Upstream Brewing Company - Old Market
Ratings: 76 | Reviews: 53 | Display Reviews Only:
4.36/5 rDev +8.7%
On the multi state hop today tonight, just over the line now from one to another. Bright lights, pretend city. I’ve got to tell you, Omaha is fuckin’ hoppin’, at least this little stretch of town is. Brick streets lined with cool shops & eateries, lots of beautiful people, I do dig. And parking lotside for a big $8 = Love. Time for a beer before highway heading East again. Halfway or more between here and there, this stop along the out of the way...
Big brick building a block away, enter and drop down to the bar, a large stained & dinged copper top rectangle, with a wood lip and piping foot rail, and baby lamps by which I write this along all around. Seating for 2 dozen on backed chairs, seems like it would hold more. 12 tap stainless steel box tower on each end, and a hand pump sunken below halfway down the bar.
Brick wall up front running the length, with tall narrow windows every 6 feet or so, and mounted flat screens in between along with mounted lamps or beer boards alternating. Rear wall is a glass front brew room with a logo board listing tap selections alongside, and the far wall is brick with larger arched window panels. Brick pillars separating the bar area from the rear room are nicely framed, done up with mounted TV’s and light paintings. The ceilings above me are black with playing cards stapled to it in clusters (silly casino town), blended duct work, drop framing piece in the center of the room with spot & track lighting, and spinny fans. The rear room shows stupid vaulted ceilings where the second floor isn’t, at least in the center of the room where the mezzanine runs around its perimeter. A ½ dozen hightops up front below the windows, plus another 3 dozen booths & tables between the area down past the bar and the rear; its seating sectioned and sharing benches in some places.
Sampler of 12 served in baby glasses on a mat, with standard entries noted, and spots for seasonals, brewer’s whims and cask add-ons. Everyone around me is marveling at my awesomeness and asking what it is like they’ve never seen a sampler before. Um, first time in a brewpub, freak?
6 standard house beers (“O!” Gold, a light light, slight bite; Honey Raspberry Ale, mild raspberry flavor, not enough to annoy; Capitol Premium Pale Ale, decent hoppiness, it’s a Pale Ale; Firehouse Red, a Vienna Lager, has the toffee, caramel sweetness I like in a red; Flagship IPA, big hoppiness, nice bitterness, good balance; Dundee Export Scotch Ale, full on maltbomb without the band-aid, hooray), 3 rotating style seasonals (Uptoberfest Octo, their seasonal Lager, a bit spritzy, malty, nicely balanced; Flussaufwarts Hefeweizen, their seasonal wheat, more clovey than banana, a solid Hefe; Wolfhouse Schwartzbier, their seasonal dark, wonderfully chocolatey roastiness, total win), a pair of brewer’s whims (Schnniedelwichsen Rauchbier, okay, that’s where the band-aid be, Ouch; Schnitzengiggle Roggenbier, good rye spiciness), and a single cask offering (Flagship IPA, all the corners off and everything else, too. Just meh).
Wolfhouse Schwartzbier was the absolute best of the lot, but the Uptoberfest Octo, Flussaufwarts Hefeweizen, Firehouse Red Lager, Dundee Export Scotch Ale and Schnitzengiggle Roggenbier were also very good. The weakest links in the collection were the cask Flagship IPA and the band-aid Schnniedelwichsen Rauchbier, but otherwise, I must admit that mostly everything is pretty good or better. Yes, I was totally surprised; it is Omaha, after all.
I have to go upstairs and investigate some (I just have to). I climbed the goddamn stairs, I did, and found that the front side holds a ½ dozen pool tables, with seating down on the end. The back side holds a dozen and a half tables running around 2 sides of the mezzanine, and a 12 seat bar up front with a dozen tables adjacent. Access from there to the rooftop deck with some seating there. Now back on the ground floor barside, I decided that I just couldn’t be bothered to go see what’s going on downstairs in the basement space (though I’m sure it’s mischief).
