The spectacular combination of citrus flavour with beer is an exciting one. Sipping your favourite lager beer combined with fruit soda while chilling on the beach is every summer vacationer’s dream. It’s incredible how lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits have made their way into creative craft beers. Amongst the variety of hops and flavours, Shandy and Radler are the most popular versions of Citrus beer from them all. Over the last few years, there’s been a surge in demand for these unique citrus beers. The brilliant idea of blending citrus with beer dates back to the early 19th century. Back in the day, Shandys were made fresh to order in pubs and are still done the same in some of the pubs. The brand Leinenkugel was the first to launch their bottled version and soon gained popularity amongst beer lovers. As for the Radler, it was found in Germany by an innkeeper who wanted to last his stock of beers longer. He chose to mix lemon soda with beer to meet the demand and people fell in love with this creative version of the beer.
The British have always been in love with mixed beverages, Shandy is their version of citrusy beer and has a huge fan following in itself. Most people worldwide use these terms interchangeably and rightly so. With just 2.5 per cent alcohol by volume, this citrusy beer is more than just refreshing on a hot day. Now that we’ve got some basics and history in place let’s explore the details of these beer-based cocktails.
What is Shandy?
When a blond lager is mixed with lemonade (if you have run out of lemonade, you always dilute the drink with fruit juices like orange juice, cider, apple juice, and grapefruit juice) or even lime-soda at a 50-50 ratio, you’ll get the famous Shandy beer. The split actually breaks the alcohol by volume down from 8 per cent to about 5 per cent. Shandys were also popularly known “Shandygaff” back in the days. Some of the famous beer brands that have Shandy variants are:
1. Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
2. Shock Top Lemon Shandy from Saint Louis, Missouri
3. UFO Big Squeeze Shandy from Boston, Massachusetts
4. Narragansett Del’s Shandy from Providence, Rhode Island
5. Stiegl Gaudi Radler Shandy from Salzburg, Austria
About 70% of all of Leinenkugel’s production is Shandy. This refreshing beer version is a perfect summertime drink and can even be made at home. Because of the mixing ratio, Shandy is usually lighter in alcohol. Whether you choose wheat beer or light lager, the beer used to mix the drink is a matter of personal taste.
What is Radler?
Quite literally it means cyclist in the German language, no kidding. It was discovered by a German innkeeper named Franz Kugler. The history says that during a cycling rally in Munich, his establishment got over 13,000 visitors for beer. To meet the demand, he mixed beer with lemon soda, which he had stocked up and the visitors absolutely loved it! They are traditionally blended with lemonade, sparkling lemonade, or lemon-lime soda. When prepared at home, the alcohol levels in the drink might vary, but commercially sold ones have 2 to 4.5 % ABV. Some of the famous beer brands that brew the Radler are:
1. Stiegl Radler from Salzburg, Austria
2. Ginger-Lemon Radler from Kansas City, Missouri
3. Stiegl Gaudi Radler Shandy from Salzburg, Austria
4. Amstel Radler from Amsterdam, Netherlands
5. Tricycle Grapefruit Radler from Vancouver, British Columbia
So basically, if you opt for Shandy or Radler, they are both a beer-and-juice combination. The refreshing taste of citrus in both the beers are simply amazing! The next time you’re in the mood to quench your thirst, here are two of our favourite recipes to help you rock your summer party. So, make your own Radler and beat the summer!
To get the best ginger Shandy, all you need to do is to fill English-style lager up to three-quarters of the pint glass and then blend it with ginger beer.
Southern Peach Radler
This traditional Radler is an easy mix and an absolute crowd favourite too. Radler is primarily a German version of Shandy. To make the best southern peach Radler, all you need is a light beer and lemonade in 50:50 proportion together with a cup of peach brandy. Blend them together and garnish the drink off with lemon or peach.
Many breweries have introduced their own version of citrusy beers which have the qualities of pale ales and IPAs. Their beer-centric experiments have created some unique drinks, more like a cocktail for beer lovers. But Shandy and Radler are your best bets when it comes to citrusy beer. There are not many differences between the Shandy and Radler, except for the country of origin. If you are not a fan of preparing these at home, there are many great canned varieties available in the market too. You could try Samuel Adams Porch Rocker with refreshing tart flavour obtained from a unique combination of Helles lager and fresh-squeezed lemons or Boulevard Ginger-Lemon Radler which has zesty flavours of ginger and lime. This summer, go beyond the regular lemonade, experiment with your drink, mix and match the ingredients to get your favourite blend. Replace lemonade with grapefruit juice and ginger beer. This perfect summer outdoors drink is more like a breezer than an actual beer. Create your own version of the beer cocktail and be ready to wow your guests.