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Camping: Day 1 (Leinenkugel’s Brewery Tour)

I’m back from the Northwoods of WI! Camping was a blast but we cut it short a day due to the extreme heat/humidity. More on that later.

These are picture-heavy recaps so I thought I would do a day at a time… Here we go!

Thursday 7/14

Started out bright and early with breakfast at our favorite morning restaurant. After stopping for water (and buying Powerball tickets so we could dream along the way about what we’d do if we won) we were off for our first stop – Chippewa Falls, WI.

Ben wanted to see the Leinenkugel’s factory and take the tour. It was a couple hours out of the way but what better time to go!

We signed up for the next available tour and walked around the lodge.

Pretty fancy set-up they have in here alongside the merchandise!

Each adult got 4 drink tickets to sample whatever flavor of beer you wanted! I don’t drink beer but Ben sampled the Red Lager and one of their summer mixes – Berry Weiss and Summer Shandy

Ben beer sampling

We’re off touring the brewery!

These silos are filled with wheat, barley, and corn and then are pumped through the pipes into the large vats depending on what kind of brew is bring made at that time.

This tank holds the spent “mash”. When the wheat/barley/corn is done being used the mash is stored in this container and then is shipped off to local farms as pig feed. Nothing is wasted. I love that!

We were not allowed to take pictures inside the factory but we got to see the large metal tanks where the grains are cooked, the cooling area where each batch of beer is stored until is comes to the appropriate temperature, and the bottling area where the bottles whirl past and are pasteurized right in front of you! I found the cooling area really fascinating. The batch number for each brew is listed on a chalkboard in front of the massive tank. Then each day the temperature is checked and recorded on the chalkboard. It’s super cold in the cellar and most of the beer temps were between 58 and 52 degrees. The entire process from start to finish takes 28-31 days depending on the beer. I was worried about it smelling overwhelming inside but it was just fine!

Back on the road heading to Mellen for Copper Falls!

A stop in Hayward for our food and an air mattress. We forgot our brand new one at home!!! Argh!

Re-packed up and ready to go. A lot of gear for just two people!!

Along the road we kept seeing flashing ELK warning signs. ELK??? C’mon! The signs were flashing every couple miles and Ben was sweet and pulled over so I could snap a shot mid-blink. About 2 miles later… you guessed it, I saw an elk on the side of the road!! There was a car right behind us so we couldn’t stop for a photo but it was crazy. I’ve never seen one in the wild before!

Destination! Copper Falls State Park Hurray!!

I bought this fancy tent months ago in eager anticipation of our trip. Notice anything weird?? There was no rain fly!!!! We examined the packaging… it sure looked like a fly was included. We tried sticking a spare tarp on top… hmm with all the rain forecasted, we knew that wasn’t going to work. So after 6.5 hours of driving we headed to my birthtown, Ashland, a day early to hit up their Walmart for a new tent… Yes, crying happened on the way there. I felt so terrible that my awesome tent was without a fly and that I didn’t check beforehand to make sure everything was there. Lesson learned!

Walmart to the rescue! We found one tent that looked suitable – it was the last one in the store – and proceeded to find a dark corner and unpack the entire tent. We were taking NO chances this time!!

–drive BACK to the campground–

An hour and a half later we were tired, grumpy, and back to the campsite. We dismantled the old tent only to discover this:

Umm who left the fly under the tent????? At least we got a laugh out of it – sort of. Tent went back up WITH the fly and all was well.

After starting a small fire and relaxing for a couple hours, we crashed – ending our first day as campers!

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2 Responses

  1. What fun! I actually really like beer, but don’t drink it too often anymore. I love brewery tours 😀

  2. […] Ben wanted to visit the Leinenkugel brewery. It was a trip down memory lane because Ben and I visited the factory and went on a brewery tour when we were dating all the way back in […]

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