed by many.

Upstream closed one of its branches in Omaha and Spilker Ales closed its doors after 23 years. Fortunately their recipe for Hopaluia will live on through Thunderhead Brewing’s acquisition of the brand. As the market gets saturated with craft beer, this will unfortunately continue. But as they say, everything good comes with a cost. And if this is the cost to have world class beer available to every Nebraskan, it can’t be all bad.

 

 

#DrinkupNE

 

 

 

Just a pint of view!

As a chemist I have always found the process of beer brewing exciting and interesting. It’s amazing how you can take the same recipe to two locations and get different tasting beers simply because the water mineral content is different. I’ve been a homebrewer now for a little over ten year and I’ve also been distilling now for about a year and a half. In that time I have learned to truly appreciate all of the hard work and effort that goes into a great beer. Few people outside of the brewing industry really understand the time and dedication required by the brewmasters in a brewery. It’s a hard job and they work long hours, but most I have talked to wouldn’t change it for the world. They also are very proud of the beer that they produce and they love watching their customers enjoying the fruits of their labor. I’m very excited to see what the future of Nebraska’s craft beer community holds as it continues to grow. I look forward to trying all of the new breweries as they open and all of the new styles of beer that are released as the existing ones grow.

Now get out there and enjoy a pint of something new.

Cheers!

About the Author

Adam Stange

Craft Beer Enthusiast
Assistant Distiller – Brickway Brewery

What happens when you mix business with pleasure? Ask Adam, a life-long student of fermentation sciences, who takes great pride in what is both a hobby and a way of life! A laboratory scientist by trade but a de facto craft beer and spirits expert, Adam moonlights as the assistant Distiller at Omaha’s Brickway Brewery and Distillery. Quite and calculated, this intrepid alchemist puts every ounce of passion he has into crafting what some consider to be the best spirits produced in our state! If you happen to see Adam at work (typically on the weekends), be sure to throw a beer or spirit question his way as there is much to be learned from this up-and-coming enthusiast!