By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Aug 24, 2021 at 10:02 AM

The annual release of bourbon-barrel-aged stouts has become one of the most anticipated seasons on the beer calendar, but call me a traditionalist because, to me, the arrival of Oktoberfest and Oktoberfest-influenced brews is the most wonderful time of the beer.

I just can’t get enough of the sweet, maltiness of the brews that seem to begin arriving earlier and earlier each year.

Amber lagerX

This year’s slate of releases includes a new collaboration brew from Leinenkugel’s and Germany’s Hofbräu München, who first collaborated on a beer four years ago.

The amber lager will be officially launched at the Leinie Lodge in Chippewa Falls on Wednesday, Aug. 25, and the brew will be released in 6- and 12-pack 12-ounce cans (as well as 1/6-barrel kegs) nationwide on Wednesday, Sept. 1.

The 26 IBU, 5.4 percent ABV caramel-colored beer, is made with German malts and American Mt. Hood, Centennial, Steiner Experimental and Mosaic hops, with a nice balanced result.

It’s toasty and sweet but with a nice dose of lightly spicy hop character. It’s the kind of beer I could drink all day, all year ‘round, though it definitely drinks like a harbinger of an autumn filled with giant pretzels, bratwurst and German brass bands.

“We worked with the amazing brewers at Hofbräu München to brew our Anniversary Lager to celebrate our 150th Anniversary in 2017,” says Dick Leinenkugel. “Over that past 18 months, despite a global pandemic, we were able to collaborate with them once again to bring our drinkers a special, limited edition beer brewed in the spirit of Reinheitsgebot with German malts and American hops that brings together over 550 years of brewing experience.

“Our Collaboration Lager is absolutely fantastic!”

The release party up in Chippewa Falls – where the beer is brewed – will include live music by Shirts and Skins, German-style food from Bubbles BBQ and weiner dog races at 6 p.m.

Dick Leinenkugel and representatives of Hofbräu München will be on hand to tap the first keg.

The roots of the Bavarian-government-owneed Hofbrau go back to 1589. It owns one of the largest tents at Munich's annual Oktoberfest.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.