Nebraska Brewing Company opened its LaVista brewery in early 2014. Since then, the brewery has dominated the state craft beer scene. It has nine of the top 10 brews in Nebraska, according to Ratebeer.com.
We took a tour of the facility, because they offer tours. We’re not hardcore beer drinkers, as previously stated. We like to check out places that interest us, and the NBC brewery interested us.
Located at NBC’s Tap Room (the original restaurant/small brewery is in Papillion), the tour took about an hour. It can range from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the group’s mood and how much talking he wants to do, joked our guide Ian. Ian has a speech impediment, which he discussed. But, it doesn’t deter from an outstanding tour. He is one of the best tour guides we’ve met over the years of doing this blog.
The tour highlights the brewing process, from when the grain is delivered through the canning of the beer. It was a fun tour, as he mixed humorous anecdotes.
The brewery uses five grains to help determine the color and aroma of the beer.
NBC brews about 30 barrels at a time. They can brew up to 90 barrels per day, as it takes about 6-7 hours per batch.
During the craft beer process, NBC ferments its beer for two weeks. All non-wheat beer is filtered. They have about 10 fermenting tanks.
Beer is aged for six months in old whiskey and wine barrels. Each barrel can be used at least twice. The “barrel room” can hold up to 500 barrels at a time. The room is kept at 75 degrees Fahrenheit for consistency. The room can also be rented out for group functions.
The brewery cans its beer at a small work station. About 40 cans be filled per minute. The cans are manually pulled as six packs and loaded on to pallets.
I asked about their bottling. Ian and later Tyson (the Overlord of Brewing) minced at the question. Bottling is a serious chore, consuming a lot of time by a lot of people. They bottle based on order requirements. It’s not a daily function. And, apparently, not a lot of fun. It can take up to three days to fill an order, using people eight hours a day.
Nebraska Brewing Company has a pretty good market base – 25 states and Japan. Texas is the top state for marketing. There are times when that state could take everything in the warehouse, they joked.
The brewery produces about 10,000 kegs annually. They have more than 25 beer flavors. Brunette and Cardinal Pale Ale are among them. They created a special beer that is served at Werner Park, home of the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers baseball team. The Ale Storm won a gold medal at a San Diego competition this year. Several of the brewery’s products are national award winners.
NBC also creates seasonal brews. Wick for Brains is in stores now. The Halloween-themed beer consists of a pumpkin flavor. It had a great taste and aroma. It was one of two beers we tried during the visit.
Nebraska Brewing worked with the alternative rock band 311 to create a special brew carrying the band’s name. The Omaha-founded band wanted a brew to help celebrate its 25th anniversary of playing. The result was 311’s Amber Ale.
In addition to selling beer at the Tap Room, customers can grab a meal. We were told the Panini is a great sandwich to have there. We will have to follow up on the suggestion.
The original brew house is located at the Nebraska Brewing Company restaurant and pub at Shadow Lake shopping center in Papillion. It opened in 2007. We’ve dined there and have enjoyed the food.
Nebraska Brewing Company is the organizing host of the 7th annual Great Nebraska Beerfest Aug. 22 at Werner Park in Papillion. About 100 breweries from across the United States will be on hand to celebrate craft beer. The fest runs from 2-6 p.m. Tickets and other information can be obtained at www.greatnebraskabeerfest.com.
The Nebraska Brewing Company brewery tour was one of the best we’ve seen. The love for craft beer and brewing is evident. If you like beer, or just checking out new things, take the tour. You’ll have fun.
For more information on Nebraska Brewing Company, please visit www.nebraskabrewingcompany.com.