Thunderhead Brewing Company
Ratings: 26 | Reviews: 22 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by benito:
2.93/5 rDev -23.1%
Kearney is home to the first (two) brewpub(s) along the long I-76/80 beer desert that begins east of Denver, so it's a welcome oasis for a needy (read, thirsty) beer traveler.
Thunderhead Brewing will draw folks in simply by being there, for better or for worse. With a spare dining room on the first floor and a pool hall upstairs, there's something a little unsettling in the air of the pub; it feels like a dive pool joint (lots of black, virtually no decoration, vaulting spaces without much there). Admittedly, I visited on a late Sunday afternoon, and the place did start to fill as dinner time rolled around, but my sense of being creeped out never quite left.
Fortunately, the beer is very good. They had nine house brews on tap, plus several guest handles, and two Continental-style offerings from Modern Monks--a "commercial" homebrew co-op that brews on the Thunderhead licencse in Grand Island. I sampled four of the house brews, and the espresso stout, honey wheat, and krystalweizen (nice style choice!) were all very good. Only the amber left something to be desired. Additional taps included a pilsner, porter, Irish stout, Scottish ale, and blonde.
In fact, the beer is strong enough for me almost to give this place a definitive thumbs up. Almost. The service and food were as lackluster as the decor, though not as sketchy. My server couldn't identify all of the taps (she thought the Spilker Ales Hopluia tap was Coors Light), the pizza was pricey and bland, and the bartender at one point left her post to run up the stairs and shout a derogatory slur at her friend who was playing pool.
Maybe stop for a growler or a quick pint, but the drawbacks outweigh the positives at this stop. I suggest putting pedal to the metal and hauling it to Nebraska Brewing or Upstream in Omaha.
06-10-2008 00:53:36 | More by benito
More User Reviews:
3.13/5 rDev -17.8%
This was stop #3 for my wife and I on a 21-day pub-crawl from Michigan to N. CA and OR. This brewery visit was to have dinner and to try their beers. The place is located in the downtown area in a storefront setting. The interior was typical of many brewpubs.
We ordered a pizza and a sampler flight of 5 of the 10 beers that were available. (We typically don’t like the styles that were the other 5 beers, i.e. fruit beers and light-flavored ales, so we didn’t order them.) There were also 6 guest beers on tap, and we ordered a pint of one of them that we were curious about. (I wish we hadn’t.)
The 5 beers from this brewery were all brewed to style, but there was nothing exceptional about them. The pizza that we ordered was also good, but just a typical pizza.
Although the place was okay, we know there are many brewpubs out there that offer a much better experience, but when you’re in the middle of Nebraska and looking to have a craft beer, this place is okay.
06-26-2014 23:45:46 | More by Mothergoose03
3.29/5 rDev -13.6%
A shining beacon of light in the middle of nowhere? Maybe, but to those in western and central Nebraska this is craft beer. I think the Cornstalker Dark Wheat is very good, as well as the Tiny Tim which I had a chance to try. The rest of their line up is a little above average, as it would seem the palates of beer drinkers here might not be ready for a challenge of a variant of a DIPA or whatever. This is because the atmosphere there is good but not great which also to be said about the selection. With some little opportunities in the area this is a worthwhile stop, but not worth driving extra hours to visit. On a side note, I was told at another business in town their pizza is very good, although I haven't tried it.
03-15-2013 01:40:01 | More by MilwaukeeCrusher
3.88/5 rDev +1.8%
literally the only show from lincoln to denver as far as brewing goes along the i80 corridor. neat little pizza place in the small downtown area. pool hall upstairs, small bar downstairs with bench tables, relaxed, tons of taps. there were some ten beers from thunderhead on, as well as local and even foreign drafts, and a menu with mostly pizza. the beers were unique for nebraska, some good, some not so good. loved the leatherhead red, the jalapeno ale, and the smoked porter. the honey wheat in cans is also excellent. has a cheese bread, tasted good, average maybe a little better. felt bad, only one guy working the place and it was packed. i swear he was bartending, waiting, bussing, cooking, cleaning, it was a nightmare for him. nis name was shane and he was a great guy, who took the time to talk to me about the nebraska brewing scene, his beer interests, and advised us well about the town. i cant say anough about the guy, who was working so damn hard and was obviously stressed, but still recognized that we were beer people and took the time. great great man. overall a place i will surely stop in again just because of its location in the heart of the state in relative isolation, but it was a great stop. quality beers in what i had previously considered to be a beer wasteland.
01-02-2013 23:39:29 | More by StonedTrippin
3.55/5 rDev -6.8%
Stopped there on the way home from Omaha. Not a fancy place at all, but comfortable. Although the menu is fairly limited the food was good - really enjoyed the thin crust pizza.They had several of their beers on tap as well as a few guest taps. The wheat beers - Golden Frau and Cornstalker Dark were much better than I anticipated as I'm not a wheat beer fan. We picked up a six pack of each to take home. I especially liked the Cornstalker Dark Wheat beer. It reminded me of a Brown with a nice dry finish. I would have liked to try a couple more of their beers but still had a few more hours of driving left to do. The staff was very friendly and helpful. We would definitively stop there again.
07-24-2012 23:06:07 | More by Kittiwakedave
2.78/5 rDev -27%
I got to this place a little late in the evening so it was pretty dead, but that meant the service was decent. The restaurant itself is nothing spectacular, but they do well with what they have to work with. Banners of their four beers hang above a service window. There are lots of local decorations, and a staircase, which I’m now wondering whether or not it leads to more of a bar atmosphere with games, darts, and a real bar.
Their house special calzone was different but excellent. It featured a white sauce with ham I believe. However, the menu is quite limited, but I would definitely drop by here if driving across I-80.
There were only four house beers, and they weren't anything special. The best two were the honey wheat and a smoked amber, which was a bit overdone. And keep in mind that I hate honey wheats, which isn't a compliment for this particular one, more like a WTF to the rest of the beers here.
04-10-2012 18:22:40 | More by bigkingken
Thunderhead Brewing Company in Kearney, NE
87 out of 100 based on 26 ratings.