Wisconsin Beer - feature


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Words by Dalene Heck / Photography by Pete Heck

There are two specific words, when used in conjunction with each other, whether displayed in an invitation or advertised on a sign, will immediately turn our heads and cause us to most emphatically exclaim: “Yes, please!”

Those two words?

“Free” and “beer”

And thus, on our first big excursion from our house-sit in Wisconsin, we toured the Leinenkugel Brewery in nearby Chippewa Falls. Founded in 1867, it is the seventh oldest brewery in the US and is a family business still run by the Leinenkugels (who were originally from Bavaria). Not only do they have entertaining brewery tours that are full of good information (but refreshingly brief), they also provide a great atmosphere for taste-testing their wares, and offer a generous array of samples for free.

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Our favourites from this bunch are: Creamy Dark and Classic Amber (Pete); Sunset Wheat and Berry Weiss (moi).

And, as if this wasn’t enough to satisfy our appetites for brew (is it ever enough, really?), new friends Andy and Becki joined us from Milwaukee, and they came bearing gifts. Being proud supporters of their home state (and of its boozy treasures), they were anxious to ensure that we would become fans as well, and thus gave us a mix-and-match case of local beers. Given that Wisconsin has approximately 65 breweries in the state (ranking 9th in the number of breweries per capita in the US), this was still just a small taste, but an impressively diverse and delicious one.

We *may have* indulged in a few in a public park, which *may have* been illegal.

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Not only does this beer have the best name, Fatty Boomblatty, but as a Belgian white beer, it was one of my favourites.

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The array we took home. More favourites: Central Waters Mudpuppy Porter and Capital Brewery Island Wheat Ale.

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With less than two months left to go, we’ve got a ways to go before we can consider us completely “beermersed” in the pride of Wisconsin, but we are off to a good start.


While visiting the brewery in Chippewa Falls, we stayed at the lovely Oaklawn Inn in nearby Menomonie. It is a 124 year old restored farmhouse with important historical ties to the area. We loved it for the many charming details and very gracious hostess! To read our entire review, please click here.

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  1. I’m all for anything beer related and most breweries etc have some amazing history behind them as well. So you get refreshment and history all in one sitting.

    1. We have spent time in Belgium, and drank a lot of beer in Germany! We *love* the beer over there, but have been pleasantly surprised with what we’ve found here as well.

  2. Welcome to where I grew up! The Leinie’s brewery is less than a half hour from my childhood home. We love to visit for beer tastings when we visit my parents place. They have seasonal brews that are worth snatching up if you like them.

  3. This is day one of being teetotal for a month and the first thing I read when I log onto SU is this post – is it a sign that I will fail drastically?!

  4. Hey guys – great post! Though I suppose we’re a little biased about that 😉 It was tons of fun hanging out, sharing beers, and enjoying that beautiful view! And thanks SO MUCH for the shoutout 🙂

    You might be interested to know that many breweries around here (I know Lakefront for sure…) follow Reinheitsgebot. Also, first certified gluten-free and first certified organic beers in the nation. Beers for everyone! 😀

  5. People generally think the US has bad beer, but the good stuff that comes from local microbreweries just doesn’t make it out of the country, or even out of the state sometimes. Glad you’re enjoying Wisconsin!

    1. US beer (the *big* stuff that all the commercials are about) IS bad. We just have to go searching a little harder to find the good stuff. Which does make it taste better in the end, anyways. 🙂

  6. Am German, not a beer fiend (I know, shame on me), but this post has got my mouth watering… I want to try them all, too!! In fact, I don’t even have to try the “Fatty Boombalatty” to be impressed – how can anything with a name like that not taste extraordinary:)?

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