Double dose of the Old Market
Did you know that Omaha is leading the way with several craft breweries from which to choose ? We decided to try one and met at Brickway Brewery (1116 Jackson Street) . Brickway is a relatively new business, which is not only a brewery but also a distillery. The old building has a wonderful décor that is cozy to settle into a session of beer tasting and conversation. Copper still lines one wall, brick and tin-type ceiling tiles line the other walls. Very fun environment. There were many tables, but only a few had persons enjoying a beverage.
THE BEVERAGES and FOOD:
Sarah tried their Pilsner which was a light and fresh tasting beer. Jim is not a beer drinker, but settled on a chardonnay which he described as great! Buttery, mellow and smooth. Patty tried the Coffee Vanilla Cream Stout with bold coffee overtones. This is best described as a sipping beer; complex with a smooth finish. Rick enjoyed the Imperial Stout which has a high alcohol content (10.3%) and was very good. The business also sells growlers, which appeared to have a fair amount of beer walking out the door to go home to be enjoyed by customers in their own homes.
Brickway could and should make improvements in their food offerings. The Pretzel bread with spicy hot mustard dipping sauce was delivered still frozen in the middle. We ordered the Pretzels as a snack basket, but they were out of them. So they opened a bag of Gardetto mix and sold us a pint of Gardetto’s, which was straight out of the bag. While Brickway does a fantastic job with their ambience and beer, they are weak on their nibbles to pair with your beer. Go in thirsty, but, don’t go in hungry.
THE SERVICE: The service was great with a friendly server who listened, laughed, and talked when appropriate
...next, onto the Upstream Brewery, for dinner.
None of us have ever been in the place when it was not busy, and this evening was no exception. The place is enjoyable to be in, always clean, well decorated, and just plain fun.
We were quickly seated and served our choice of beverages. Upstream does a great job with their beers. Their menu even makes “pairing suggestions” for each entrée with the suggested beer. Our table tried Red Lager (crisp, fruity and refreshing) and Stout which was rather uninspiring. The waitress said this was a nitrogen beer, which means it has smaller bubbles. Rick thought it tasted “flat”. Check it out for yourself.
Jim ordered the Beer Braised Pot Roast with a wedge salad with 1000 Island dressing served with a side of whole wheat bread ($11.50). The Pot Roast was cut with the grain so it should have been stringy and tough, but it had been cooked so long that the strands of meat were tender and literally fell apart. The kitchen could use a lesson on how to cut pot roast against the grain to improve tenderness. But, he does like overcooked roast, so no loss for him. Jim liked the potatoes which were Yukon Gold smashed potatoes, all covered with beef gravy. Instead of the vegetables, Jim substituted an iceberg wedge salad, which was fresh and crisp and typically comes with blue cheese crumbles and blue cheese dressing.
Sarah tried the Black Bean Veggie Burger ($9.25) which had a spicy sauce accompanying it on a house baked bun. The veggie burger was crumbly with black beans, peppers, corn and onions but was a typically good veggie burger. Nothing special. Sarah chose as a side the smashed Yukon Gold potatoes, which she thought were rather pasty in taste, caused from over-whipping the potatoes.
Rick ordered the Pork Schnitzel ($17.75) and thought the pork with tough and greasy. The schnitzel came paired with the smashed potatoes and vegetable of the day. Rick also liked the smashed potatoes and felt that the vegetable medley was undercooked, at a definite crisp, partially-raw stage. As Rick prefers his vegetables to be cooked tender; a swap of Sarah’s potatoes for Rick’s vegetables ensued and both were happy. Sarah will eat vegetables anyway they come out of the kitchen.
Patty tried the Beef Stroganoff ($15.50) which had very good flavor. She felt it was sparse on the beef tips and would have preferred a shorter noodle so it would have been easier to eat. Served with a big slice of whole grain bread to mop up the generous portion of sauce, it was a good meal choice.
Jim wished that the waitress would have delivered the salad earlier as he didn’t get much of it eaten before the entrees came.
Brickway’s food is losing them business as they have another strong competitor around the corner who also has great beer and good food. They could also update and expand their web site to promote their business better.
Omaha has yet to discover and embrace Brickway, but they certainly should give it a try.
As for the Upstream, the restaurant itself can seat and serve a huge crowd. It was neither noisy nor congested despite a large dinner crowd. The menu is varied with decent appetizer choices if you are just there to drink the beer, as well as thin crust pizza, soup, salads, hand-cut steaks, numerous and varied entrees and burgers and sandwiches. They have space and staff to accommodate large groups and have predictably good food for any number of tastes buds.