Explore the Best Breweries in Nebraska: A Craft Beer Lover’s Guide

If you’re in pursuit of the best breweries in Nebraska, you’ve come to the right place. Navigate the landscape of Nebraska’s craft beer with our definitive guide.

From Lincoln’s pioneering ale artisans to Omaha’s bold IPA innovators and the small-town charm of unique brew stops, we promise a no-fluff journey to the heart of the Cornhusker State’s top-tier breweries.

Key Takeaways

  • Nebraska’s craft beer scene is booming with a variety of offerings from local breweries such as Empyrean Brewing Co., Zipline Brewery, Brickway Brewery & Distillery, and Scriptown Brewing Co., each with their unique styles and flavors.
  • Beer lovers can explore Nebraska’s various craft beer locales, from Lincoln’s exclusive lagers and ales to Omaha’s rich stout and IPA scene, which includes national award-winning brews like Zipline Brewing Co.’s Copper Alt.
  • The craft beverage experience in Nebraska is not limited to beer—the state’s distilleries and wineries provide additional tasting opportunities, creating a comprehensive sampling experience that encompasses spirits, stouts, and wines.

Nebraska’s Premier Craft Beer Destinations

In the craft beer cosmos, Nebraska is a star on the rise. Renowned for its delicious blends and unique IPAs, the state is home to breweries that are not just pushing the boundaries but breaking them altogether.

The Nebraska beer scene is as varied as it is vast, with breweries offering everything from:

  • lagers
  • pilsners
  • peat-smoked porters
  • distinctive jalapeño ales

In a state where the craft beer industry is booming, a handful of breweries stand out. These include:

  • Empyrean Brewing Co.
  • Zipline Brewery
  • Brickway Brewery & Distillery
  • Scriptown Brewing Co.

Each of these breweries has carved a niche for themselves, offering beers ranked among the top 90 according to data from BeerAdvocate. Why are they held in such high regard? Allow us to delve into the specifics.

The Artisanal Ales of Empyrean Brewing Co.

We commence with an icon. Empyrean Brewing Co. holds the title of Nebraska’s first craft brewery, established all the way back in 1990. The brewery began its journey at Lazlo’s Brewery & Grill in Lincoln and has since expanded, adding a sister restaurant, FireWorks, to its roster.

Over its 30-year history, Empyrean Brewing Co. has crafted a diverse range of beers, such as Mochaccino Milk Stout, Lemon Weizen, and Black Ale. The brewery has remained true to its roots, retaining its original core batch of beers and reflecting a dedication to brewing tradition.

With over three dozen beers reaching more than 2,100 locations, Empyrean Brewing Co. is a true testament to the state’s vibrant craft beer scene.

Zipline Brewery: Green Brewing Innovations

Moving on, we encounter Zipline Brewery, a brewer with a deep commitment to sustainability. Zipline’s dedication to green brewing is evident in their operations. They process approximately 75% of their solid waste through recycling and incorporate water-saving methods into their brewing process.

But Zipline is not just about environmental responsibility. They also offer a diverse range of seasonal and small-batch beers to cater to all palates.

So, whether you’re a fan of hearty stouts, hoppy IPAs, or something a bit more unusual, Zipline Brewery has you covered.

Brickway Brewery & Distillery: Omaha’s Craft Hub

Brickway Brewery & Distillery, nestled in the core of Omaha near Farnam House Brewing Company, has emerged as a magnet for craft beer and spirit aficionados.

Brickway offers a rich variety of over thirty beers, including year-round options like Session Series Pils and Coffee Vanilla Stout. They’re also renowned for their signature Jalapeno-Pineapple Pil.

Seasonal offerings at Brickway include:

  • Raspberry Hef
  • Cold IPA, also known as a refreshing cold one
  • Epic Blackout Stout from the Bison Series
  • Maple Pecan Brown Ale from the Throw Back Series

For those who opt for non-alcoholic beverages, Brickway also produces a Ginger Beer. So, whether you’re a beer lover or a teetotaler, Brickway has something for everyone.

Scriptown Brewing Co.: Classic Brews Meet Modern Flair

Scriptown Brewing Co. excels at harmonizing traditional beer styles with the incorporation of contemporary flavors.

Their beer lineup includes:

  • The traditional Saaz-hopped Czech dark lager (Big Jim Pivo)
  • Flavorful blends like ‘Ups and Downs’ beer-and-coffee mix
  • The hoppy ‘Hazy Daisy’ New England IPA

One of their standout offerings is the ‘Nut Job’ – an American-style brown ale renowned for its classic taste. This beer is just one example of how Scriptown Brewing Co. crafts a unique space for itself in Nebraska’s craft beer landscape, blending classic brews with a modern flair.

