Thursday, July 26, 2012

Great Nebraska Beer Fest




Paul A. Ner already posted about the Midwest Belgian Beer Fest taking place in St. Louis this weekend, but there's another regional beer festival coming up in August that you should definitely consider attending: Great Nebraska Beer Fest.

The festival, which is in its fourth year, will take place on August 25th in Papillion, Nebraska (a suburb just outside of Omaha..think Overland Park in relation to KC) at Shadow Lake Towne Center (think Legends or Zona Rosa style shopping center). So what makes it so special and worth making the drive up to Nebraska?

Well, while Great Nebraska Beer Fest has the 'usual suspects' of Midwest beer festivals (Boulevard, Schlafly, Tallgrass, Nebraska Brewing Company, etc.), they also have an interesting set of attendees that have never made their way to Kansas City, except maybe in a beer mule's luggage or car. Cigar City. Maui Brewing. Funkwerks. Crooked Stave. Victory. 4 Hands. Perennial. Heretic.

No, these breweries aren't distributed and sold in Omaha. So how is it possible for them to show up at this festival and pour beers? Well, it can all be traced back to a concerted effort made by Nebraska Brewing Company owner Paul Kavulak, who started the Great Nebraska Beer Fest. I was in Omaha last weekend and spoke to Paul briefly about how these breweries ended up participating. He said that initially, he and his wife went before the Nebraska legislature in hopes of convincing them to allow one-day license exemptions for breweries. This way, breweries could participate in festivals in markets that they don't distribute to, without having to worry about a bunch of legal hoops and ladders.

Well, unfortunately the government didn't bite on that suggestion. However, after his attempt to sway them, Paul learned of an alternative way to get these breweries into Omaha. Nebraska allows for temporary, 30 day licenses to be purchased. Paul/Nebraska Brewing Company pitched the idea of the festival to the breweries, offered to cover the costs for the temporary licenses, and just like that, Cigar City agrees and is in Omaha for a beer festival.

Along with the typical breweries and the rare, out-of-market breweries, you'll also get the chance to taste brews from some of the smaller Nebraska and Iowa breweries/homebrewers like Great River, Madhouse, and the Railroaders Brew Club.

For a full list of breweries that are currently set to pour, as well as other event information, visit the official Great Nebraska Beer Fest website. Paul noted that there will possibly be additions to the current brewery list, so keep checking to see if anyone new and interesting is added.

Tickets can be purchased here, and are $40 for general admission or $60 for VIP (gets you into the festival an hour before GA). DD tickets are also available for $10.

Get a group together to carpool and split gas money, find a cheap hotel, and make the short trip up to Nebraska for this. It will be well worth it!

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