We're drinking the flagship craft beer from every state in the Union, counting down from 50-1, to find which is home to the President of Beers.
#37 Golden Fraü Honey Wheat: Thunderhead Brewing, Kearney, Nebraska
State: The Cornhusker state. Famous for their corn. A few other things, too, like college football, Warren Buffett, Omaha Steaks, and inventing Kool-Aid. But mostly shucking, er, husking corn.
Brewery:Thunderhead Brewing Co., “purveyors of fine ales and lagers since 1999,” must be gaming the system or this election because how are they the state’s flagship brewery over Nebraska Brewing? Well, Nebraska Brewing doesn’t put out normal 12 ounce bottles—we ordered a bottle of Chardonnay barrel-aged Hop God from the state’s eponymous brewery but it’s not really a brew of the people, suitable for this contest.
Beer: Poured into the proper weizen glass, it presents thick head appropriate for this unfiltered, protein-heavy style, pleasing aroma of honey-baked bread with added sweetness of applejuice or lemonade, and the most confounding thin body and lack of flavor beyond water, even more surprising given its unusually high alcohol content of 7.5 percent.
Difficulty in obtaining in Oregon: Moderately easy. It’s not availible anywhere near here, but it’s legal (though expensive) to ship beer from Nebraska to Oregon.
Average Score: 57.8
PHOTO: Cameron Browne
Four years ago, I eagerly anticipated a road trip to Chicago specifically for the Nebraska portion. One of the few states I’d yet to visit. And I wasn’t going to let its reputation prejudice me against the experience because it always proves easily negated. I mean, parts of Kansas are verdant; there are bars and coffee shops aplenty in Utah, everyone I met in Mississippi had teeth. But yeah, Nebraska, just like neighboring Iowa, is cornfield after cornfield after cornfield. In fact, that drive which saw my girlfriend cum wife riding shotgut yielding a game wherein whenever we see any corn the first to yell “Corn” wins. And it’s ruined things like Corn Nuts and tortillas for me ever since.
But the best part came after a nice dinner at the Upstream brewpub in Omaha. We’d called ahead to the cheapest motel we found listed and confirmed a vacancy, and to hold it, my girlfriend gave her surname, Rosenberg. When we arrived, we were greeting by a lovely cashier who spouted off about her love of Hebrew National hotdogs and that the skin cream she buys at Target is from Is-rye-ale. I didn’t pick up right away that she was proving herself to be no anti-Semite. But when I put down my credit card to pay and—what’s this?—my surname didn’t correspond to that of the lady next to me, well we were sinners and fornicators and she wanted nothing more to do with us.
Still, those Cornhuskers make some great beer. Golden Fraü Honey Wheat just ain’t one of ‘em.