A cold brew is typically a good idea, no matter the season. But when it’s warm out, light beers are sure to quench your hankering for something refreshing. Local Nebraska breweries serve some of the best brews to keep you satisfied this summer.
To help you maximize your beer journey this summer, use this list of great local breweries.
First off, there are two types of beers, lagers and ales, depending on how they were fermented. And within those two styles, there are sub-types.
Lagers tend to be mild and crisp and ales lean, sweet and full bodied.
To find both near you, check out this list of popular brews and where to try them:
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Mild in taste. These local breweries pour nice lagers.
- Cosmic Eye Brewing: For a crisp finish, order the Dead Man’s Run, aka, what this brewing company refers to as a “beer-beer.”
- Site-1 Brewing: Order the Galactic Goat American Light Lager for its name, sip it for its light flavor.
Named after the Bohemian city of Pilsen where the first pilsner was born in 1842, this pale lager is golden and has a bitter taste and floral hop aroma.
- Brewery 719: For a pilsner as close to its origin as you can ask for, check out the Czech Mate, noted for its strong presence of Saaz hop. Looking for something a little lighter on the taste buds? The Just a Light Beer is an easy sip for long summer nights.
- Scratchtown Brewing Company: Stop at the Sandhills’ first-ever brewery for one of Nebraska’s finest hop-forward brews, Big Joe Pils, made with some of the freshest water on Earth.
- Lost Way Brewery: Brewed in-house, the NE Pilsner is a Czech/Bohemian brew that tastes like elegance and is served with class.
Unlike lagers, ales range in flavor from light and fruity to mildly bitter and even slightly sour.
Check out these Nebraska breweries for their popular ales:
Making their first appearance in England in 1703, these pale malt-brewed ales range in hue from golden to amber and can be poured in an array of styles and tastes.
- Lost Way Brewery: Three different hopping techniques make the Chinook Me All Night Long American Pale Ale a unique earthy sip with each keg.
- Backswing Brewing Co: Their “Golden” Ale is an approachable sip worth the trip to either location: Lincoln or Omaha.
- Pint Nine Brewing Company: Citrusy, dry and crisp, the Cloud Jumper Pale Ale is the velvety addition you didn’t know your summer needed.
India pale ales, or IPAs, are a style of pale ale but made with more hops to give it a stronger flavor and usually with a higher alcohol content.
- Backswing Brewing Co: If you’re looking for an American twist on an English-style brew, ask for Backswing’s signature IPA. Named after the brewery, its moniker is one not to be forgotten.
- Site-1 Brewing: For IPAs on the fruitier side, try their Exponents & Variables and C’est Bon Hazy IPA, both hazy.
- Fairfield Opera House: For a flavorful sip sans over-the-top bitterness, ask for this brewery’s Yippee Ki Yay IPA.
This top-fermented beer is brewed with an imbalanced proportion of wheat to malted barley (making it light in flavor and high in effervescence) and consists of two overarching styles — Belgian Witbier and German Weissbier — with several sub-styles. American craft brewers developed their own Hefeweizen recipe, which eventually replaced the style’s distinctive yeast with cleaner-fermented ales.
- Upstream Brewing: If a classic, dark German wheat is your style, Sunny & Regen Wheat Beer is the perfect combination of malt, chocolate and hef yeast.
- Scratchtown Brewing Company: For a citrusy brew that’s well-balanced, give the Hot Iron American Wheat Ale a taste. The staff says it’s best enjoyed alongside their area lakes, rivers and hills.
- Peg Leg Brewing: This brewing co.’s best-of-both-worlds wheat beer is the epitome of clean, clear and crisp like an American wheat, with a hint of coriander and orange peel like a Belgian Wit. The staff dubs thee “American Wit.”
Originating in Cologne, Germany, Kolsch-style brew follows the Reinheitsgebot (strictest of German beer regulations). This light and very drinkable style is often paired with subtle fruitiness and a crisper, cleaner finish than a lager.
- Fairfield Opera House: A little bit of fruitiness goes a long way with the Little Blue Kolsch, a light and crisp German-style ale with low hop bitterness.
- Five.0.Five Brewing Company: Seasonal Lecker Kolsch is a Cologne brew that begins clean and ends delectably fruity.
Brewed with wild yeast, sours span a range of styles with sour or tart components. European sour ales in specific house a strong wheat characteristic, while other sours are fruited. Gose is a specific style of sour that is brewed with salt and seasoned with coriander.
- Peg Leg Brewing: On the hunt for a steady sip? Check out the brewing co.’s all-star Prickly Pear Fruited Sour, a true fruited Berliner Weisse-style brew.
With moderate bitterness and maltiness, this style of ale is relatively light and easy to drink. Its similarities to mass market lagers make it an appealing style for craft beer newcomers to transition.
- Divots Brewing: The (Belgium) Breezy Summer Blonde offers a smooth clove finish for the more adventurous beer-goer interested in a slightly different mouthfeel.
- Five.0.Five Brewing Company: If you’re feeling groovy, ask for the Razzbaby Blonde Ale, a clean and fruity blonde ale with low hop bitterness.
Light, fruity and highly carbonated, Saisons are considered the more refreshing beer options during summer’s hottest months. Originating in the farmhouses of Wallonia (French-speaking region of Belgium), these traditional ales are now classified as farmhouse ale.
- Cosmic Eye Brewing: A blend of fermented Norwegian farmhouse yeast and white wine yeast come together in the Time Is a Ghost Farmhouse Ale to create a soft and crisp brew with a subtle pineapple and white wine finish.
- Upstream Brewing Company: For those interested in more subtle blends, the Pierre’s Saison Sèche Farmhouse Ale offers a balanced mix of hop and fruit.
Simply put, fruit beer is any beer where fruit is added (typically, strawberries, plums, raspberries and cherries). Although the addition of fruit only first appeared in select styles (lambic, for instance), it recently morphed into a trend. Now, there are three categories of fruit beer: American-style fruit beer, wheat fruit beer and Belgian-style fruit beer. Understanding each style is crucial to understanding what you are drinking. Some of the most popular styles of fruit beer include wheat, sour (lambic, gose, berliner weisse, wild ales) blonde ales, stouts, IPAs and pale ales.
Many Nebraskan breweries are proud to include fruit beers in their portfolios and are thrilled for you to ask more about them.
To learn more, visit nebraska.beer/find-nebraska-beer.