When it is time to pop open a cold one, your go-to is a familiar beer brand. But if you like beer and supporting local businesses, there are comparable beer styles made by local beer makers that with just one sip might surprise you. This time of year especially, Nebraska breweries house some of the best seasonals, freshly brewed and in your neighborhood. Even if you’re not a beer drinker, some breweries offer hard ciders, beer sours and seltzers, as well as a selection of craft spirits and wine varieties.
Ready to sample these offerings? This list features the most notable beer styles and descriptions to help you order at a Nebraska brewery.
Beer falls into one of two categories: lagers or ales. The latter consists of six main styles: British origin, North American origin, Belgian and French origin, Irish origin, German origin, and other origin. Each style has multiple subsets, totaling over 70 styles. Of these, here are some of the most popular:
- Brown ales: Usually range in color from amber to brown and are characterized by notes of chocolate, caramel, citrus or nuts.
- Pale ales: Noted by their copper hue and fruitier palates.
- Indian pale ales (IPAs): Like the name, they’re pale in color and notably hoppy.
- Porters: Distinguished by their deep hues and smooth flavors of chocolate and toffee.
- Stouts: The more complex ale, varying in shades of dark brown and black. Often full-bodied in flavor, but not in alcohol content. Can be considered dry or sweet and sometimes bitter, and typically include notes of chocolate and coffee.
Pale Ales and IPAs
- Steeple Brewing offers Kitchen Kerfuffle, a creamy ale that’s easy to down. According to their menu, it is “something everyone can agree on.”
At Corn Coast Brewing Co., try their Nebraska Surf League blonde ale if you’re into ales that are light, aka fewer calories. If sweet is more your style, their Belgian blonde Devil Dog Golden Ale, or either of their amber ales Shuck Yeah! or Shucking Guv'na are stellar choices for a clean yet malty body.
- Mac’s Creek Brewery Irish Ale is a good choice if you want a more balanced blend of malts and barley for a profile that’s technically bitter with a sweeter taste.
Stouts and porters
- Thunderhead Brewing describes their Peat Smoked Porter as “a satisfying black beer.” More adventurous beer drinkers should give their Your Argument Is Invalid Imperial Stout a taste.
- If chocolate milk is your kryptonite, Benson Brewery recommends its Velveteen Milk Stout. It’s basically an adult version with more complex notes of amaretto, chocolate and mocha. Order a nitro for a smoother texture.
- At Flyover Brewing Company, try their award-winning Oatmeal Stout, which they describe as “roasty and refreshing.”
- Jukes Ale Works is the go-to for delectable beer concoctions like bananas foster, cookies and cream and PB&J. Their Merlin's Cream Ale is made of flaked corn and specialty grains for a slightly sweet, well-balanced taste.
- Pals Brewing Company says its Bourbon Bent, Whiskey Bent and seasonal stout are all great if you're a stout lover.
- Zipline Brewing Co.’s Oatmeal Porter is most similar to a stout in that it’s a dark roast, which makes for an ultra-rich brew.
Ciders and liquors
For some, the ‘hoppiest’ of hours does not include drinking beer. This person may be your spouse or your best friend, but you love them anyway, those dear non-beer drinkers. No need to let your next brewery outing fizzle, consider the following options so you can bring along your bestie non-beer drinkers, too. These places have something for everyone.
- At Saro Cider, you can order a variety of year-round and seasonal ciders, including Sangria, Dry Citrus Cider and Wild Berry Cider.
- For non-beer drinkers, Boiler Brewing Company often recommends a fruit-heavy beer, cider or mead.
- In addition to beer, Brickway Brewery & Distillery crafts vodka, gin, whisky and rum to satisfy your taste.
- No matter your preferred flavor profile, Kros Strain Brewing is sure to offer you something that matches your palate from their foeder program — a variety of saisons, sours and other mixed culture beers.
- Stone Hollow Brewing Company has a house cider and a fruited cider, as well as a fruited sour beer that doesn’t taste like your average beer. If neither of those is your style, they also serve a variety of mixed beverages and wine.
- Nebraska Brewing Company has a year-round lineup of four craft seltzers — blackberry, grapefruit, mango and pineapple — plus a variety of new flavors they consistently introduce as additions for a total of six flavors during any given time.
To learn more, visit nebraska.beer/find-nebraska-beer.