It was a crisp evening in late October, and I was thirsty for a brewery I’ve never visited. Enter Infusion Brewing Company in the Benson neighborhood of Omaha.
It only makes sense that I enjoyed my experience. Infusion owner Bill Baburek has staked out a notable beer reputation in Omaha. After carving success at the Crescent Moon Ale House and Beertopia, Baburek turned his attention to another dream: owning a brewery.
When the Olson’s Market building came on the market, Baburek turned to Benson’s growing beer scene for the site of Infusion Brewing Company, which opened in 2012. While there is definitely a sense of history to the building’s restoration—highlighted by a series of large-format vintage brewery tin tackers—I found the use of lighter woods to impart a clean, modern feel to the taproom area.
More wrapped up in conversation with my drinking partners than tasting a flight and taking notes, I managed to wash four Infusion beers across my tongue for inspection: Butcher Block Brown, Vanilla Bean Blonde, Joel Porter, and the pint I purchased, Infusionfest.
The first two came from sips of my companions’ beers. The brown was good, and the Vanilla Bean was quite vanilla-y. Overly so, and a bit sweet, for my palate. The Joel Porter was quite good. Everyone I shared it with loved the roasty nuances of coffee, vanilla, and what I perceived as brewers licorice. It had nice body, and had I stayed longer I may have ordered one. At the time, I knew nothing of the beer’s makeup, other than it was a porter called Joel. I later looked online and found that it had been dosed with Hawaiian Macadamia Nut Coffee at flameout, which made all sorts of sense. Nice beer. I enjoyed it. The bulk of my time was spent with Infusion’s rendition of an Oktoberfest-style beer, Infusionfest. I was pleased. Packed with malt character, it was clean and utterly drinkable for a nice sit-down with friends.
Though my ability to visit Omaha seems limited, I learned on this trip that in the last few years, some of the new players—including Infusion—in the city’s beer scene have certainly helped to raise Nebraska’s game, and I look forward to a return visit.
BONUS: Benson Brewery is less than a block away.