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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 Radler — a 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?