One of Nebraska's gems is located in the Sandhills and about a 3 hour drive from Omaha. Ord, Nebraska, population 2,061 might not seem like a destination city but it is definitely one of my favorites! Why do you ask? Great small town vibe, beautiful scenic hills, and best of all - home of Scratchtown Brewing!
On the Road...
I love a good road trip and the "Keys to the Asylum Release" at Scratchtown gave me a good reason to get out on the road. That Saturday, my son Noah, best friend Jeff, and I hit the road in my Jeep. We had some great conversation and took in the scenery as we drove the country highways out to Ord. Nebaska has so many cool small towns like North Loup. Many refer to North Loup as the popcorn capital of the country. Each year the town hosts a Popcorn Days Fair and this year it is August 25 - 27th.
We made our way into Ord and there was the landmark we had our sights on - Scratchtown Brewing! Scratchtown is a very small brewery in terms of brewing space but some of the best craft beer in Nebraska comes straight out of this facility. The brewery is owned by 4 couples and the nicest people you could ever meet. I got the chance to chat with Caleb Pollard about all things going on in the brewery. I was fascinated to hear about the hops that he grows just outside Ord that goes into some of their beers. Also how the quality of water makes a big difference in the beer. Scratchtown has access to the Ogallala Aquifer for the purest water in Nebraska!
Mike Klimek is the brewmaster and in my opinion one of the best if not the best in Nebraska. Mike last summer gave a group of my friends and me an amazing tour of the brewery. It is so fun to talk to Mike because of his great passion for producing amazing beers and a good variety of them. If you get the chance to meet Mike, you have to ask him about some of the craziest ingredients that he has put into his beers like popcorn and donuts. There is always something that I get to learn about craft beer when I visit Scratchtown. On this trip, I learned how important the temperature of the beer is when serving it. For example, if you over chill the Barrel Aged OL' 59 Smoked Porter you will not get as much of the smoked malt flavor. Luckily for us novice craft beer drinkers they also put the recommended serving temperature on the bottle which for this incredible beer is 50 degrees.
What a day it was to sit outside and enjoy some of the beers of Scratchtown. My favorite of the day was the Vanilla Normal. This breakfast stout has a smooth milky finish with a hint of vanilla and coffee flavor. What a wonderful beer to enjoy on the patio! My friend Jeff, enjoyed the Big Joe Pilsner. He said this was by far the best Pilsner beer he has ever had. We also got some of the Imperial Beers from the "Keys to the Asylum Release" to bring back with us. What a treat to have some of the best imperials in your hands!
All Good Things Must Come to an End...
Well it was time to pack things in and call it a day. Thanks Scratchtown Brewing for your hospitality! Last year 300,000 visitors made their way through Ord and I hope they got some time to stop in visit Scratchtown. Truly a great experience I would recommend to anyone!
The map above has some of the other breweries and attractions in the Sandhills of Nebraska. Make sure you find your way out to some of the best brews and scenery in Nebraska!