Wisconsin’s obsession with Leinenkugel’s and shandies

The Leinenkugel's Chippewa Falls brewery sign

Leinenkugel’s Chippewa Falls headquarters | photo from Leinenkugel’s

In Wisconsin, it’s beer season all year long. Some give credence to the idea that it’s genetic — with 43 percent of the state of German heritage. Others may say it’s cultural — after all, we are a Big Ten college town.

Of the 200+ breweries in the Badger state, one resonates as particularly “Wisconsin.” The 150+ year old tradition of Leinenkugels is a cult obsession that America’s Dairyland can not get enough of — but why all the hype?

Let’s take a look at the history, and how you can taste it for yourself.

Leinenkugels classic Summer Shandy

Leinenkugels classic Summer Shandy | Photo by @denver.and.coco

The origin story: 1867 — Jacob Leinenkugel + family opened the brewery in the logging town of Chippewa Falls, WI. First in production was the brewery’s American Pilsner, a recipe still used by the company 150 years later.

In the last two decades: 2007 — Enter the shandy. It would be remiss to celebrate Leinenkugels without mentioning the cult phenomenon of its shandy line. Styled from the popular German Radlera light beer mixed with sparkling lemonade — Leinenkugel’s shandies feature a mix of weiss beer + natural lemonade flavor. An old beer with new tricks if you will. The beer created such a stir the brewery ran a promotion in March 2021 giving away a $50,000 mini-cabin to celebrate beer that makes “anytime feel like summer time.”

Currently brewing: 2022 — An intimate pilot brewery is set to open inside of the Leinie Lodge — a retail space located on-site in Chippewa Falls. Beer aficionados can become members of the club + experience limited small batch runs of test flavors and brews —new and old — for seasons to come. Did we mention the patio is dog friendly too?

More from 608today