Lincoln bars, liquor stores put own spin on beer week

 


Add one more event to the list of craft beer-centric things to do this summer.

Actually, make that an entire week's worth of events.

Sunday will mark the beginning of the first Lincoln Beer Week, and bars and liquor stores across the capital city are planning events with local breweries, a tap takeover, tapping parties, specials and more.

Jesse Erickson, the events manager at Jake's in Lincoln and one of the event organizers, said this particular beer week (Omaha has an annual beer week in February; many other cities across the country also designate a week specifically to celebrate beer) started as many events do — during a conversation in a bar. Initially, she and other organizers planned the first Lincoln Beer Week for next spring. But after the annual Jake's block party was moved from May to August on account of bad weather, they decided to hustle and time the week to coincide with the party, which will take place Aug. 17.

The hope, she said, is that Lincoln Beer Week will provide craft beer lovers with plenty of new brews to taste while also attracting a few new fans.

“We want this to be a week of fun and conversations and also a learning experience for everyone involved,” she said.

The week will also provide those who take part with plenty of opportunities to sample beers from local breweries including Blue Blood, Modern Monks, Zip Line and Empyrean.

The schedule of events is still being finalized, but a few bars have their events set. For example, Yia Yia's, 1423 O St., is planning some kind of event every night of the week, starting Sunday with $1 off all bottles and draws from Zip Line, a new Lincoln brewery. They'll also offer a special Zip Line brew — Chocolate Oatmeal Porter.

Participating bars include Yia Yia's, the Cask, O'Rourke's, Jake's, Barrymore's, Sandy's, Brewsky's and Sam and Louie's; two liquor stores — N Street and Moran's — are also planning events. For more information, see https://www.facebook.com/#!/lincoln.beerweek.

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Bingo has been experiencing a bit of a renaissance among a much younger crowd in recent years; in April, it spurred the Wall Street Journal to run a story about the trend with the headline, “How do you spell Hipster? It could be B-I-N-G-O.”

Since then, Bingo has come to the Sydney.

Artist Caitlin Little hosts the weekly event, which takes place on Wednesdays at the Benson bar, 5918 Maple St. Typically, bingo runs from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., but if the crowd's into it, it sometimes goes later, Little said.

The weekly event, which started earlier this summer, is free, though those who attend are encouraged to bring extra pennies to use as chips. Bingo night tends to draw people of all ages, Little said, and winners receive prizes — say, a shot glass or a T-shirt — after each round. The winner of the last round of the night gets a $20 bar tab.

Most of the time, bingo night at the Sydney is pretty laid back, Little said. Bingo, after all, is not a particularly competitive game.

“You don't see anyone flipping out or getting crazy.”

But she does try to keep things interesting. One night, when two women called “bingo!” at the same time, she made them arm-wrestle for the prize. Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Proposition 8, she had the crowd play “equality bingo,” in which players tried to make equal signs on their cards and called out “born this way!” when they had successfully done so.

“We try to mix it up,” she said. “It's not super serious. It's just something fun to do.”

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