Leinenkugel's

There was one other stop I made on the way home from Minneapolis and that was in Chippewa Falls to see how Zach was doing. Zach got a fancy internship at Cray Computers for the summer, but has found that working in the middle of nowhere leads to much loneliness. I saw Dark Knight with him on the way up, and with a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon ahead of us, we went to the Leinenkugel's Brewery which is also in Chippewa Falls.

It was quite quaint but also pretty fancy too.

Leinie Lodge

The main public facility in the Leinie Lodge which is a big gift shop and also the place to sign up for a tour of the brewery itself. Inside they had tons of crappy merchandise. They put the Leinie logo on nearly everything.. from postcards to notebooks to fishing tackle to shirts to chairs to rulers to hold punchers to anything really.

It was really annoying because it took me forever to find a keychain bottle opener to match my New Glarus one. I should've picked up a pint glass to match my New Glarus ones too, but I didn't think of it. It doesn't really matter though, since those glasses were kinda ugly.

We signed up for the tour and off we went an hour later.

Brewery

This here is the main bottling facility which is where 100% of the tour went. We went up and down the elevator a couple times to the 4 floors that serviced the actually creation of the beer. The mixing of the hops, wheat and all that crap I wasn't paying attention to..

Fact: They still add their active and flavoring ingredients by hand during the process, which allows them to still fall in the category of a Craft Brewery.

Fact: Also, they employ less than 52 workers at any given time to also keep this status.

We went got outside and went into another portion of the building that serviced bottling and then shipping.

Fact: Every single bottle or can or keg produced by the brewery has been ordered in advance. They never make more than what is already spoken for.

Fact: A good chunk of their workers are hired help for the summer from local colleges. This is why they have a bunch of summer and fall beers, but not many winter and spring beers.

I learned a few things, but that was pretty much it. It was a neat tour and the tour guide was cute. Zach started talking with her quite a bit as the tour ended about this and that. ^_^

Comparing tastes...

The whole area of the brewery was really nice. Plenty of trees throughout the facility, and a babbling brouk passing between the Leinie lodge and the Brewery. It was more pleasant than the other two brewerys I've been to.

The New Glarus Brewery is alright.. but it's really small. The tours are self guided, so you can show up at anytime and walk through the place. They give you a little phone thingy you can punch numbers into when you see them on the wall, but it's all rather useless info. The giftshop had useful things and actually sold the beer, though.

Times are changing though, as New Glarus has just expanded to open up their much larger facility on the other side of the town. From the road, it looks probably just as big as the Leinie brewery. They still plan on keeping their original brewery open for their craft beers, but will use the new facility for more mass production.

The other brewery I've been to is the Asahi Beer Factory in Fukuoka, Japan, which is absolutely different than these two. The Asahi Brewery is massive. Bigger than most Wal*marts I've been to. The production is super fast and their volume is huge. It definitely lacked the heart of our wisconsin brewerys, though.. Also, I couldn't understand what the hell the guide was talking about.

Local is better

Overall, I'd say this has been the best Brewery Tourery I've been on. The Leinie's brewery has a lot more history than New Glarus but still keeps everything down to earth. I still like New Glarus' Spotted Cow over anything that Leinie's has, but Leinie is a great goto beer. You can find it nearly everywhere and it never lets you down. ^_^

Leinie's Octoberfest beer should start showing up at retailers in the next few weeks, so that'll replace Spotted Cow for me for a little while. ^_^

I'm not really sure what other brewerys I'd like to check out next.. maybe I'll go to Ireland and check out Guiness or something. I'd like to go back to the Asahi Beer factory and get a keychain bottle opener to match my other ones. I'm sure I'll find myself somewhere.

As another note, Zach and I came across a tanning salon with a must hilarious name:




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