Back in 1986, Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company made what the brewery calls its “first ever craft beer”, Leinenkugel’s Limited. (Of course, this begs the question what they had been doing for the previous 119 years, especially those before prohibition, but that’s for another story.) Limited was originally a fall seasonal release, but became a year-round beer in 1990. Because the beer then had “unlimited” availability, the name was changed to Northwoods Lager. It was taken out of production in 2000.
Apparently public clamor for this beer was great enough that Leinenkugel’s is re-releasing it for a limited run. According to the press release it’s “a slow-brewed blend of four select barley malts – caramel, Munich, Carapils, and Pale – and aromatic, bittering Cluster and Cascade hops.” Limited won gold and silver medals in the premium lager category at the GABF in 1993 and 1991 respectively.
Leinenkugel’s Limited is being released in select markets on February 1st. Here’s my notes:
Aroma: Very gentle aromas, but pleasant. Cool and refreshing. Light caramel and sweet malt. Overtones of orangy citrus.
Appearance: Beautiful to look at. Medium Amber color and crystal clear. Large, fluffy, white head that lasts and lasts.
Flavor: The crisp lager character and high carbonation are the first impressions, somewhat overpowering all else. As the beer warms some gentle caramel malt comes in, surrounded by delicate fruity hops with musk melon, orange citrus, and light floral overtones. Bitterness is low, but balances the low level of malt sweetness. Finishes dry with some lingering hints of caramel and orange.
Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium-high carbonation with tiny, champagne-like bubbles; better once it has a chance to de-gas. Crisp.
Overall Impression: This is not a bad beer. In fact, it’s quite pleasant and easy to drink. I just wish there were more to it. I am a fan of subtle lagers. A good Munich Helles is heavenly. But the flavors and aromas of this beer are so delicate that despite being pleasant, it seems lacking. The old show-biz admonition to “leave them wanting more” applies here, just not in the right way.