Sunday, June 17, 2012

Traveling, and thus having trying some local microbreweries.

Recently, I had the chance to travel. Travelling for a graduate student is mainly one purpose only, research related. This trip was to present research at the Entomological Society of America North Central Branch Annual Meeting. The location for this year was in Lincoln, NE. Now, thinking about this trip to Nebraska, the only thing that comes to mind is corn. I don't think of Nebraska as a place for good beer. But, luckily, I have two friends of mine that are currently living there or had lived there. So they know how to get me to what I want.

I had no idea how small Lincoln was. My first thought was, state capital, pretty big, maybe close to 1 million, not 250,000. Being end of the spring semester at University of Nebraska – Lincoln, the city is pretty dead. No worries though, I have connecting.

The first brewery stop was on my first day there. Granite City, is a chain brewery, and because I have eaten and drank at one before in Mishawaka IN, I kind of knew the menu. For being a chain brewery, it is decent. At least you know that they are consistent. The down side to drinking and dinning in Nebraska is that nearly everything is meat. Being a vegetarian, that doesn't sit well.

For this, I am not going to go and do a complete description, because there are a few beers. First beer was the Broad Axe. I would give this 3.5 out of 5. A dry stout, that had lots of roastyness to it and was nice and heavy, plus low on alcohol. Then the second and last beer of the night was the IPA, Duke of Wellington. Again, I would give a 3.5 out of 5. Crisp, light, and very dry hoppyness. Definitely higher in alcohol content, so I went back to my friends place with a nice buzz.

After the conference starter, I made my way down to Lazlo's Brewery and Grill, home of Empyrean Brewing Company. I made it here twice, both times for lunch, so I did not drink a lot because I had to be presentable at the conference. The first day of the conference, I made my way down to Lazlo's. Being Sunday, the restaurant was open, but they couldn't serve alcohol until noon. Every state is different.

With a delicious veggie wrap with fries I had the Luna Sea ESB. Nice and fruity with English hops. The English yeast gave off the fruity esters that were great on the palate and English hops gave somewhat of a dry finish. I give it 4 out of 5.

Day three of the conference, I found myself at Lazlo's, with a few University of Kentucky people. Having the veggie wrap again (only found maybe one thing that I could eat every place I went), I wanted to finish it with an IPA, but being sold out, I had to go with the Burning Skye Scottish Ale. Sweet from the grains, but generally lack hops. I found it unbalanced, but I'm a hophead. I gave it a 3 out of 5.

The trip was successful, because I network well. Only downside to the trip being question by a security officer at the airport because I was profiled with my big beard.  Next trip, Portland OR in August!


  1. I'm glad to hear your love for breweries! Visiting these breweries is a great learning opportunity, as you are able to witness the step-by-step method of making liquor. What makes it even better is the tasting after the tour! I find the process of weighing, blending, and crushing of grains interesting. It’s very much comparable to the life a person – how the changes in a person’s life affect his disposition. I bet you already know that Belgians love to add flavors to their beers with cherry, strawberries, and lemon. Good luck with your studies! I'm amazed you are taking a PhD! Keep it up!

    1. Thanks Rob for your comment! Yes, taking tours are really great ways to watch how each brewery differs in making beer. In reality, the process is the same though. I have been homebrewing for 6 years now and worked at a nano-brewery.

      Belgian brews are great! I agree with you, but they don't really add anything to the beers (with the exceptions of the style of Lambics). Belgian brews get most of the fruitiness from esters that is a by-product from the yeast. Belgium yeast are fermented at higher temperatures (up to 27 C or around 80 F).

      Thank you again and I am glad that you read my blog. I hope that you come away with further knowledge or get some great ideas for recipes.