*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
Visit date: 06/25/16
1) How many different beers?
20-some types. Lagers brewed in Chippewa Falls, Ales brewed in Milwaukee.
2) How long operational?
3) Why? (here, this, etc)
Jacob Leinenkugel came to Chippewa Falls to brew in a logging town.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“Poundable.” An all-day lager.
The fruit beer for beer drinkers.
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.
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).
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.
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.