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The Antelope

The Antelope

Thunderhead offers ‘high-class’ atmosphere in college town

Bobbie Ortmeier serves beers to patrons seated at the bar. Photo provided by Kolton Maturey / Antelope Staff


Antelope Staff

Of all the bars in the UNK scene, Thunderhead Brewing Company separates itself with craft beer. It is a staple of UNK students and staff for beer brewed close by in Axtell.

Mark Ellis, Professor and Dean of Graduate studies knows Thunderhead Brewing Company to be very much a UNK hub.

“This was the first place I came during my first few weeks in Kearney, although it was in a different location 22 years and I’m still coming here,”  Ellis said. “Thunderheads is sort of the gathering place for UNK faculty and friends. We have a Wednesday night group of faculty and campus citizens that come here. It started off on the railroad as a craft brewery then they moved over here and started serving food and expanded operations. It’s always had a UNK feel and flavor to it, you can walk in here anytime and see someone from UNK.”

This is seconded by Shannon Mulhearn, Associate Professor of Physical Education.

“This is one of the first places I came to when I moved here two years ago,” said Mulhearn. “Every time somebody comes to visit me in Kearney I bring them here. I know what to expect and sometimes I know who to expect. It’s also where I’ve met people from the history of UNK, like people who worked in my office before I was there.”

Thunderhead Brewing Company offers something different than typical Kearney nightlife. UNK students can find pizzas, pretzels and other appetizers at Thunderhead, vastly different menu than what is offered for bar fare around town. At any given time Thunderheads offers 23 to 24 types of beer with ten staples and a rotation filling out the rest. Many take advantage of penny pints on Thursdays. You read that right a penny a pint for a brew selected by the brewery once a week. Drinks range from IPAs to my personal favorite Thunder Punch. 

It is a high class and distinguished establishment where one doesn’t simply order a bottle. It is a place to take your tastebuds on an adventure and make you feel mature now that you know what hops are. From an upstairs with open pizza ovens, to a downstairs displaying numerous taps, Thunderheads boasts a stylish and sophisticated atmosphere perfect for relaxing and a game of pool.

Bartender Jake Ellis loves the chill nature and believes Thunderheads stands out with its craft beer.

“We have very friendly customers and regulars,” said Ellis. “You get the regulars and a lot of families too. It gives the parents a place to be able to drink if they want and let their kids have pizza.”

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