Nebraska Brewing Company - Cardinal Pale Ale
- ABV: 6.0%
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 42
- Serving Temperature: 42-47° F
- Suggested Glassware: Pint Glass or Mug
- Malts: 2-Row, Munich, Caramel 10, Caramel 20
- Hops: Galena, Cascade
This is the beer that started it all for Paul Kavulak and Nebraska Brewing Company, and, after pulling in a vast array of medals at various beer competitions (including National Grand Champion Pale Ale at the 2014 United States Beer Tasting Championship), it remains a best-selling flagship beer for them to this day. Pouring a copper-golden hue with a big, fluffy, off-white head, this pale ale offers up quite the inviting aroma. Being heavily dry-hopped with Cascade, it’s no surprise we get lots of typical Cascade notes in the nose. Look for big orange-like citrus tones with a perfumed floral quality overlaying a touch of caramel malt. Similarly, on the palate there’s a fruity citrus impression of orange flesh and light tropical and floral notes held up by a satisfying core of moderately caramelized malt. We really enjoyed the interplay between these flavors as well as the balance between a light residual sweetness and the prominent hop bitterness which easily balances and dries the beer out in the lingering finish. The brewery recommends pairing with traditional American cuisine such as BBQ, steaks, cheesesteaks, burgers, and mildly spicy dishes. Cheers!
Paul Kavulak began homebrewing around 1992, and it became a serious hobby which would ultimately lead to the founding of Nebraska Brewing Company many years later. The pivotal moment occurred in 2005 when Paul, frustrated and disappointed in the outcome of one of his recipes, threw a large bag of Cascade hops into the fermenter and walked away. When he calmly came to clean up his mess a couple weeks later, he discovered the beer had transformed into exactly what he had been trying to achieve. The idea of starting a brewpub with this “Cardinal Pale Ale” as its flagship began to take root.
After realizing that he would never achieve the dream of opening the brewpub if he couldn’t make enough time for it, Paul convinced his supportive wife, Kim, to go all-in. He quit his job, and the pair focused completely on bringing Nebraska Brewing Company to life. A used brewing system was located and purchased from Sasebo, Japan, and in November of 2007 the brewpub opened its doors. Unfortunately, this was right as the U.S. housing bubble burst, but they would weather the recession that soon followed through a combination of careful business decisions and great beer, eventually signing on Tyson Arp, who currently serves as Nebraska’s Overlord of Brewing. A bold decision was made to invest heavily in their fledgling barrel-aged beers – a decision which has proved very smart indeed, as members of our Rare Beer Club who recently enjoyed Nebraska’s Chardonnay barrel aged Belgian-style strong ale, Mélange à Trois, can attest.
In 2014, a second brewing location was opened not far from the first, allowing the expansion of both their canned beer business as well as their barrel-aged program. Their original brewpub location continues to thrive, and is a great spot to grab some tasty pub fare along with an excellent brew to wash it down. For more info on this truly superb brewery, give them a call at 402-934-7100 or visit nebraskabrewingco.com.
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