September 13, 2010 (Day 226) — Thunderpunch

Oh, Nebraska… We meet once again. It’s not been so long since I’ve seen your rolling hills of corn. Now, your stalks have turned brown as harvest nears, the beans are soon to the harvest, and the sorghum fields have a rich red color, casting beautiful shadows across the landscape. Honestly, that’s just a fancy way of saying that I’m in Nebraska all this week for work. However, that doesn’t mean that Cocktails, 365 is taking a break! Oh, no! Not a bit of it. In fact, I enjoy these trips if only because I get to feature some local bars and their unique drinks.

Tonight I’m visiting Thunderhead Brewery in downtown Kearney, NE. I’m a sucker for microbreweries. In my mind, there are few things that can top of perfectly crafted small brew. For whatever reason, breweries also seem to have some of the best food you’ll find around. It seemed perfect. Thunderhead is nestled in an assuming building on the edge of downtown. However, once you walk in, you’re greeted with polished wood, big screen TVs and exposed rafters — standard brewery fare. It’s promising.

Before I order the signature cocktail, it’s necessary for me to try one of their unique brews. After all, what kind of cocktail guru would I be if I wasn’t making sure to sample delicious, delicious beer as well.

That was their dark scottish ale. Very smooth and heavy, like a good dark beer should be. My only complaint regarding the beer is that it’s not available for distribution in Kansas. But, alas, I suppose that’s how these things work. As my friend Jana said, it’s the joy of finding these local breweries that makes them so damn tasty.

As for the food, I was right on the money regarding tastiness. I got one of their calzones with mushrooms, peperoni, and fresh mozz with their homemade dough. Much like their amazing beer, Thunderhead manages to pull off one hell of a delicious meal coupled perfectly with their awesome beers. After enjoying my meal, I asked my waitress to recommend something unique to Thunderhead. Her recommendation:


(Note, I was unable to get a definitive answer on the exact proportions, so I’m simply listing the ingredients as they were given to me. I’m hoping to get a hold of the master brewer who created the drink to get exact proportions.)

Grape soda

Sweet and sour mix

Canadian whiskey

Lime juice

I’ve now decided there is a separate drink category among your standard drinks (punches, martinis, etc.) and that’s the College Girl Drink. It’s sweet, it’s bright and foofy, and it’ll get you drunk fast. The Thunderpunch fulfills all of those criteria. In fact, as I was sitting in my booth sipping on the drink taking notes, a gaggle of sorority flounced in, ordered two rounds of the Thunderpunch, and proceeded to titter their ways back out.

It’s good, if you like very sweet drinks. There’s no bite from the alcohol, so I can easily see it sneaking up on you if you decide to simply sit down and drink them. While certainly tasty (and they make it with their OWN grape soda, which is pretty damn cool), I would say if you’re a beer fan you should stop by and try one of their brews. If beer isn’t your thing, try the Thunderpunch.


— Mark


  1. Having recently been to Kearney for the first time for a wedding I was privileged to try the Thunderpunch. It definitely sneaks up on you but totally worth it! Its sooo good!!


  1. […] final entry in my Kearney, Nebraska travel series! Over the past two nights we’ve reviewed a local brewery and a classy little joint. Now, we’re hitting up another Kearney institution — The […]

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