Summer is moving up the calendar to this Friday. Then expect a heat wave to start on Leap Year’s Day.
Leinenkugel’s is ushering in its Summer Shandy season with an event at the Leinie Lodge, 124 E. Elm St., Chippewa Falls, from 6-8 p.m. Friday.
Then on Monday the Chippewa Falls brewer will kick off the 10th year of the release of its popular lemonade-flavored beer.
“We were the leaders to bring this style of beer to the U.S.,” brewery President Dick Leinenkugel said Wednesday. “It’s a beer first. But it’s got all of the refreshment of lemonade.”
The beer has proven to be Leinenkugel’s best-selling brew. Summer Shandy used to be released in April and stay on the market until Labor Day. But Leinenkugel said people start to turn the page on winter in March, and begin looking for the refreshing beer.
“When pitchers and catchers report for Major League Baseball, people start to think about summer,” he said.
For the first time, Summer Shandy will be on draft this year.
The brewery brews other flavors of Shandy, too. For example, Watermelon Shandy will be offered in a Leinenkugel’s variety pack.
Grapefruit Shandy, which was introduced last year and became the No.1 craft beer introduction in the U.S., is returning in a big way this year. Besides being available in six-pack bottles, Leinenkugel said it will be on draft, in 12-pack bottles and cans and in 16-ounce cans.
A Leinie's ale
Wisconsin residents will also be able to drink a new beer that’s not being offered in any other state.
Leinenkugel’s Wisconsin Red Pale Ale was introduced Feb. 1.
“This is a well-crafted red ale, balanced between malt and hops,” Leinenkugel said. Malt gives beer a sweet taste, while hops give off a bitter aroma. Leinenkugel said brewers try to strike a balance between the two.
The Red Pale Ale has a red hue, but does not resemble Leinenkugel’s Red Lager. That beer, introduced in 1993, will last be produced at the Leinenkugel’s Brewery in Chippewa Falls on Feb. 29.
Leinenkugel said the company wanted to give back to Wisconsin with the new beer. “This has been a state we have done business in for 149 years,” he said.
He expects Wisconsin Red Pale Ale will sell especially well in communities next to Wisconsin’s neighboring states.
“I have no doubt this is going to be a huge seller in Hudson, Kenosha, Beloit and Superior,” Leinenkugel said.