Coming off a resurgent summer for Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, the brand plans to debut two new lagers: a collaboration beer made with German brewing pioneer Hofbräu München, and a new winter seasonal, Chocolate Dunkel.
The two new lagers will sit aside two of Leinenkugel’s’ seasonal favorites.
The Chippewa Falls, Wis., craft brewer’s popular Oktoberfest will make its seasonal appearance later this month. And Leinenkugel’s Toasted Bock, a take on the classic German-style beer, is coming back for its second year in November after performing ahead of expectations upon its debut last winter.
Leinie’s Lemon Haze IPA, which launched earlier this year, will continue to be available year-round. The hazy IPA won over drinkers this spring and summer, posting strong sales and recruiting younger legal-age drinkers into the Leinenkugel’s fold.
The new additions come as the brewery seeks to lean into its flavorful array of beers, led by flagship Summer Shandy.
“The one thing we hear from consumers all the time is how Leinenkugel’s beers just offer more flavor and more variety,” says Dick Leinenkugel, president of Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. “Collaboration Lager and Chocolate Dunkel are going to meet those expectations.”
Hallo, Collaboration Lager
Collaboration Lager, a German-style amber lager, is the second collaboration between Leinenkugel’s and Hofbräu, which has been brewing in Munich since 1589. It will line up next to Oktoberfest as a fall seasonal offering.
“Between Leinenkugel’s and Hofbräu Munich, we’ve got 550 years of brewing tradition, and we think people are going to love our Collaboration Lager,” says Dick Leinenkugel.
The two breweries first teamed up in 2017 to create a beer commemorating Leinenkugel’s’ 150th anniversary. This year, they recreated the recipe – with a few tweaks – to adhere to the spirit of Reinheitsgebot, the famed German purity law that states beers can only be made with malt, hops, water and yeast.
Using four types of hops – Mt. Hood, Centennial, Steiner Experimental Hop and Mosaic – Collaboration Lager is more hop forward than traditional German beers, blending an American trend with imported German malt. It checks in at 5.4% alcohol by volume and 26 IBUs.
“Collaboration Lager uses German malts and all-American hops to give it a really nice, balanced characteristic with just a little bit of hop that shines through the beer at the end. It's got that great Märzen-style color,” Dick Leinenkugel says.
For Hofbräu, the 2017 collaboration was the first in its 430-year history, says Steve Ksycki, director of import sales and marketing for Hofbräuhaus of America.
“The selling point was when management staff and brewers from Munich came over and spent some time in Chippewa Falls. It’s one of those things where it was the actual shaking of hands and sharing of beers that brought the two breweries together,” he says.
With the pandemic restricting travel, however, this year’s collaboration was conceived over Zoom.
Introducing Chocolate Dunkel
Leinenkugel's will also release Chocolate Dunkel, which combines the crispness of a dark lager with “just the right amount” of chocolate flavor, Dick Leinenkugel says. It will pour alongside Toasted Bock this winter.
At 5.5% ABV and 43 IBU, the dark lager has a slight malt sweetness and creamy texture, with a rich chocolate taste upfront followed by a subtle caramel and milk chocolate sweetness.
Cocoa nibs added during the dry-hop phase of fermentation “bring out its chocolate flavor, which is absolutely going to be a holiday treat,” Dick Leinenkugel says. “It’s a fabulous beer.”
A blend of eight malts, including dark chocolate malt and chocolate wheat, combine with cocoa nibs and Willamette hops to give the chocolate a starring role.
“We’re really pleased about our innovation this year. These new beers celebrate our family’s German roots as well as any in our portfolio and really show we have a beer for every season and every reason. We’re excited to share them with Leinenkugel’s fans,” Leinenkugel says.