The Hofbräuhaus brand began nearly 500 years ago in Munich. All these years later the Hofbräuhaus Chicago is bringing that German beer hall, restaurant, and beer garden feel to Rosemont, IL. Eating and drinking in their traditional beer hall setting involves live entertainment, spacious bench seating, Bavarian food and a few surprises. There is also a kids menu for those looking to go out with the family.

Leinenkugel Brewing has been around for a 150 Years. The sixth generation of Leinenkugel is now learning the family business in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. And if you had a chance to ask Dick Leinenkugel (President and “Chief Beer Merchant” at Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company) he’d say he’s proud of the history and story that the brewery has to share. Its brews, as of 2012, can be found in all 50 states. In July, the two beer brands had a party and invited us to attend.

“I don’t know if shandy is trendy, but it started a trend.” – Dick Leinenkugel

In 2007 Leinenkugel came up with the idea of doing a beer with a natural lemonade flavor. This came about after conversations about German summertime drinking habits involving radlers and several failed experiments at making Leinenkugel’s beer mixed with various sorts of juices that didn’t taste like soda pop. They brewed a beer that was primarily a lighter beer first and then mixed it with the natural lemonade flavor. When Dick Leinenkugel first tasted it he said: “Wow, it tastes like beer, but it’s so refreshing.” That’s what became the Leinenkugel Summer Shandy.

9 out of 10 shandies consumed in the United States are made by Leinenkugel.

“Today’s beer drinker is looking for new and different. However, I think they are also interested in the story behind beer. And we have a great story to tell. It’s a story of 150 years; story of a six generation family.” – Dick Leinenkugel

Ceremonial tapping of the 150th Anniversary Ale Barrel by Dick Leinenkugel & John Leinenkugel at Hofbräuhaus in Rosemont, IL. Pan around the 360 image and take in the scene.

The idea of the 150th Anniversary Lager came from a current Hofbräuhaus employee that used to work for SABMiller, Leinenkugel’s parent company for the last few decades. Conversations lead to ideas and then the brew was born. 900 kegs were brewed at Hofbräu München and transported it back to the US. All the 6-packs and some of the draft kegs are brewed in by Leinenkugel in Wisconsin.

“We have so called ‘craft brewers’ today don’t have that kind of history, heritage, and authentic story. I hope beer drinkers care about the stories behind the breweries and the brands. And I think beer drinkers are very knowledgeable because there’s a lot of great beer out there. There’s also a lot of bad beer. So I hope they care about quality.” – John Leinenkugel

The history and stories of Hofbräuhaus and Leinenkugel continue on into the future. Plans for new shandies, collaborations, and expansions are nearing reality. Pickup a six-pack of Leinenkugel the next time you’re out and hit up the Chicago Hofbräuhaus next time you’re in town. Cheers to both of these beer brands!

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