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CornNation Profiles: Empyrean Brewing

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Wrapping up the Lincoln portion of the series, and transitioning to the Omaha portion, CornNation drinks, enjoys, and reports on, Empyrean Brewing in Lincoln.

Imperial Mango IPA.  Fantastic summer brew!
Imperial Mango IPA. Fantastic summer brew!

As we continue to talk about the craft brew scene, Empyrean Brewing seemed a logical segue between the Lincoln breweries and the breweries in Omaha, as Lazlo’s, the restaurant associated with the brewery, has two Lincoln locations and one in Omaha.

Lazlo’s was the first craft beer I had when I moved to Lincoln, and it was the first in the city.  Since then, others have popped up, and you can see all of the pieces in this series here.

As mentioned previously, I am a minority investor in Blue Blood Brewing in Lincoln.

Background

Empyrean was started in Lincoln in 1990 as Lazlo’s Brewery and Grill by Rich Chapin, who is still the head brewer; Brian Boles, current CEO; Jay Jarvis; and Dr. Rod Basler.  The Empyrean name is the brainchild of Rich.  Empyrean means Heaven/utmost paradise.  Rich’s thought was that people want to drink beer in paradise.

Since it’s founding, Empyrean split from Lazlo’s, and became it’s own brewery, though it is featured heavily by Lazlo’s.  The company has grown hugely, and is widely distributed.  It is also the best known and most-widely available craft beer from Lincoln. The company’s history is long and in-depth, so jump over their website to learn more.

Location/Hours

The brewery is located right next to Lazlo’s in the Haymarket in downtown Lincoln.  You can see the brewhouse from the Lazlo’s dining room.  The physical address is 729 Q St.  They do tours once a month on the first Monday, except in December.  The tour is limited to the first 150 people, and includes samples and information provided by Rich, the lead brewer.

The brewery has just acquired land in the south Haymarket, and will be looking to move the brewery and include a taproom/tasting room and gift shop.  The exact time frame of the move to be determined at a later date.

Beer

Visit Empyrean’s beer page for great descriptions of their beers.

Year Round Series

  • Watch Man IPA

  • Chaco Canyon Gold

  • Burning Skye Scottish Style Ale

  • Luna Sea ESB

  • Third Stone Brown

  • Dark Side Vanilla Porter

  • Collapsar Oatmeal Stout

  • Father Donkey Amber Ale (available exclusively at Watering Hole)


Eccentric, Seasonal, and Limited Beers

  • Fallen Angel Sweet Stout

  • Super Nova Summer Fest

  • Domino Effect Transition Ale

  • Aries Marzen Oktoberfest

  • Winter Axis FestivAle

  • Carpe Brewem Limited Release

Availability

The best selection of Empyrean beers on draft are available at Lazlo’s restaurants in Lincoln and Omaha, and FireWorks restaurant in Lincoln.  You can also find a great selection of their beers at Watering Hole restaurants in Lincoln.

You can find Empyrean beers on draft and in bottles at bars and restaurants around the state.  Empyrean Beers are also available in four-, six-, or twelve- packs most any place you buy beer in eight states including Nebraska.

Verdict

It’s my opinion that it took Empyrean far too long to brew an IPA, but the Watch Man comes through beautifully.  It’s well-balanced throughout and the hops stays after the finish.  Father Donkey is a great, though hard to find, amber.  Domino Effect is my favorite of the Empyrean beers, but this time of year is a great time to take advantage of the Super Nova Summer Fest.

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