Every once in a while I’d like to take a break from reviewing beers and spotlight some breweries. And we’ll start with my absolute favorite, Leinenkugel’s, even though it’s only really a semi-craft brewery. Any place owned by Miller just can’t be completely craft in my mind.

The Leinie Lodge

Located in Chippewa Falls, WI, Leinie’s, as it is affectionately known, has never made anything I wouldn’t at least try. There is only one that I’ve tried that I can say I will not willingly drink ever again: Berry Weiss. I just am not big on overly fruity beer. Give me Ithaca’s Apricot Wheat any day, please and thank you.

That said, Leinie’s makes beer for everyone. And they rotate most of their beers. Get ’em while they’re cold, people! There’s a delivery of Leinie’s Limited coming to my apartment in two weeks. Can’t wait!

They’ve got Original and Original Light (which are really not that good, those are more for the “I usually drink MGD but want something with flavor today” crowd.) Also in the run-of-the-mill category are Honey Weiss, Red, and currently Classic Amber. For spring/summer beers, you’ve got your choice of Summer Shandy, Sunset Wheat, and currently 1888 Bock. For those of you who like dark beers, you can hope you can find a Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout around, or go with the classic Creamy Dark. Leinie’s Oktoberfest is a great fall beer, and so is Fireside Nut Brown. And of course for those of you who like your beer to taste like a cocktail, there’s Berry Weiss.

As I mentioned, Leinie’s rotates their beers. Limited was out a few years ago as Northwoods Lager. They change the name but not the recipe. Classic Amber was out a long time ago as Amber Ale, I believe. So if you didn’t get to try Big Butt (a doppelbock) a few years back, just wait a few more years and it’ll come out again!

One of the best things about Leinie’s is that it’s available in a lot of places. It doesn’t have the national distribution of Sam Adams but it’s getting there. I can find Honey Weiss and whichever seasonal is currently out at my local Wegman’s. In Wisconsin you can find it all in your local grocery store or gas station, and you can find all the flavors. You can even get Original, Light, and Honey Weiss in cans for your tailgating needs.

The other best thing about Leinie’s is that it’s cheap. If you think good beer has to be expensive, think again. Now, Leinie’s doesn’t have to-die-for beer, but for $6 for a six pack you really can’t go wrong. Sure, you can get a 30-pack of Miller Lite for $12 in Wisconsin, but wouldn’t you rather have a 12 pack of Summer Shandy? I certainly would.

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