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CornNation Profiles Lucky Bucket Brewing

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CornNation's Summer Brewery series swings back to the big city and takes a look at Lucky Bucket Brewing in LaVista.

This week I decided to profile one of Nebraska's best known breweries, Lucky Bucket in LaVista. Lucky Bucket's been around for awhile, and also has distillery, called Cut Spike which is part of the same company.

The rest of the profiles from this summer's series can be found here. The idea for this series this summer was born from the fact that my wife and I are investors in Blue Blood Brewing out of Lincoln.

Background

Lucky Bucket was started in 2008 in LaVista, with its first beer sold in January 2009. The brewery and the distillery were started at the same time, but the brewery took off much more quickly than the distillery, leaving the distillery to kind of become a side project, rather than an equal part of the business.

The company was started by Jason Payne, a graduate of the University of Iowa with a Biology major/Chemistry minor. He abandoned his pre-med program at the last minute, much to his parents' chagrin. Out of college, Jason worked for Cargill in Industrial Fermentation as part of the division responsible for testing and developing biodegradable, corn-based plastic. Since he was already working on fermentation, a vital part of the brewing process, he decided to change paths.

Jason went to work for Upstream in downtown Omaha running the brewpub and brewing, as well as helping to get the West Omaha location up and running. While doing that, he earned his MBA from University of Nebraska at Omaha, drew up a business plan, found investors, and started the company.

Lucky Bucket was the first production brewery in Omaha since the 1980's. The name comes from the old beer traditions of either drinking your pints in the local saloon, or taking a bucket to the saloon to have it filled and enjoy your drinks at home.

Location

Lucky Bucket's brewery is at 11941 Centennial Road, Suite 1 in La Vista. The tap room is open from 4:00 - 10:00 pm Wednesday through Friday, and 11:00 am - 5:00 pm Saturday. Tours are at 5:30 pm weekdays, and noon, 1:30, and 3:00 Saturday. There is a $3 charge for tours, and last between 30-45 minutes. Private tours are also available.

Beer

Lucky Bucket is planning to expand their beer line again in the near future, so check their website frequently for updates.  Jug Thumper Brown is a recent addition to the line up, and the first for quite awhile.

Year-Round Beers

  • Pre-prohibition Style Lager
  • India Pale Ale
  • Heartland Wheat
  • Certified Evil Imperial Porter
  • Jug Thumper Brown Ale

Seasonal Beers

  • Spring Break Belgian Saison
  • Belly Flop Strawberry Blonde
  • Oktoberfest Ale
  • Snowsuit Belgian Spiced Abbey

Availability

Lucky Bucket is available in Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota on draft in bars and restaurants. Bottles of Lucky Bucket are available in your favorite stores in those states. Cut Spike liquor is available along I-80 in Nebraska.

Verdict

Strawberry blonde was the first style of beer I had after turning 21, and Belly Flop does not disappoint. I tend to think that pre-prohibition style beers are only well-liked because there's a sense of nostalgia there, and they they should stay pre-prohibition. However, I've had a couple as I've been researching this series that have changed my mind, and Lucky Bucket's Lager is a delicious malty, with a touch of hops, lager. Lucky Bucket's IPA should be a staple for hops lovers.

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