I live my life by one very simple rule: Beer is always a good choice. If you don’t like beer, then I don’t like you. As a great man (Benjamin Franklin) once said,
“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
I’ve heard that it’s that exact quote that got him on the $100 bill. Smart man. And that’s why this week I’m gonna be looking at some of the awesome breweries around the country. Check out the previous breweries: Victory, Summit, Ommegang, and Left Hand.
Free State Brewing Company is not only a brewing powerhouse in Lawrence, Kansas, but it is also a historical landmark. When the brewery first opened in 1989, it was the first legal brewery in Kansas since crazy, delirium tremens-fueled farmers made their own moonshine out of dirt and shoe leather during prohibition. Thankfully, this brewery decided to cater to the modern day Kansan and brew normal beer from normal ingredients. They just happen to do that really well.
In addition to selling damn satisfying, down-to-earth brews, the Free State brewpub/restaurant succeeds in creating a “haven for beer lovers, where good beer and good food can inspire lively conversations and memorable experiences.”
These are two of their best beers:
Ad Astra Ale
Free State’s Ad Astra Ale is just as historic as the brewery itself. According to the Internet (where everything is true and should be taken at face value), this is the “first beer to be brewed in Kansas since the pioneering days.” That seriously sucks for everyone who lived in Kansas during the Great Beer Drought, but luckily for all of us, that dark time is long behind us. Named after Kansas’ state motto (Ad Astra per Aspera, Latin for “To the Stars Through Difficulties”) this beer is a celestial blend of malt and hops with the addition of goofy Fuggles hops to keep things grounded.
Food pairings: Astronaut food, stardust, or out-of-this-world gorgonzola mushroom gnocchi.
Copperhead Pale Ale
As the story goes, head brewer, Steve Bradt, was wandering through the fields of Kansas, searching for inspiration for a new beer when he came upon a funny looking stick laying on the ground. Being the good Boy Scout he is, he never passes up a chance to break a stick, so that’s what he tried to do. Turns out, the stick bit him and sent him to the hospital to get the venom removed. Well, that was enough of a sign for almost-dead Steve, and he named the next beer after the snake that almost killed him.
Glass: Beer bong, red Solo cup, or a good ol’ pub glass.
Food pairings: Grass, wheat straight off the stem, or some classic pesto chicken pasta.
Bonus Beer: Stormchaser IPA
Free State’s summer brew celebrates the extremes of Kansas weather, and the craziness of the people who like that kind of stuff. It’s perfect for the beer drinker “who loves chasing bad weather in the name of science or just common curiosity,” but it also satisfies the guy who prefers to cower in his basement during a thunderstorm. We don’t judge.
Glass: A rain barrel, an awesome amber chalice, or poured over your head in the middle of a tornado.
Food pairings: Wimps, raw eggs, or this seasonal Normandy ham sandwich.
Need to know which glass goes with which beer? We’ve got an article for that.