Leinenkugel Brewery Tour, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, AmericInn Road Trip

Beer Samples and History on the Leinenkugel Brewery Tour

The first stop on our Wisconsin road trip with AmericInn Hotels was in Chippewa Falls to tour the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company. The brewery is located just over an hour away from our home base in St Paul, MN, and I’ve wanted to plan a visit there for quite some time, as a Leinenkugel brewery tour sounded like a great experience. Luckily, the brewery was basically en route to our hotel in West Salem, Wisconsin, so we were able to schedule it into our trip without a hitch!

Leinenkugel Brewery Tour, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, AmericInn Road Trip

Leinenkugel Brewery Tour, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, AmericInn Road Trip

When we arrived at Leinenkugel’s, the air was hot, humid and heavy; we couldn’t wait to get inside for some nice, cool air conditioning. At the check in desk, we were presented with the choice of two different tasting tours. One option included four samples for $5.00 per person and the other had two pints and some light snacks for $10.00 per person—both included a souvenir glass. Because we hadn’t tried many of their beers previously, we went for the four sample option and were off on our way into the Leinie Lodge.

Leinenkugel Brewery Tour, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, AmericInn Road Trip

Tours run approximately every 30 minutes throughout the day and samples are offered before and after your tour. We had about 20 minutes to spare before our tour got underway, so we made our way to the taps to decide on our first samples.

Leinenkugel Brewery Tour, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, AmericInn Road Trip

Our bracelets were ticked with 1 out of 4 and soon we were sipping on our first sample of the afternoon—Honey Weiss for me and Wisconsin Red Pale Ale for Micah.

Leinenkugel Brewery Tour, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, AmericInn Road Trip

Next, I tried the Berry Weiss and Micah had the Summer Shandy, and halfway through we mixed the two samples to give the Pink Lemonade Leinie Mix a try. There are several different suggestions for a Leinie Mix, but basically it consists of mixing two of your favorite Leinenkugel beers to create a new flavor! Some suggestions are the Sunny Bear which consists of 4/5 Sunset Wheat and 1/5 Berry Weiss, or the Honey Bear which is made up of ½ Honey Weiss and ½ Berry Weiss.

Leinenkugel Brewery Tour, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, AmericInn Road Trip

Leinenkugel Brewery Tour, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, AmericInn Road Trip

After a quick browse around the store, it was time to head back outside into the sweltering heat for our tour of the brewery. We started off with some history of the area and learned that the brewery was started all the way back in 1867 in Chippewa Falls on a prime spot along the river. The brewery has been run by family since the beginning and today the sixth generation has made their way into the ranks.

Leinenkugel Brewery Tour, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, AmericInn Road Trip

Chippewa Falls used to be a logging town, so the rich soil and the pure water were the perfect combination to craft excellent beer—the lumberjacks in town became some of Leinenkugel’s first fans.

As with any alcohol producer, the Prohibition took a hard hit on the brewery. Thankfully, with some extra cash from home mortgages, the brewery equipment was upgraded, and the 3rd generation was successfully able to keep Leinenkugel’s up and running.

In 1988, Miller Brewing Company purchased Leinenkugel’s, but the brewery is still run as a partnership with the family. The partnership has increased production and distribution, which has allowed for the beer to be sold in more markets throughout the United States. To keep up with an increase in demand, a second brewery was opened in Milwaukee in 1995. Currently, around 25% of the beer is brewed in Chippewa Falls, and all beer is brewed to order. This means they only produce beer after an order is placed so they don’t end up with an overabundance of expired beer.

Leinenkugel Brewery Tour, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, AmericInn Road Trip

Photos were not allowed inside of the brewing facility, but we made our way through the entire production process, from start to finish. We learned all about the ingredients that go into the beer, got a peek at the brew kettles and the fermentation process, the bottling line and all the other steps along the way. Another part of the tour that I really enjoyed was the history of the beer varieties and how they rotate and retire various flavors. When a flavor is taken out of rotation, it’s put into hibernation—this gives them the ability to pull customer’s favorites out of hibernation every so often when demand is strong enough.

Leinenkugel Brewery Tour, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, AmericInn Road Trip

Oh, and did I mention it was extremely hot inside the brewery?! Because they were brewing beer on the day of our visit and it also happened to be a steamy day outside, we were all practically dripping with sweat as we left the facility. After a wonderfully informative tour and some great insight into the brewing process, we returned to the Leinie Lodge to finish up our samples.

Leinenkugel Brewery Tour, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, AmericInn Road Trip

The rest of our samples consisted of the Sunset Wheat, India Pale Lager, Grapefruit Shandy and the Creamy Dark. While we enjoyed all the different varieties we sampled, my favorite was the Sunset Wheat and Micah’s was the Wisconsin Red Pale Ale.