Tasting the Best Beers Across the Cornhusker State

Now that we’ve acquainted ourselves with Nebraska’s top-tier craft beer locales, it’s time to embark on a journey to taste the finest beers the Cornhusker State has to offer. The state’s brewmasters have been hard at work, crafting top-ranked offerings that have gained national recognition.

Zipline Brewing Co., for instance, boasts a national champion brew in the form of their Copper Alt, which clinched the gold medal at both the U.S. Open Beer Championships in the Altbier category and at the Great American Beer Festival in 2015. But they’re not alone.

Empyrean Brewing Company, Nebraska Brewing Company, and a host of breweries have made their mark on the craft beer scene, offering an array of beers that cater to every palate.

Exclusive Lagers and Ales of Lincoln

In Lincoln, Nebraska’s capital, aficionados of craft beer are in for a delightful experience. Here, breweries like:

  • White Elm Brewing Company
  • Zipline Brewing Co.
  • Boiler Brewing Company
  • Code Beer Company

offer flagship beers that have become a significant attraction for beer aficionados.

Zipline Brewery’s Copper Alt, a German-style ale with a smooth and crisp finish, is another must-try. And let’s not forget Scriptown Brewing Co. with their diverse lineup including the Muddy Mo Amber Ale and Dos Amigos Mexican Lager. Indeed, when it comes to exclusive lagers and ales, Lincoln is a city that delivers.

Omaha’s Stout and IPA Scene

We now proceed to Omaha, a city that’s making waves in the stout and IPA scene. Take, for instance, the earthQUAKER Oatmeal Stout – a distinctive brew that’s won over many stout enthusiasts.

Nebraska Brewing Company’s Black Betty Imperial Stout, aged in whiskey barrels, adds to the richness of Omaha’s stout scene.

Meanwhile, for IPA lovers, offerings like Zipline Brewing Company’s NZIPA with its tropical hop profile and Kros Strain Brewing Company’s revered Fairy Nectar IPA make Omaha a city worth visiting for the hop-forward beers alone.

Additionally, the city’s beer enthusiasts can enjoy the classic taste of Dundee Export Scotch Ale.

Sip and Savor: Nebraska Breweries with Delectable Food Pairings

What could possibly elevate a perfectly crafted beer? Pairing it with a scrumptious meal, obviously! Nebraska breweries offer a variety of craft beer and food pairings that enhance the tasting experience by complementing the flavors of both the beer and the dishes.

Whether it’s Luna Sea ESB paired with grilled steak and caramel desserts, Long Route Peanut Butter Porter complementing grilled meats and Thai cuisine, or Third Stone Brown® that’s perfect with Southwest dishes, Nebraska’s breweries are committed to delivering a holistic tasting experience.

Granite City Food & Brewery: A Perfect Blend of Taste and Ambiance

Granite City Food & Brewery distinguishes itself in Nebraska’s realm of beer and food pairing propositions. Using a patented brewing process called ‘Fermentus Interruptus’, they’re able to create custom-tailored beers with unique flavor profiles.

But the experience at Granite City goes beyond just beer. Their diverse menu features high-quality American cuisine that pairs perfectly with their brews.

Signature dishes, like the Maple Pepper Bacon Flatbread, are specifically crafted to complement the unique flavors of their house-made beers. With its perfect blend of taste and ambiance, Granite City Food & Brewery offers not just a meal or a beverage, but a memorable occasion.

Upstream Brewing Co.: Pub Fare Meets Craft Flare

Situated in Omaha’s historic Old Market district, Upstream Brewing Co. presents an exclusive fusion of pub cuisine and craft beer ingenuity. While the menu features traditional pub-themed dishes, there are also more unusual options like burrata with olive tapenade and crispy cheese curds, showcasing their culinary creativity.

But what truly sets Upstream Brewing Co. apart is how each dish is carefully paired with their craft beers. This ensures an enhanced tasting experience that highlights the flavors of both the cuisine and the innovative beer selections.

So, whether you’re in the mood for classic pub fare or looking for something a little different, Upstream Brewing Co. is sure to deliver.

Explore Nebraska’s Taproom Trails

Prepared for an unparalleled road trip? It’s the perfect moment to set off on Nebraska’s Taproom Trails. These curated journeys take you through an array of unique beer-tasting experiences across the state.

The trails encompass a blend of urban and rural breweries, providing a diverse backdrop of locations and scenic views to enjoy while indulging in craft beers. So, buckle up and get ready to explore the craft beer landscape one taproom at a time!

