Matt took me to Lucky Bucket Brewing while I was in Omaha. Their lager and IPA see a pretty wide distribution in at least Nebraska and Iowa, and they brew a number of other beers of varying availability. The distillery arm Sòlas makes a vodka from Nebraska wheat and they have their first single-malt whisky aging in barrels now.
The bartender was making a Black & Tan with an unnamed barleywine and Certified Evil, their Belgian strong ale. A creamy dark tan head atop an almost black layer of barleywine, itself surmounting, perhaps precariously, the ruby copper, barely hazy Evil. The barleywine is predictably most of the aroma: a rich dry burnt character, roasty and toasty.
The flavors present a great combination. The barleywine has a strong roasted flavor that balances the caramel sweetness of the Evil. A bit of alcohol is apparent, adding a little spiciness. The body is rich and full, but it is not thick. This is a very complex, flavorful, and drinkable combination.
Lucky Bucket Black & Tan
I also tasted their Joss vodka. They run it through their giant pot stills and then into a 23 plate column still that’s probably as many feet tall.
It is perfectly clear and colorless. The aroma is neutral alcohol. There is a clean, gentle warming to the flavor. There is also a sweetness perhaps due to the wheat.