Fishing & Boating in the Northwoods

Leinenkugel’s Brewery in Chippewa Falls

Leinenkugel's Leinie Lodge

Every year – actually twice per summer – I would pass the sign for Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. But I never found a reason or the time to stop. After all, I am on my way to go fishing, much farther to the north. This year, however, was different. I found out that there was a brewery in Chippewa Falls that I could tour – Leinenkugel’s! And since I was this year planning to stay overnight in nearby Rice Lake, I realized that this was one detour that was not really out of my way.

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Chippewa Falls

Chippewa Falls is just a few minutes north of Eau Claire, Wisconsin on Route 124. The Leinenkugel’s brewery is located right on Route 124 at the north end of town. There was ample parking in a large lot, and I actually arrived more than an hour before my scheduled tour time.

Reservations are required but tours leave the Leinie Lodge Gift Shop regularly. It was a Friday afternoon at about 2:00 when I walked through the front doors. The place was packed with people! I checked in and asked if I could take an earlier tour. I was told that would be fine. One very important note to make here is, without exception, every person I met that day from Leinenkugel’s was genuinely friendly, courteous, and very helpful.

Note: There are now a number of different tours available to choose from and tours can be easily booked online at

Promotional merchandise in the Leinie Lodge

This Tour Was Different!

As I left Leinie Lodge, I couldn’t help but wonder if this tour would be any different from the one I took at the Huber Brewing Company in Monroe, Wisconsin. I guess I had the “seen one brewery, seen ’em all” attitude. There were a few things that were the same, but it was immediately obvious that Leinenkugel’s was, in fact, very different. The whole place seemed to almost shout its intent to maintain a niche in the very competitive beer business.

Although one of the oldest breweries in the country (dating back to 1867), they have recently built a new addition to the brewery and installed all new equipment. Some of the new technology included a sophisticated computer monitoring system. This was designed to ensure absolute quality control and to maintain consistency from one batch to the next. The brewing building was filled with a lot of highly polished stainless steel. For a relatively small brewery, this place was high-tech and ultra-clean!

One very interesting fact that we were told about was what happened to any bottle of beer that was improperly filled, either with too little or too much beer. A laser beam detects the ‘bad’ bottle. It is summarily removed from the line, and smashed, to bits! Our collective jaws hit the floor. I assume that it doesn’t happen too terribly often, but the thought of any beer being “wasted” just kind of makes me want to cry.

Leinenkugel's Red

After the Tour

It was very cool watching the bottles being filled, capped, sent to the pasteurizing machine and then put in cases and sent to the warehouse. There they patiently await delivery to your favorite store or tavern. Those cases probably do not have to wait long.

After the tour we were taken back to the Leinie Lodge Gift Shop. In the back was a small bar where we were allowed to sample several of the varieties of hand-crafted beer about which we had just been informed. Although I liked all the samples I tasted, my favorites were the Amber Light and the Honey Weiss. Honey Weiss, by the way, is one of Leinenkugel’s hottest sellers!

Coming soon is a beer that several on the tour claimed as their personal favorite. ‘Big Butt’, is a dark, Bock-type beer that is apparently not made on a regular basis. I should also mention that the gift shop is stocked to the ceiling with every imaginable kind of souvenir from your visit. I opted to purchase some beer glasses and a Leinenkugel’s T-shirt.

glass of beer

Worth Repeating

The experience is one well worth repeating, if for no other reason than to see if the employees are always that nice. I suspect that they are, and I thank them for an incredible tour and a great time.

The whole ‘detour’ took about an hour and a half, and I still made it to Rice Lake before 5:00pm. This is an excursion well worth taking – especially if you are within an hour’s drive from Chippewa Falls. Make it a trip unto itself. Take some time to see the rest of what the area has to offer. And trust me, there is a lot!

by R. Karl

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R. Karl

Angler, Author & Epicure

Fishing since the age of eight.  Seriously writing since the age of 16. Chef and foodie from the age of 22 years… and counting. So much to learn and so little time. I have enjoyed every minute of it all.  Whether on the water (where I like it best), in the kitchen, or at the keyboard, churning out content, I feel like I have found my place.  I am sharing it with you in the hope that some of what I love to do will rub off on you. I hope to see you On the Lake!

R. Karl