Leinenkugel’s Cracks Top 10 Best Brewery Tours List
according to USA Today, legendary Chippewa Falls brewery offers one of the best tours
McKenna Scherer, photos by Neal Bennett |
USA Today recently shared news that most Chippewa Valley locals already knew: Chippewa Falls’ Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. is top-notch. According to USA Today’s 2022 Readers’ Choice poll, Leinenkugel’s offers one of the 10 best brewery tours in the nation, coming in at eighth place.
The legendary Chippewa Falls brewery was founded 155 years ago in 1867 and is moving into its sixth generation of family-lead business, with current president Dick Leinenkugel set to pass the torch to his nephew, Tony Bugher, before the new year, ending his 35-year career with the brewery. (He has been president for the last seven years.)
Leinenkugel’s is one of just two Midwestern breweries that cracked the Top 10 list (the other being Michigan’s Bell’s Brewery), and since the Volume One squad just took a Leinie’s tour at the start of this month, we are uniquely prepared to say it certainly is one of the very best.
On Nov. 1, (most of) the V1 staff took a drive over to Chippewa Falls for the brewery’s Legacy Brewery Tour – one of several they offer – allowing us to tour the historic space, inside and out, with one of their excellent tour guides.
All tours start out at the Leinie Lodge, and for this tour, folks are armed with safety goggles that have to be worn once inside the brewery when it’s operating. Taking a short walk from the Lodge over to the brewery means getting to cross Duncan Creek, one of the state’s class one brook trout streams (the gorgeous and top-tier quality stream shown in the background of this photo), to where the beer magic happens.
Tour guides at Leinenkugel’s know all the stuff – family lineage and historical context, the beer-brewing process, and equipment used, etc. – and of course, have that Midwestern easy-going charm. What’s not to love?
There’s a plethora of family history the expert tour guides share, and they even show folks the hops used for your favorite IPAs (they smell very … hoppy, we found out on the tour). Wrapping up back at the Leinie Lodge, visitors who are 21+ get a few beer tickets to use. (Each of the V1 staff snagged at least one brew to enjoy out on the patio. It was awesome!)
The Leinenkugel family immigrated to Wisconsin from Germany in 1845. Jacob Leinenkugel started his own brewery in Chippewa Falls, then a small logging town, and by the early 1900s, the second generation of Leinenkugels would steer the brewery towards years of innovation and success. “The rest, as they say, is history,” Leinie’s website states.
To book a tour head over to the Leinenkugel website (leinie.com/tours) or call for more information (888) 534-6437.