Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Extreme Beer Fest Review

This last Saturday the 23rd was the second Annual Extreme Beer Fest at Beer Corner USA in Omaha. This event sold out about a week before the event and in my opinion lived up to my expectations and in many cases exceeded them.

As some of you know it was my birthday that day and I told the wife that she was taking me there for my birthday. She was a little apprehensive because she isn't much of a beer drinker but she was willing to suck it up for me. We arrived shortly before 4pm and had to wait in a short line before they opened the doors, they funneled us through Beertopia, I guess to make me drool and want to stop and shop, and into Max and Joe's we went. They had the beers set up at tables based on distributors and in the basement(Huber Haus) was the Nebraska breweries. We sat down and reviewed the list and made a game plan on what beers we wanted to try. I was a little nervous that it was going to get overly crowded and unbearable based on the fact they sold out so I wanted to get a plan in place. It was a good idea, although the crowd was not unbearable by any means.

We first started with some Jolly Pumpkin Bam Bier, a very good Farmhouse ale and then moved to the new Boulevard offerings, their Smokestake series, for their inaugural serving in Nebraska. They were all good with the Double IPA approaching very good. My wife enjoyed the Saison the best, not my favorite. It started to get really crowded upstairs and I wanted to go meet some of the Nebraska Brewers that I have corresponded so much with through email, so downstairs we went.

Empyrean was serving some special barleywines that Nick let us know about. One was brewed with a Lager yeast at ale temps and another with ale yeast. They were both good, I found the ale yeast more to my liking but Nick was the opposite. I am more particular to American Barleywines though and definitely liked Upstream's Batch 1000 better. I guess I just like my hop flavors more than malt character.

I then recognized Paul from Nebraska Brewing and went over and introduced myself and had a couple of their beers. The aphrodisiac cherry porter, Chermaca, they were pouring was a big hit with my wife and I and most people I spoke with. I can't remember what the aphrodisiac was but I am sure Paul will chime in to let us know. I will tell you this, if personality is any indication of future success, Paul and his head brewer Dean Dobmeier, will be enormously successful. They were so gracious, energetic and some of the nicest people I have ever meet in the beer business and that is saying a lot because people in the business are generally very nice. My hats off to you Paul and your staff, you are on to great things I bet. I also had a quick chance to meet Rich from Gottberg, but it was just a hello as he was busy pouring his(really Paris's as I was informed later) Empress of Darkness Imperial Porter, which was very good.

From there we went upstairs and grabbed some supper, let me tell you, if you have never had their fried pickle chips you are seriously missing out. After eating we poked and and jabbed our way on to the Finnochiaro table. This was my only complaint, beer festival etiquette was not taught to most of these people. They treated this thing like a buffet line around the table. They just stood in front of a section and tried every beer and drank them right in place. DRINK AND MOVE PEOPLE!! That was minor though and no major issues arose that I saw. While waiting in line we ran into Nick again and he said they had a table up front, perfect. So we made our way up there.

I got to re-meet a couple people that I had meet at RIS tasting a year or so ago. Great people, Todd Wyatt and his wife were the gracious hosts of that party and are truly beer geeks and very nice people. I also got to meet the infamous Paris, Rich's wife from Gottberg. I say infamous because I follow Rich's blog and she is mentioned regularly on there and, well, she was the brewer of the porter that evening, at least according to her. :-) I could see having too much fun hanging out with Paris I am sure. We managed to get a picture with us all and from there it was time for us to go. From left to right, my Wife Lisa, me, Paris, Nick and Todd.

I hope to make it again, if it keeps up like this though they are going to need to hold it in the Qwest Center soon. Well done Beer Corner, my hats off to you and your staff and I hope to see you next year. They will be holding Bock Fest real soon, check out the calendar for the date and time.


Paul said...

Nate - it was great to finally meet you and your wife Lisa!

We're having a lot of fun with the Chermaca and I think others are as well. If outside creativity is any indication - it's going over great. The Moon even came up with an Irish Carbomb variant that I can't call by name here... Pretty darn tasty.

The aphrodisiac is called Maca and it is a South American herb that among other things is known for being a natural Viagra.

Our Lead Brewer is Dean Dobmeier and he has been brewing for like a bzillion years. He's had stints at Goose Island, Jone's Street, Breckenridge, and Jobber's Canyon. He saved his best work for us though! Chermaca is Dean's handiwork. When we first started talking about this little venture he was talking about wanting to use a few special ingredients back then.

In fact, Dean and I originally met back at Jone's Street back in my early homebrewing days. When I got my brewery tour I knew I had to do it someday.

Thanks for the kind words and we hope to see you again soon!


Nate B. said...

Thanks for the clarification, I need to start taking notepads.

CJ said...


Sounds like you had a great time there Nate!! Glad that you enjoyed yourself.

Also sounds like Paul needs to put a warning on that Chermaca beer. Now your Doctor will have to ask you when you show up in the ED if you have been drinking any Chermaca...ha ha ha. Seriously though, I would like to try that beer. I hope there is some left on St. Patty's day.

And it looks like the whole Omaha crew from the Nebraska beer blog was there. Nick, I think you need to rip that Nebraska Tar Heel sweat shirt off old Sledge Jr. there...ha ha ha

Well, I hope to see Nick and Sledge at the Bockfest.

Peace out

CJ said...

That's supposed to say "show up in the ED complaining of chest pain"....

nickspies said...

Yeah, that sweatshirt was the talk of the night. He got it at Walgreens...why in the hell would they market a Nebraska sweathirt in that color?!? He had someone put on the "Tar Heel" part.