Archive | August, 2011

A trip to Minneapolis: Through the Leinie Lodge

16 Aug

Well, this past weekend was an exciting one! My lovely wife and I traveled to the twin cities for a cousins wedding. It was a small intimate wedding in Minneapolis, with mostly friends and family present. We decided a few weeks ago that my wife would use some vacation hours, and we’d make a whole weekend of it! Minneapolis is one of our favorite places to visit, so we try to experience new things when we can make the trip over. We even brought our bicycles to do some riding in what has been rated as the best biking city in the country!

We decided pretty much on a whim as we were approaching Chippewa Falls, WI to make a stop at the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing company, affectionately known to many Wisconsinites as Leinie’s. Leinenkugel’s is not my favorite craft brewery (with 47 employees they fall under the 52 employee maximum to be categorized as a craft brewery), but they make a very respectable product, and it’s always nice to have a good place like theirs making a decent beer. It’s a good alternative to a lot of the domestic saturation we have. Chippewa Falls is a gorgeous area too, the Chippewa river runs right by the brewery, and it’s quite some nice scenery.

The tour was fascinating, my first brewery tour actually, and as much as I am starting to learn about beer, it was really splendid to see everything close hand, this will definitely not be my last brewery tour (= Unfortunately they did not allow photos inside the beer plant at all, so I have a couple of the outside, but they’ll do.

One of my favorite things about Leinenkugels is the slogan: “Come join us out here”. It does seem in part like a call to come and buy some of their vast (and I do mean vast) supply of merchandise; but they really do appreciate their customers, and they treat them quite well, which I found to be very refreshing. They are actually the only craft brewery that survived and continued from Prohibition. They survived for the short time making soft drinks (a practice they promptly ceased at the end of prohibition).

The tour of course ended with me sampling a good variety of their beer, and even my wife tried some(she’s not much of a beer drinker)! It turns out my favorite is probably the original recipe, quite a refreshing beverage, I’ll try and do a review on that soon.

We than headed on our way to minneapolis to enjoy a weekend of cheap hotels, a wonderful wedding (with free summit EPA) and an all-in-all wonderful time. We didn’t end up biking quite as much as I had desired, but we did get in a pretty nice ride on saturday morning, complete with a nice hill workout and a gorgeous path along a park, even if the path was not quite road bike friendly if you know what I mean.

So, if you get a chance to head over to Chippewa Falls, do take the tour, I highly reccomend it. Just try not to spend too much money in the gift shop (=

Alicia enjoying a Berry Weiss


Nifty showcase in the beer museum of the original "Pencil Test"


Part of the current production facility


The old horse barn, now used for storage.


Our bikes chained to a tree, no poles were available )=


Instagram assemblage of the wedding



Beer Review: Lazy Mutt Farmhouse Ale from Minhas Brewery

12 Aug

Well, it’s time for my second beer review!
This week, we have an interesting brew to say the least. It took me a bit to come to a conclusion with this one. I should say, my first taste came while on my friend’s sailboat on a gorgeous summer day, and these circumstances could make anything taste good. That being said, I have mixed feelings about Lazy Mutt Farmhouse Ale, produced by Minhas Brewery in Monroe, WI.

At first I thought this was my first farmhouse ale, but it turns out that New Glarus Spotted Cow (review coming) is also technically a farmhouse ale, that is basically a pale ale. I did inadvertently see some other reviews while trying to find more information about what exactly is in it, but i will try to stay unbiased and go by my own experience.

Lazy Mutt is an interesting beer. Upon my first sip, it feels citrusy and wheaty. I’m honestly not sure if there is wheat,  as I could not find a good description, but it definitely tastes as such. As for the somewhat sour citrus flavor, it’s not uninviting, but it really doesn’t seem to go anywhere. It’s not a bad flavor, but once the citrus wears off, there’s no aftertaste, no bitterness and no real complexity. I may have thought of hints of nuttiness, but I didn’t notice that in any but the first bottle (yeah I had a few today).  The beer is quite light and thin, body is pretty much nonexistent, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but I feel like it needed more oomph, some other flavor, just to add to the experience.

One thing that really does stand out is the packaging. It kind of leads to a bit of a disappointment as the design is definitely better than the beer itself. I love the logo of the dog splayed out laying down, and the writings on the packaging are really quite clever and silly. The product just doesn’t quite add up to the packaged hype.

All in all, it wasn’t a bad beer in my opinion (other reviews will differ I’m sure you’ll notice), it’s good for what it is, that is a very light chill summer beer. It’s probably not a beer I will buy again or really recommend, but if you find yourself on a sailboat in 80 degree weather with a good headwind I’m just saying there are worse things you could be drinking (=