There has been quite a rise in craft brewing here in Nebraska in the last five years. I was excited to be a part of that movement and became a minority investor in Blue Blood Brewing here in Lincoln. I wrote a piece profiling that brewery here.
Look for more profiles on Friday mornings throughout the summer, and feel free to recommend breweries. I’ll get to as many as I can this summer.
You can find the intro to the series here.
Zipline was started by Marcus Powers, Tom Wilmoth, and James Gallentine. Marcus & Tom worked on water law with engineers and hydrologists, many of whom are homebrewers. The two of them, along with some of their co-workers, formed a softball team, and many of the players brought their homebrews to the games. James was on the team, and was interested in starting a brewery. Marcus knew how to brew good beer and had a background in accounting, law, and science. In summer of 2011, Tom and James approached Marcus about starting a brewery, he declined. They came back in the fall of 2011 and got Marcus on board. They started brewing in November of 2012.
The brewery got its name because the founders are all travelers, but James has traveled most extensively, specifically in Latin America. Many parts of Latin America offer zip line tours, and James wanted to build one in their backyard. Once it was built, but before he could test it, his son used it and broke multiple bones in his arm. As the three of them got to talking, they realized that opening a brewery is a risk, and any time you ride a zip line, you’re taking a risk. The concept and mindset of the brewery aligns with the concept of outdoorsy, risk-taking sports like rock climbing, mountain biking, and skiing. Most people recognize the word "Line" in the logo appearing as L | NE, but few know that this doubles as a nod to the guys' home town, Lincoln, Nebraska.
Zipline is located right off of the interchange at Highway 77/West O/I-80 in Lincoln. You can see the 32' tall grain silo from 77 painted white with their logo. The address is 2100 Magnum Circle. The Taproom is open Wednesday and Thursday 3-8, Friday 3-9, and Saturday 1-9. You can get growlers and off sale of a good selection of their beers. Tours are currently suspended as they are putting new equipment in place, check the website for updates and other events.
See Zip Line’s website for more in-depth descriptions of the beer.
Year-Round beers are available all the time, wherever you find Zip Line beer. These are mostly traditional, good beers for people who are familiar with the style.
The seasonal brews are exactly what the name implies, only available for a limited time when the weather compliments the style (yes, that’s a thing!).
India Red Ale
Zip Line uses bourbon, wine, rum, and brandy barrels to age some of their beers and give them different, unique, complex character.
Oak-Aged India Red Ale (Bourbon barrel)
Oak-Aged Oatmeal Porter (Wine barrel)
Barrel-Aged Barleywine (Bourbon barrel)
Barrel-Aged Harumeku (Bourbon and brandy barrels)
Barrel-Aged Black IPA (Rum barrel)
Small Batch brews have VERY limited availability, and are around for a very short period of time on draft exclusively.
Single Blond Ale
Brave New Brew Limited Series is exactly as the name implies, fun beers with limited availability both on draft and in 12 ounce bottles.
Farmhouse Pale Ale
Chocolate Double Stout
You can find Zipline’s beers on draft and in bottles at bars throughout Lincoln and Omaha. Grocery and liquor stores carry a wide selection of their year-round and seasonal beers as well.
Zipline distributes widely in Nebraska along I-80, and up toward O’Neill and Valentine, but not as far as the panhandle or northeast Nebraska. The brewery plans statewide availability by the end of the year. They have a statewide distributor in Iowa, and are in eastern South Dakota.
Zipline has a huge variety of beers, and some unique flavors for every palette. Try the Copper Alt if you’ve never tried an altbier. The finish is different than what you’d expect if you’ve had a copper ale before. The NZ IPA has a great hops balance, but not an overwhelming finish, making it a great intro to people who don’t like hops, but can enjoy the balance of a good IPA. Their Oatmeal Porter has been, from my experience, their most renowned beer. Their Brave New Brew line combines and experiments with flavors, producing beers that are hard to find, and hard to forget.
Look for next week’s brewery on Friday morning! All of the brewery profile pieces will be available here throughout the summer.