Beer Corner USA opened in 1996 at the corner of Farnam St. and 36th St. The owner, Bill Baburek, is also an owner at Infusion Brewing Company, which I wrote about a few months ago on this site. You can read more about it here. The major takeaway here is that Bill has been a contributor to the Omaha beer scene for over 20 years. Beer Corner USA is actually four different destinations for beer fanatics. I will discuss each of these in detail below.
First is the Crescent Moon Ale House, the original bar that opened in 1996. There are 64 taps in the Moon alone.
In the basement of that establishment, Bill opened the German-themed Huber-Haus.
Next door to the Moon upstairs is Max and Joe’s Tasting Room, named for Bill’s parents.
Lastly, though arguably most importantly, is Beertopia. Think about that name for a second. Beertopia. As in Utopia.
Locally, it’s known as the Moon. The menu at the Moon needs to be printed daily because they usually kill 7 kegs a day. The menu has the day it was printed at the bottom so you know how quickly things are changing. The Moon consistently receives national awards for their status as one of the top 100 beer bars in America. The hardware hangs on the wall to welcome visitors.
Max and Joe’s is right between the Moon and Beertopia. As you look through the doorways from Beertopia to the Moon, you can see a bit of Max and Joe’s. This space fills on busy days just like the Moon. It can be rented out for special private events too, if you are interested in hosting a group here. Each spring and fall, you can attend the Beer School program, which meets weekly in Max and Joe’s for seven weeks. You learn about how beer is made, and then you will focus on a country or region’s beer styles for the remaining classes. I wish every class included beer tastings and food. It’s a great way to delve deeper into the beer obsession you’ve been trying to hide for a while now. It’s okay. You’re welcome here.
The German-inspired portion of the business is a function of Bill’s visits to Germany to capture the international beer scene from across the pond. If you check the Facebook page for Beer Corner USA, you can join Bill on his trips to Germany to tour breweries and experience beer in its proper form. As I understand it, it’s pretty much a week of brewery tours, which sounds better than Christmas. The beers downstairs include 15 German beers on tap, but one American Helles has made the cut for authenticity. Surly Brewing’s Hell is also available, pushing the total tap count 16. Have questions about Surly? See my previous post about Surly as well.
You can stand in Omaha, Nebraska and buy a beer from all over the world in Beertopia. The selection is vast from both domestic and international products. The most recent release of Canadian Breakfast Stout by Founders Brewing resulted in a line out the door to Beertopia in the hours before the store opened. You can also get crowler fills here with a rapidly changing list of options.
The defining aspect of Beer Corner USA is the events. Each year, they shut the neighborhood down to host a two-day Oktoberfest party on the parking lot and surrounding streets. Trucks park and hold the kegs for the authentic German beers, and you can win a trip to the real Oktoberfest in Germany. They implemented a $5 cover to get in a few years ago to keep the crowds down, but instead of pocketing the money, it completely funds the trip they’re giving away. You could be the winner next year just for getting in! Other domestic beer trips to cities like Fort Collins CO, Asheville NC, or San Diego CA are always being planned and you are welcome to join!
Stay up to date on their Facebook page, their Instagram (@beercornerusa), and their email list to learn more about their events. On June 23rd, 2018, they will have a Polishfest to bring the large Omaha Polish population together around good beer, music, and food.
Another HUGE part of Beer Corner USA is the Reuben! Each year around November, there is another event called the ReubenFest. It’s all about the Reuben. It’s a classic Omaha sandwich. Depending on who you ask (someone who tells the truth or someone who lies), the Reuben has its origins in Omaha, not New York City. According to the story, it was born right across the street from the Moon at the Blackstone Hotel. People can come into the Moon for Reuben Egg Rolls, rollers, and other items that change for each year’s festival.
Regardless of what you decide to see, any time you can go to the Moon is a privilege. The staff are required to attend the Beer School so they are knowledgeable about your beer questions. There are far too many events on their calendar to discuss here, so you are best-suited to follow their social media or email list for specific events in the future.
To summarize Beer Corner USA, I would use the words International, Events, and Reuben.