By Jason Heaton
on 5.18.12
Photo by Leinenkugel's

Beer lovers, we live in fortunate times. The craft brewing revolution is in full swing in America, from Seattle to South Beach. But while most craft beer makers are “micro” in every sense of the word, there’s one with a long history and the capacity to make its beer available coast to coast: Leinenkugel’s.

Sure, Leinie’s is now owned by the SAB/Miller Brewing conglomerate but they’ve been largely left to their own devices and are still headquartered in tiny Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin and run by a fifth generation of Leinenkugels. While the brand is known for its seasonal brews like the excellent Summer Shandy and Oktoberfest, this year is Leinenkugel’s 145th anniversary year and they’re celebrating with a new line of limited run beers called, “Big Eddy,” named for the Big Eddy Creek, a pure water source that runs right through the brewery.

So far, Leinie’s has introduced the Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout and Wee Scotch Ale and on June 1st, they’ll add the Imperial IPA to the lineup. I got an early sample of it and it might just be the perfect summer beer. Hoppy, crisp and slightly bitter, drunk cold the IPA is a perfect accompaniment to great summer foods and post-adventure exaggeration. But beware, it packs a punch at close to 9% alcohol by volume, so don’t be surprised if you chase a bottle of it with a nap in the shade.

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