*This is the sixty-first post in an on-going chronicle dubbed the Great Wisconsin Brewery Tour. Follow the journey here.*

Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company
124 E Elm Street
Chippewa Falls, WI 54729
(888) 534-6437
Visit date: 06/25/16

Quick Hits:
1) How many different beers?
20-some types. Lagers brewed in Chippewa Falls, Ales brewed in Milwaukee.

2) How long operational?
1867.

3) Why? (here, this, etc)
Jacob Leinenkugel came to Chippewa Falls to brew in a logging town.

4) Distribution?
250,000 barrels out of Chippewa Falls, around a 1 million total.

5) What sets you apart?
Family.” – John, head brewmaster.

6) How did you get your name?
Jacob Leinenkugel started the brewery.

Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company (Leinie's) in Chippewa Falls. All photos by Joe Powell unless otherwise noted.

Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company (Leinie’s) in Chippewa Falls. All photos by Joe Powell unless otherwise noted.

Most Wisconsinites were raised on beer, but there’s perhaps no family in the state whose blood runs thicker with the fermented frothiness than the Leinenkugels.

This sign is older than most other breweries in the state.

This sign is older than most other breweries in the state.

The 6th-generation of family members is now running this Chippewa Falls mainstay that’s been around since Jacob Leinenkugel planted roots in 1867. In fact, 5 different Leinies brothers ran 5 different breweries around the region, but only Jacob’s survived Prohibition.

“I come to work and feel like I’m on vacation.” – Bill Quirk Jr., Supply Chain Manager.

An aerial view of the Leinie Lodge and brewery. Photo provided by Bill Quirk of Leinenkugel's.

An aerial view of the Leinie Lodge and brewery. Photo provided by Bill Quirk of Leinenkugel’s.

The brewery was started near a free-flowing creek and above a number of natural wells. Northwestern Wisconsin is absolutely gorgeous, and sitting on the patio of the Leinie Lodge truly felt like we were worlds away from it all.

Fun fact: the figure in the logo is actually a male brave (note the feather pointing up).

Fun fact: the figure in the logo is actually a male brave (note the feather pointing up).

A $5 tour starts at the Leinie Lodge and snags you a souvenir glass with some fresh pours afterwards:

Wisconsin Red Pale Ale
Your standard IPA with a touch of roastiness that reds are known for.

Leinenkugel’s Original
“Poundable.” An all-day lager.

Sunset Wheat
The fruit beer for beer drinkers.

Summer Shandy
If you’re reading this blog and have never had a Summer Shandy, go to the store immediately and buy one.

Big Eddy Royal Nektar
Bold and boozy, but drinkable. A great dinner beer.

Bill and John showing us the hop hoppers.

Bill and John showing us the hop hoppers.

This family-feeling is pervasive and authentic throughout the Leinie’s complex; it’s not just good marketing. Our personal tour guides  Bill, Supply Chain Manager, and John, head brewmaster were unbelievable hosts (special thanks to Luke, friend of the Squeaky Curd for connecting us).

A giant canoe paddle signed by coworkers and presented to a Leinie brother upon retirement.

A giant canoe paddle signed by coworkers and presented to a Leinie brother upon retirement.

Even more impressive than the brewery was the way the Leinie’s employees interacted with each other. From young summer tour guides to the security guard to the beer-slingers in the Leinie’s Lodge, the family camaraderie here was real and infecting.

An original barn, still used on the property.

An original barn, still used on the property.

Though Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company became part of the Miller family way back in the 1980s, Chippewa Falls never got the corporate-feel memo. The only thing fresher than the iconic beer coming out of the Leinie Lodge is the true feeling of fellowship. When you crack open a Summer Shandy, you too are now part of the family.

Leinie Lodge members for life!

Leinie Lodge members for life!