Being a Nebraska native for over a decade now there were a number of things I had to get used to. Once you get passed the crappy weather, boring scenery and annoying stereotypes people around the country throw at you it’s not half bad. As a beer drinker though, your choices aren’t near as exciting as other parts of the country. It’s been gradually getting better in recent years, but it was slim pickens for a while- at least once I burned through the readily available choices.
Nebraska Brewing Company wasn’t always around when I first moved and to be honest, the first time I was able to try the majority of their lineup I wasn’t all that smitten. For several years all that was available as packaged in stores were their Reserve Series beers which all carried a $20 price tag per 750 ml bottle- which I don’t always tend to default to on my beer runs. Then February of this year (2014) the long awaited canned offerings started rolling into stores with their core lineup of Cardinal Pale Ale, IPA, EOS Hefeweizen and Brunette Brown Ale. Eventually I plan to write up each of them, but I wanted to start with what I consider the best of the bunch.
Fall is probably my favorite time of year. I love the weather, I love Halloween, but most of all I love the release of pumpkin beers. Granted, breweries get a little over zealous and put out their fall seasonal while still in the grips of summer, but who am I to complain. The weird thing for me is that I hate pumpkins. I don’t hate the look, I don’t necessarily hate carving them, but I do hate the smell when they are being carved. So why do I love pumpkin beers so much- the short and easy answer is I don’t really know.
In all likelihood my love comes from all the spices like cinnamon and nutmeg that create a very pleasant smell and taste, plus the alcohol does help to lower my normal picky sensibilities when it comes to most tastes and smells. Being a picky eater once I get a few beers in me it’s not unlikely that I will probably eat foods I would normally turn away with extreme prejudice. My beer tastes aren’t nearly as picky as I will try almost anything and now that we are well within pumpkin beer season, here are my thoughts on the slew of beers I’ve had so far this year!
My first official beer fest is in the books and one thing is certain- it will not be my last. I had a blast walking around and chatting with fellow beer lovers, enjoying beer with some friends, but most of all getting to try a whole bunch of new and exciting beers all in a span of a few hours. A few things kept me from getting to everything I wanted to try, the biggest being the unrelenting heat that chased me into the A/C next door to the tent area after about an hour and again another hour or so after venturing back out. I did get around to all the beers I for sure wanted to mark off my list before I put up the white flag and left the fest and I’m so glad that I did.
In my preview of the fest I expressed my excitement to try the beers that Cigar City, Firestone Walker and Stone were bringing and that excitement was certainly justified. I had earlier in the week attended a Stone Pint Night at a local craft beer bar and had a few of their beers I hadn’t had and also picked up a few at my local bottle shop knocking out most everything they were bringing except for their 2013 Russian Imperial Stout which I though was quite good and very boozy, but also not something that stood out at least for me when all was said and done. However, unrelated to the beer fest I tried for the first time Stone’s Ruination IPA both on tap and in a bottle and immediately after expressed that it would probably be in my top five of IPAs that I’ve tried. (more…)
This year (2013) will be the first year that I attend The Great Nebraska Beer Fest- which is actually only in its 5th year of existence. Honestly, it’s my first beer fest in general since changing the format of my little blog here over the last year. So to celebrate I decided to try to cover as much of the event as I possibly can, including this post which comes to you just a week before the event.
Naturally, the GNBF is a great way to taste a lot if Nebraska brewed beer and as someone who is originally from the Midwest and currently resides in Nebraska local beer is something I really like to support. That being said, there are a lot of visiting breweries that have my taste buds giddy with excitement and several that don’t currently distribute to the state. So, a week before the fest I wanted to profile just a few of the breweries and the beers that I’m looking forward to checking out while attending and hopefully being able to follow up after the event to share my thoughts on some of my favorite beers of the fest. (more…)