Upstream Brewery West; Original Pints, great atmosphere and Wonderful Fare

Located in the Legacy on the South side of Center and 171st, the Upstream brewery has become a favorite for after work, weekend dates, and all around casual dining. Yes, some think that Lazlo’s, Upstream, and Granite City are Similar. But as I wandered in at about 6 pm on a Tuesday, I’ll tell you a little bit about why it still shines in its own unique way. The Raspberry Lager and the O! Light lagers are my favorites. A bit like Samuel Adams and Widmer products, they are refreshing, crisp, with a finish of micro complexity that leaves you licking your lips. From Seattle to Oregon and Denver, the flavors that folks are coming up with now are more layered, and the finishes sweeter and crisper than ever.

I really would love to delve into the Heartland Hefeweizen, which is only available at the Old Market location, and plan to very soon. Instead, at legacy location there is American Wheat, which is a bit like Pete’s Wicked Summer Ale and Blue Moon, but other taste layers included that are due to the careful local craftsmanship. On the webpage there is also an excellent “Beer’s Life” section about the birth process for the thirst quenching goodies here. The root beer here, “bugeater” is also really something special, and it’s got to be pretty good if I was able to drink it along with an American Wheat. That’s just me, I wanted to try everything! For starters, I tried the Hot Artichoke and Asiago Cheese Dip, and the house baked garlic beer bread you get with it was really out of this world. While you are starting on your apps or main course, the smells of everything, even the beer, just waft around the place making it one big stellar warm hearth of a meeting haven. Which is what the pub is supposed to be, a place to talk about the day, warm up, and take a load off.

Asian lettuce wraps, potstickers, hummus, and quesadillas are among the other things on the appetizer’s menu, but I have to say that the Bacon Wrapped shrimp roused my curiosity bigtime. Finished with an apricot ginger glaze???? Sign me up, and pronto. The 12” personal pizzas are always a favorite, especially on “Pizza and pint night” Wednesdays. I have had the blonde, and finished it all on a Sunday afternoon after a long walk downtown. Greek, Italiano, BBQ, cheesesteak, and Roasted Veggie are the other options here. Now… the nitty gritty of this joint’s main courses is where the real attraction lies for me. The fish and chips and Beer Braised Pot roast is incredibly special here, as is the Reuben. I got the Reuben this time, perfectly complimented by the bugeater root beer.

My wife loves the mac and cheese here to no end, saying the bread crumbs on top are a slice of the upper level goods; prepared with immense attention to detail. Salmon, Glazed chicken breast, and steaks and filet mignons are available for a large lip smacking feast. The Brewer’s burger is another old standby that I have had about 9 times, never disappointing in the least. This large, very modern and urban location still hints at the coziness of a place like a ski lodge and everyone who works here is attentive, no matter how stressed or busy. Upstream is an Omaha staple that would probably still thrive if the Sun stopped coming up. But, I’m betting that the Sun will come up over Omaha tomorrow, and you’ll know when it’s time for a beer, and some truly refined pub grub.

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