by Mike Kord

first appeared in the May 2005 issue

I once knew a guy who stayed at the same dead-end job because there was a great teriyaki place down the street from his office. The point is, sometimes you just have to unearth a positive to endure an unfortunate circumstance. I was inspired by a similar line of thinking while drinking this month’s Paddle Swill-Leinenkugel’s Red.

There are some positive reasons to drink this beer:
If you’re an endurance paddler, this beer’s certain watery quality might actually hydrate you the night before a long paddle.
You can get a six-pack for under six bucks.
If you serve it to guests, they won’t accuse you of being a beer snob.
It’s a fine complement to macaroni and cheese with slices of hot dogs.

It’s not that it’s an especially bad beer. In fact, it’s pretty OK. But unless you’ve been drinking only beer brewed by the megaliter, the flavor of Leinenkugel’s Red is a little low on the creativity dial.

The brewery is located in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, referred to as the Gateway to the Northwoods. The Leinenkugel family has been brewing beer there since 1867. About 300 lakes exist in the surrounding county, which might explain why a birchbark canoe is part of the label’s nifty design.

Bottom line: Leinenkugel’s Red is the type of beer that green-and-gold-clad Wisconsinites would pound on special occasions, like another Brett Favre touchdown pass. If you’re drinking more than one, this could be the one for you. But if you’re drinking only one, you could do better.