Main St. Must-Visits: Pawnee City’s Craft Gems

Pawnee City marks the initial stop on our Taproom Trails. This charming town is home to a selection of craft breweries that offer visitors an opportunity to experience locally produced beers.

Along Main Street, you’ll find breweries that provide a cozy atmosphere for sampling unique brews and engaging with the local brewing community. So, if you’re looking for a craft beer experience with a small-town vibe, Pawnee City is a must-visit.

Fremont’s Finest: A Hop Haven on Every Corner

Subsequently, our journey takes us to Fremont, where breweries like Five-O-Five Brewing Company are making their mark on the downtown microbrewery landscape.

Their handcrafted beers reflect the town’s commitment to brewing artistry and embody the community spirit.

These brewing establishments embrace their historical significance, creating a taproom environment that pays tribute to it. Whether you’re a history buff or a beer enthusiast (or both!), Fremont offers a unique craft beer journey you won’t want to miss.

Beyond Beer: Distilleries and Wineries Complementing Nebraska’s Breweries

Nebraska’s craft beverage landscape extends beyond just beer. The state is also home to distilleries and wineries that complement the breweries, offering a comprehensive tasting experience.

Craft distilleries in Nebraska produce an array of spirits including whiskey, vodka, and gin, often incorporating locally sourced ingredients. Meanwhile, Nebraska’s wineries and vineyards take advantage of the state’s unique terroir to produce wines with distinctive flavor profiles.

So, if you’re looking to venture beyond beer, Nebraska’s distilleries and wineries have you covered.

Spirits and Stouts: A Match Made in Nebraska

Let’s now discuss the harmonious pairing of spirits and stouts in Nebraska. Local distilleries craft spirits that can complement the flavors of stouts and other craft beers brewed within the state.

This makes for an engaging day trip where visitors can enjoy both craft spirits and beer. So, whether you’re a beer lover, a spirits enthusiast, or both, you’ll find plenty to savor in Nebraska.

Vineyard Ventures Near Brewery Hotspots

Nebraska provides a distinct experience for wine connoisseurs interested in tasting both premium wines and exquisite craft beers. Vineyards in Nebraska are situated in a variety of locales, ranging from serene countryside settings to vibrant urban areas.

The combination of vineyard and brewery visitations offers a comprehensive experience in tasting Nebraska’s alcoholic beverage offerings. So, whether you’re a wine connoisseur, a beer aficionado, or simply someone who appreciates a good drink, Nebraska’s vineyards and breweries offer a unique tasting journey you won’t want to miss.


We’ve taken a journey through the heart of Nebraska’s craft beer scene, exploring the state’s premier craft beer destinations, tasting the best beers across the state, and savoring the delectable food pairings offered by Nebraska’s breweries.

We’ve also ventured beyond beer to discover the distilleries and wineries that complement the state’s breweries, offering a comprehensive tasting experience.

From the artisanal ales of Empyrean Brewing Co. to the sustainable innovations of Zipline Brewery, from the cozy brewpubs of Pawnee City to the bustling taprooms of Omaha, Nebraska is a state that has something to offer every beer lover.

So, the next time you’re looking for a beer-cation, remember – the Cornhusker State is waiting to welcome you with a pint (or two) of its finest brews!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is special about Nebraska’s craft beer scene?

Nebraska’s craft beer scene is special because it offers delicious blends and unique IPAs, with some breweries having beers ranked among the top 90 according to BeerAdvocate. So, if you’re a craft beer enthusiast, Nebraska is definitely worth checking out!

What are some of the top craft beer destinations in Nebraska?

If you’re looking for top craft beer destinations in Nebraska, you should check out Empyrean Brewing Co., Zipline Brewery, Brickway Brewery & Distillery, and Scriptown Brewing Co. You won’t be disappointed!

What kind of food pairings are offered at Nebraska’s breweries?

Nebraska’s breweries offer a variety of craft beer and food pairings, including traditional pub-themed dishes and more exotic options to enhance the tasting experience. Enjoy exploring the delicious combinations!

What’s on offer besides beer in Nebraska?

Besides beer, Nebraska is also home to craft distilleries producing whiskey, vodka, and gin, along with wineries and vineyards offering distinctive wines. So, there’s a variety of spirits and wines to explore in Nebraska!

What are some must-visit places on Nebraska’s Taproom Trails?

You should definitely visit the craft breweries in Pawnee City and the Five-O-Five Brewing Company in Fremont if you’re exploring Nebraska’s Taproom Trails. Enjoy your trip!