On the fourth day of Omaha Beer Week, craft beer lovers gathered at the Crescent Moon at 36th and Farnam Streets with slow cookers full of chili, meatballs and macaroni and cheese.
After a weekend of tasting beers across town during the second annual 10-day celebration of Omaha's craft beer culture, it was time for a break from the beer tours, keg tapping parties and tap takeovers of the weekend.
Of course, there was beer here, too.
The rules for this particular potluck mandated that all dishes must contain craft beer — no exceptions, not even for baked goods. Entry to the event was one beer-infused dish, with plenty to share.
Jeff Culley made corned beef with Lucky Bucket's Certified Evil, a dark Belgian ale. Chris Bettini made coleslaw with a hoppy IPA. Amy Kroeger, the operations manager at the Crescent Moon and the bar's resident baker, made her famous pumpkin cupcakes, topped with streusel cream cheese frosting, with a spicy pumpkin ale.
(They were really good.)
During this week of beer-themed events, the more than 20 participating bars strove for creativity, Kroeger said. The Crescent Moon also planned a Canwood Derby -- basically a Pinewood Derby, in which the cars were crafted from a beer can and then raced around the bar. Other venues held chocolate and beer pairings, raw food and beer pairings, multi-course beer dinners, and more.
“We tried to come up with things that no one else is doing,” Kroeger said.
The beer-inclusive-foods-only potluck idea came from Bill Baburek, owner of Crescent Moon and one of the organizers of Omaha Beer Week.
Magazines such as Draft for beer lovers always include a beer-centric recipe, he said, and he figured the potluck would offer a chance to try some. Plus , he enjoys a good potluck.
“I've just always loved potlucks — church potlucks, family reunion potlucks,” he said.
And now, beer potlucks. If you weren't among the 20 or so diners who enjoyed this one, don't despair — Baburek said he suspected that Crescent Moon will have more such dinners in the future.
Same goes for Omaha Beer Week. If you haven't made it out yet, four days and dozens of events remain (though Saturday's Extreme Beer Fest is sold out). Tonight at 7, Lucky Bucket Brewery will pair up with Ted & Wally's for beer and ice cream pairings. On Sunday, several venues will offer beer Bloody Marys and other recovery drinks.
In other craft beer news, Lincoln based Modern Monks Brewery will roll out its first batch of gluten-free beer next week — the first Nebraska-made gluten-free beer as far as I can tell (are there any others out there?) The beer, called Batch #1, will be the first in a gluten-free series called Against the Grain. A release party will take place at Misty's at 11th and P Streets in Lincoln from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday.
WARM UP THE RUNWAY!
Omaha Fashion Week begins Tuesday with the annual Cancer Survivor Fashion Show. Wednesday is the first ever hair, makeup and accessories show; Thursday is children's apparel and bridal wear; Friday is ready to wear, and Saturday is avant garde, eveningwear, menswear and swimwear. All shows are at Kaneko, 1111 Jones St., and begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at www.omahafashionweek.com. Look for a preview of the event in Monday's Living section and continuing coverage through the week in the paper and on omaha.com.