Good grown up crowd this Friday night, except I’m seated next to Cougarfest 2010. Lady, your perfume stink is killing my beer. And to think I nearly hit the pork potstickers but bagged having decided that food is so overrated. Just as well, wouldn’t been able to taste ‘em anyway. Good tunes, I got stuff that Randy would’ve hated hearing like ELP, ‘From the beginning’ (he’s so not prog rock); it’s too bad I just a few hours before, had to drop his shit off in Kansas City forever. Solid joint, good house, cool scene. No crazy Belgians or anything (although it seems they make a Grand Cru you can get at, bottled for $19), but some really well made beers.
05-04-2011 21:12:43 | More by slander
4.14/5 rDev +3.2%
This was the other brewpub in the Old Market area (yes, I was paying attention during your whirlwind introduction to the area, Fugazmi) and it sat on the corner of 11th and Jackson Streets in a former fire station (Firehouse BC, Rapid City, SD, here I come!).
Entering through the wide vestibule, I was suddenly in an even wider foyer that included a glass counter containing logo items straight ahead; the maitre d station slightly left; a cooler of growlers slightly right; and the washrooms off to the right, down a passageway. The copper-topped, wood-framed bar was to the left, down a couple of steps. Its shape was rectangular and I sat with my back to the window, but facing the restaurant area with its booth and table seating and beyond that, the brewhouse and fermenters. The décor included lots of exposed brick with the rest of the color scheme in muted earth tones of red, green and tan. The kitchen was down a passageway aft of the maitre d station. Next to the glass display case was a rack of house-baked breads (!) Eds Breads, are you listening? They also featured a Barrel-O-Meter. Among the logo items for sale, there were growlers, growler covers, and an embroidered sweatshirt, all of which appealed to me.
The second floor was called Upstream Billiards and consisted of eight (8) billiards tables; foosball; a vintage Ms. Pac-Man machine; its own bar; a large restaurant area; and an outdoor deck. It was an impressive setup. It never ceases to amaze me what can be accomplished with space and money. Even more impressive was the idea that they did not tear anything down to create this new place. Most impressive of all was the thunderstorm that blew through while I was upstairs gazing out the window. Trees were jumping around, the rain was sheeting, and the sky was a color that I hope that I never see again, outside of being deep underground taking shelter.
The sampler included eleven (11) beers, including two (2) barleywines (cask and CO2), which made me long for the days of the huge sampler at LNCBC. My favorites were the IPA, the Blackstone Stout and the cask-conditioned barleywine, although all of them were quite good.
11-08-2006 01:32:49 | More by woodychandler
4.13/5 rDev +3%
A 2-day survey at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant meant my first visit to Nebraska. The 24hr Hotel Shuttle Driver recommended to our party of 4 that we hit the Upstream Brewing Company for good food & beer.
Situated in the Old Market Area, a nice part of town, with plenty of other attractions, the area has a rather trendy feel.
The Upstream Brewing Company has a Wooden Hanging Sign, the style often seen swinging outside UK Pubs. The UBC is also located in the corner part of a large multi-floored red-bricked building. Near the entrance, there is a neatly organized outside dining area equipped with high quality furniture. Inside, you can either sit at the downstairs island Bar, or wait to be seated at the plethora of booths & Tables. You can also opt to sit upstairs as well, & eat there also, if you can get a Table. It was very busy on our visit, so we decided to wait for a downstairs Table, whilst drinking at the Upstairs Bar, made less formal with its Pool Tables & younger crowd, where it was also much easier to get served as well.
The beer range was 9 house brews, & with varied styles, though our Table Waiter seemed a little confused by the beer at times. A good job then that each Table has a short explanation of each beer on a UBC crib-card. I had several of the beers, including the Gold Coast Blonde, the IPA, Brown Ale, ESB, Stout & a 90 Shilling Ale. I was impressed with the range of styles, hence the 4.5, much better than the usual 4-5 suspects found in other BrewPubs.
The food range was good, well cooked, wholesome, & it arrived in good time. I had the Jambalaya; it was chunky & nicely spiced. The Steaks looked good also, but my co-workers thought they were a little pricey, even though we were eating on Expenses.
Downstairs the impressive looking Stainless Steel & Copper Brewery is set against the back wall, hidden behind a large glass viewing window. There is a good range of Brewery T-Shirts, Glasses, etc. on sale, hinting at an operation that is more commercially astute than beer focused perhaps. This may well be a harsh observation from just one visit I hasten to add.