Leinenkugel Brewery Tour, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, AmericInn Road Trip

Once we finished our tasting, we had a look around the Leinie Lodge at all the history on display. It was great to get a peek at the old brewing machines and historic artifacts after the tour—it really put the tour into context and gave us a full circle story on how the brewery came to be. We also couldn’t resist some relaxing on the riverside patio that was attached to the back of the lodge.

Leinenkugel Brewery Tour, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, AmericInn Road Trip

Leinenkugel Brewery Tour, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, AmericInn Road Trip

We had a wonderful time hopping on the Leinenkugel Brewery tour, and eventually it was time to continue our AmericInn road trip towards West Salem, WI. I would have to say it was a successful start to a week full of fun adventures!

 

We partnered with AmericInn Hotels and Suites on a summer road trip through Wisconsin in connection with their Fill-Inn-To-Win promotion. AmericInn is giving away a free night stay every day throughout the summer, so be sure to enter for your chance to win! As always, all opinions are our own. 

20 Comments
  • Bryanna
    Posted at 14:38h, 23 July Reply

    Wisconsin – yeah!! We are from Wisconsin and we love to hear about people coming to visit and of course when you come you have to do a brewery tour! Sadly we have not been on this tour yet but will definitely be adding it to our bucket list!

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 15:34h, 25 July Reply

      That’s awesome you are from WI; such a great state! 🙂 Definitely agree–a brewery tour is a must in Wisconsin–glad we got to check one out and hope you can visit this one sometime!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Kayaking on Mirror Lake in WisconsinMy Profile

  • Nisha
    Twitter:
    Posted at 14:46h, 23 July Reply

    Looks like you had a great day. I always like those taps to let the drinks flow in our glass. If I have my way, I’ll be there the whole day without moving an inch. 😛

  • Elaine J Masters
    Twitter:
    Posted at 16:11h, 23 July Reply

    What a tasty tour and I love being encouraged to mix your beers to create a new flavor! The buildings are gorgeous and it’s cool that Miller bought them but still the original craft process is being preserved.

  • anna
    Twitter:
    Posted at 02:14h, 24 July Reply

    BEER heaven!! My partner Tom would LOVE that place. Love the interactiveness of the tour.
    anna recently posted…Best Places to Stay in Hanoi | Hostels & HotelsMy Profile

  • Mel Jones
    Twitter:
    Posted at 11:53h, 24 July Reply

    I’ve got to say I’m not a big beer drinker but my fella is and it seems like such a great day out! I’d love to give the different varieties a try straight from the source which must taste amazing. Leinenkugel Brewery is one of those places that are such a big part of a place’s history and community, I would definitely give it a go, it looks like you had so much fun 🙂

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 15:40h, 25 July Reply

      That’s one of the things I love about brewery tours–even if you aren’t a huge beer drinker, they still provide a lot of interesting history and some great insight on the behind the scenes! It was a great day! Hope you have a great time if you check it out sometime 🙂
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Kayaking on Mirror Lake in WisconsinMy Profile

  • Toni Broome
    Twitter:
    Posted at 16:12h, 24 July Reply

    I don’t drink much beer but I do enjoy trying them at a brewery like this. Great to see the history preserved and to get to see the brewing process first hand although perhaps on a slightly cooler day.
    Toni Broome recently posted…A walk though Nishiki Market, KyotoMy Profile

  • Vicky and Buddy
    Twitter:
    Posted at 16:13h, 24 July Reply

    Wow, six generations! That’s pretty impressive. I love when establishments like this are able to keep their families involved. Too bad you couldn’t take pictures inside the brewery though.

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 15:32h, 25 July Reply

      Isn’t it great?! I love that they’ve kept family involved as well. Definitely a bummer we couldn’t take photos inside, but it was a great tour–hopefully you can check it out sometime and get a peek inside yourself!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Kayaking on Mirror Lake in WisconsinMy Profile

  • Jen Joslin
    Twitter:
    Posted at 19:17h, 24 July Reply

    I love a good brewery tour and tasting!! I’ve never heard of the idea to mix beers to create your own flavors. So interactive! That brewhouse building looks beautiful, and it’s great they’ve preserved so much of the history of the place for guests to see.

  • Kate
    Twitter:
    Posted at 07:36h, 25 July Reply

    I love going to tasting and history tours like this one. I’m fascinated by the prohibition era and how businesses kept going. The old advertising and equipment is great to see too. The beers looked and sounded great. I like that you can mix to get different flavours too. Thanks for sharing
    Kate recently posted…Top 5 Things To Eat in MontenegroMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 15:16h, 25 July Reply

      I agree–it is always so interesting to see how these places kept going during the prohibition era! We really enjoyed mixing the flavors, too–it was a fun twist that we had never thought of before!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Kayaking on Mirror Lake in WisconsinMy Profile

  • Christina
    Twitter:
    Posted at 10:50h, 25 July Reply

    I have never visited a brewery. I need to get on it. I don’t really know much abut Wisconsin but will definitely add this to our itinerary if we are in the area.

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