Nightlife review: Even craft brew enthusiasts will find something new here

By Ashley Strehle Hartman / World-Herald correspondent

Published in the Omaha World-Herald, March 9, 2017

Casual Pint-OmahaWorldHerald

The Casual Pint — Countryside Village

Where: 8718 Countryside Plaza

When: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday

Info: 402-919-7468 or countrysidevillage.thecasualpint.com

* * *

Stop what you’re doing and go to The Casual Pint. Or go some time when it’s convenient for you instead.

Either way, just go.

You’ll be glad you did, especially if you’re a beer lover like me.

Like most beer enthusiasts, I’m always looking for a new place to get my craft brew fix and, in Omaha, a city of beer enthusiasts, there are plenty of options.

The Casual Pint, which opened up in central Omaha’s Countryside Village in December, offers something a little different, though.

“We combine a bar and retail space in one,” said Casual Pint co-owner David Vannier, “You don’t have to commit to buying a six pack, taking it home and hoping you like the beer. Buy one and open it in the store. If you like it, buy a six pack to take home.”

The Casual Pint has a rotating menu of 30 beers on tap and close to 200 beers by the bottle, so odds are you’ll find something you like enough to take with you.

For beer lovers, this extensive beer menu is a major plus. It might be a bit overwhelming for craft beer newbies, though. That’s where The Casual Pint’s staff can help.

The Casual Pint is a chain with close to 20 locations across the country, and they call their bartenders “beertenders.”

“Our beertenders are knowledgeable and love helping people find their new favorite beer,” Vannier said. “Even if you aren’t a craft beer lover, with 30 taps and 200 different singles, you will find something to drink that is new and exciting.”

I did.

I’ve tried my fair share of craft brews — or, more likely, more than my fair share — and I was pleasantly surprised to find a few things on The Casual Pint’s menu I’d never had before.

I got a flight so I could try a few.

I went with Founders Brewing Company’s Breakfast Stout, a hearty, coffee-flavored brew; Fort Collins Brewery’s Salted Caramel Scotch Ale, which had a strong but not overwhelming caramel flavor; Lincoln’s White Elm Brewing Company’s biere de garde, which was complex and unlike anything I’d tried before; and Ballast Point’s Mango Even Keel, which nicely balances its mango flavor with some serious hops.

All of the beers were completely different, but also, all of them were good.

And they’re just a small sampling of what’s available at The Casual Pint.

The bar/beer market also offers entertainment with a few televisions and a selection of board and card games, along with events such as trivia, dice and Bingo nights, and special deal nights like half price growler fills on Fridays.

They also have snacks. Their small but diverse food menu includes wings, chips and dip, soft pretzels, spiral-cut potatoes and flatbread pizzas. All of the food is between $5 and $10.

I’d recommend the Bavarian Pretzels with beer cheese sauce. You get three large, soft pretzel sticks with a generous portion of cheese for $8. The pretzels are great, but I’m partial to the beer cheese because even it emphasizes beer in the best possible way.

After all, that’s what The Casual Pint is all about — beer.

So, beer lovers, go to The Casual Pint already and bring your non-beer-loving friends with you. The Casual Pint just might have what it takes to change their minds.

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