All in all; on my one visit, I found most of the beers to be of well-above average quality, the food was good & solid, and the welcome warming. I especially enjoyed the IPA & Railyard Ale which was well on form during my visit. Next time I am in Omaha, I would not think twice about coming here again, alone or with co-workers. It is well worth a visit.
Last Visit: 23rd Sept. 2003
09-25-2003 03:13:18 | More by TheLongBeachBum
4.55/5 rDev +13.5%
This was the 178th brewpub I've visited in north america (where they brew their own beer on site). Business travel has its advantages.
I sat outside on a cool night and my only trip inside was for the restroom. From what I saw, the place had a cool interior and it looks like they have some sort of rooftop garden. It's in what's probably the coolest section of downtown Omaha which makes it a no brainer if you're in town. Lots of neat shops and restaurants if you want to eat elsewhere although our meals were both very good.
The beer. Well, anyplace that serves a double IPA is fine in my book. In fact, they didn't have a pale or standard IPA which seems a bit weird. I should have asked how much of the double they sell. Seems like a risky beer to have on tap. They also had a nice Belgium sesional and an ESB which were both very good.
The only problem I we had was the hilljacks behind us chain smoking the entire evening. It was outside so not too bad.
09-18-2006 20:49:18 | More by Yetiman420
3.83/5 rDev -4.5%
I like to go here anytime that Im in Omaha for business. Its located in the Old Market, which is an area of town that has been refurbished and now contains shops, bars, restaurants, etc.
The building is very attractive. It is light and airy and they did a nice job of maintaining some of the old architectural features. It is slighty more fancy than some brew pubs, but not stuffy at all.
The beer is good. I enjoyed their wheat beer and their pale ale. The honey raspberry ale is fine, but I can only have one, because it becomes a little too sweet. The ESB is well within style.
The food is also slightly fancier than pub fare. It is solid, if not outstanding and portions are decent. I have even hosted a few business diners here and have had good results.
The service given by the bar staff is very good. They are knowledgeable about beer and not stingy with samples. The wait staff was just ok and could use a little more training.
Seems to draw a nice crowd with a mix of locals and business travelers. I would recommend a stop when in Omaha.
02-25-2003 10:48:10 | More by Redrover
3.79/5 rDev -5.5%
The night I came here this place was packed, although it was nestled in one of the nicer parts of Omaha. I noticed they sell variants of beer from a reserve out front which is always a plus, although they did appear to be a bit on the pricey side. Inside it was nice place, although they were understaffed and the employees didn't seem very knowledgeable about beer. Most of their beers seemed to be standard fare on tap, although I did try the barrel aged Kurgan Wee Heavy which was very good. I will probably stop again because it is in such a nice area and for those that haven't been there it is worth a stop if you're in the area as you never know what they might have on tap out of their reserve.
03-15-2013 01:48:58 | More by MilwaukeeCrusher
3.78/5 rDev -5.7%
The last time I was in downtown Omaha, Randy Madsen and I were coming back from Dan Gable's Tiger wrestling camp at the University of Iowa. In 8th or 9th grade, our bus from Iowa City had broken down in Des Moines because the AC was out. As a result, we missed our connection home in Omaha to home and spent the night together at the Omaha bus station. One of use would stay awake to watch our stuff while the other slept. In the course of the evening, we played cards with a guy who was rolling a joint and each were propositioned by several hookers. All in all, a good learning experience.
Staying at the downtown Econolodge and walking to Upstream Brewing reminded me of my last trip. Still seems like a tough neighborhood (remember, I lived in LA below south central), but the rough wrinkles smooth by the time I got to the refurbished downtown area with a lot of bars and restaurants. My guess is that most folks drive and park nearby, and don't see much of the surrounding area. Classic refurbished downtown area for any large city.
Inside, Upstream Brewing is expansive with a beautiful brewhouse behind glass. Large bar and a ton of beers, but it's been a hot day and I'm not up for tasting all of the brews on tap. I order water and a menu to start, and get to having a Flagship IPA and fish and chips for dinner. Flagship is a marmalade colored, solid west coast IPA that reminds me a bit of Masala Mama from Town Hall, especially the color. Clean and fresh, it blends well with the good beer battered fish and mediocre chips.
