Of course, our "excuse" for this road trip was to make our first (but certainly not our last!) visit to the Scratchtown Brewing Company on the occasion of their Scratch-Pattys Day party. No green beer here, but plenty of GREAT beer!
Scratchtown opened in October of 2013, and is the brainchild of Jade Stunkel, award winning home brewer Mike Klimek and Caleb Pollard, who bills himself as the "chief mover of units". If I lived in Ord, I might have to challenge him for that position!
They are still considered a nano brewery, but with the variety of great beers that they produce, I foresee expansion in their future.
I often wondered about the name "Scratchtown" for a brew pub in Ord, Nebraska, but the back cover of their beer menu solves the mystery. I suppose being located "in the heart of the Loup Rivers Scenic Byway, centrally located within 30 miles of the Calamus, Sherman and Davis Creek Reservoirs and 25 miles from the North Loup, Middle Loup, Calamus and Cedar Rivers..." might be a reason for the sentiment.
And now, on to Ord. This is a beautiful community, situated in a beautiful area of Nebraska. But more than that, it is a vibrant, growing community, something that is somewhat of an anomaly in rural America. The growth, sense of pride and economic well being can, in large part, be attributed to Scratchtown's Caleb Pollard, who served as the economic development director for many years.
The courthouse square in downtown Ord is surrounded by blocks filled with going businesses, not the vacant storefronts that are seen in many small towns.
From the Ord website:
Rural role model: that’ s just one name Ord has been called in the past five years. Ord exemplifies a rural community with a vibrant future. Since 2000, the Ord area has experienced over $125 million of private and public investment in our community. Also in that time, Ord and Valley County have witnessed the creation of over 100 new businesses, 350 new jobs, a return to pre-recession unemployment levels, strong per-capita wage growth, retail growth and property valuation increases. Out here in Ord we carry a boot-strap mentality: we build a bright future for ourselves.
Living in Ord exemplifies simple, safe small town living amidst breathtaking beauty in the scenic North Loup Valley. Boring and flat? Hardly. The traffic, noise and crime of the city opens up to rolling green prairie plains, scenic river valleys, abundant wildlife and a serene pace of life unrivaled in Nebraska.
As you can imagine, outdoor activities can be found right outside of town. Whether you enjoy hunting or fishing, bird watching, photography and hiking, water sports, history... you name it, it's literally right outside of your door in Ord.
If you visit Ord, there are two Bed and Breakfasts in the area, the Byway Guest House and Rex and Deb's River Lodge. Camping (RV and tent) is available in town at Bussell Park and nearby at Anderson Island, Calamus, Davis Creek and Sherman Reservoir State Recreation Areas. You can immerse yourself in the beautiful Sandhills by traveling the Loup River Scenic Byway. If finding bargains is your passion, you might consider a visit the last full weekend in September for the annual Junk Jaunt - 300 miles of treasures, over 500 registered vendors, and Ord situated about right in the middle.
If you're looking to experience the best small town America has to offer, a visit to Ord will definitely fit the bill. If you're looking to relocate to a scenic small town, Ord definitely fits the bill. If you're looking to lift a few pints or great craft beer, Ord definitely fits the bill.
What are you waiting for? Plan your trip today.