My brother Ryan (one of my 3 younger brothers…I’ll try to cover each of them over time) started a really cool club in Omaha. He and a couple friends came into craft beers a couple years ago and it has turned into a bit of an obsession. They decided to act on this obsession by forming the Omaha Brew Club, a monthly(ish) gathering of friends and family where they get together and expand their horizons.
The concept is fairly simple…they outline a theme (i.e. in March they did Red Ales, this month’s was “Nebraskan Beers”) and each person is required to come toting their favorite beer and a $5 entry fee. The event culminates in a blind tasting where each beer is poured in 2-4oz samples around the room so the brew club attendees can taste, rate and guess which beer they are currently sampling. Everyone has a score card which is then tallied at the end of the evening and the beers are unveiled to many gasps (“I could have sworn that was Lucky Bucket Certified Evil”) and vindicated palates (“I knew #10 was Jaipur Jalapeno”). The person who brings the beer with the best score is crowned the champion of the evening and is awarded the money from the pot (in last night’s case, about $100).
In addition, Ryan and his friends cook up a feast worthy of kings. For the Memorial Day OBC gathering, it was a 24hr labor of love, complete with 30lbs of smoked brisket, potato salad, coleslaw, broccoli salad, smoked baked beans, cornbread, apple crisp and ice cream (EVERY bit of that menu completely made from scratch…..I was exhausted just watching them work, fortunately there was plenty of beer around to keep my thirst quenched).
Putting that much food and beer together will always spell a FANTASTIC time but the gathering was more meaningful than just re-connecting with old friends, meeting new ones, gorging myself with WAY too much BBQ or being completely surprised with how many great brews there are in Nebraska. For me, it was fun to watch these guys in action, taking a fairly simple hobby and turning it into something they could share. As a marketer, I often struggle with how difficult it can be to process and translate something I love so much into an experience others are able to consume.
As people filed out the door, it was great to hear people talking about what they learned, asking what next month’s theme was going to be and thanking everyone up and down for the hard work they put in. If you happen to be in the Omaha area and like beers, great food and even better company, I would challenge you to find their club on Facebook and stop by the next event. I can guarantee you’ll be welcomed with open arms as long as you have an appetite, a favorite beer and $5.
This month’s entry list with links to the brewers:
#1 Empyrean Dark Side Vanilla Porter
#2 Jaipur Jalapeno Beer
#3 Schilling Bridge Lemon Lime
#4 Empyrean Burning Sky Scottish Ale
#5 Jaipur Berry Wheat
#6 Empyrean Super Nova
#7 Corn Stalker Dunkelweiss
#8T Empyrean Watchman IPA
#8T Lucky Bucket Certified Evil
#9 Blue Blood 1327
#10 Upstream Brewing Flagship IPA
#11 Empyrean Chaco Canyon