For a second beer, the Saison was off for the Brewer's Whim, so I tried the 1936 Strong ESB for a lighter beer. Off white head dissipates quickly on top of a muddled amber ale. English hops on a caramel, malt and mineral base. Hearty ESB that one could sip for an evening.
Upstream is a perfectly good brewpub, but feels more like a tourist trap than a real local like Nebraska Brewing early today. Nothing wrong, per se, but not much to really attach to as a pub for me. If I find myself in downtown Omaha ever again, I would gladly stop for lunch but I wouldn't go too far out of the way.
10-11-2012 02:09:18 | More by FightingEntropy
4.1/5 rDev +2.2%
It is time to update my 2002 review, for freshness' sake.
I've been a steady customer at Upstream for years now. The range of beer is very solid and the standards are good drinking beers, IMO. I like the American Wheat, Stout, Scotch, ESB, and DIPA. I get very annoyed with some of the seasonal beers; I don't understand their fruity ale/wheaty drinks as they are redundant and a total waste of tap space. The cask beer rotates and, more times than not, better than the tap version. I was very happy to be able to get a pint on cask in Omaha. The best beer they brew is Ebenezer, a winter seasonal.
The food is very good. I do wish they would offer a couple cheap and easy appetizers to munch on while drinking the beer. That is the biggest flaw with this place, IMO. Some of the menu items are too pricy when I am just looking for something simple to eat, on the other hand, the menu sets up well for dinners. I guess I can't have my cake and eat it too.
The décor is typical, classy brewpub in a downtown setting... it looks A LOT like Court Avenue in Des Moines! The crowd is a good mix of T-shirt & jeans, "business" casual and polo's. It is dark inside with lots of exposed bricks and wood. The first level has a rather large rectangular bar with a few TVs. It is a smoking section. The rest of the first level has restaurant seating, the brewing equipment is exposed. Upstairs is a smaller bar, some outside balcony seating, 8-10 pool tables and more restaurant seating. This place can get very busy so do your best to sit wherever you can or allowed too. There is also patio seating on the main level. The basement is for parties and receptions.
I really like the pizzas ($7-12 for a 12 inch dish). My favorite is the BBQ-Chicken. The pasta dishes are flavorful and not too pricey. I like the jambalaya and fish and chips. The burgers are cheap and simple, sometimes overcooked. The steaks are out of my price range and thus I have never tried one...
The wait staff and bartenders are always friendly. Sometimes they don't know jackshit about the beer and that really pisses me off. I have heard them say the stupidest things to other customers, like "Oktoberfest beers are made with pumpkins." If you are sensitive to beer stupidity, you have been forwarded.
All in all, I like Upstream... I wish the seasonal beers were better but I still keep coming back. The food is good, I like the atmosphere too. Parking is okay, it is downtown so you might have to pay to park.
IMO, Upstream is a "must try" if you visit Omaha's Historic Old Market.
09-28-2005 14:46:29 | More by bditty187
3.93/5 rDev -2%
Upstream Brewing is a solid, urban, "comfort brewpub" in downtown Omaha. Which is to say, this is your standard brewpub that does everything well, hitting all the right notes and then some.
Standard 'brewpub decor' atmosphere. It's spacious, woody, and the servers mostly wear dark colors. The beers--an impressive twelve on tap, inlcuding the two seasonals and cask option--were solid; I especially enjoyed the light lager, oatmeal stout, and cask IPA. The 'saison' is a great spiced beer as well, but it's not a saison in any traditional kind of way.
Friendly service, tasty food (a great reuben on homemade bread), and free WiFi to boot.
There were several bottled beers as well--a Flanders red, lambic, oak-aged tripel and small-batch barley wine--but they were priced too far out of my range.
There's nothing mind blowing here, but the quality is consistently above average throughout; highly recommended for anyone driving through Omaha.
06-11-2008 21:19:25 | More by benito
Upstream Brewing Company - Old Market in Omaha, NE
90 out of 100 based on 76 ratings.