The summer heat is on our doorstep, and outdoor events call for refreshing on-the-go libations. Even better if they are accompanied with low ABV (alcohol by volume) that allows for enjoyable drinking without the inevitable buzz that higher octane cocktails and beers bring about. Enter Radler and Shandy.
A Radler is a refreshing lager blended 50/50 with lemonade, lemon-lime, or grapefruit sodas. The Shandy is a bit more encompassing and is a 60/40 mixture of ale and may include ginger beer, ginger ale, or fruit juice. Many companies have transformed the Radler and Shandy into an art form, but you could easily replicate it. All it takes is to create a fusion to your liking and add it to your beer in the proportions mentioned above. If you’re using Lager or Hefeweizen, you’re consuming a Radler due to their German origins. If you mix it with ale, you are in the Shandy-land since ales generally hail from England.
Shandies and Radlers are an easy breezy summer adult beverage option enjoyed by beer and cocktail lovers alike.
Here is an exciting read from American Craft Beer:
“The history behind the Radler style is almost as zany as the half beer — half fruit soda concoction itself. But to better understand the Radler, which was originally conceived in the Bavarian region of Germany (we’ll get to that in a second), we start in mid-18th century England with what was once known as the Shandygaff.
Today known generally as a Shandy (a beer mixed with a soft drink, carbonated lemonade, ginger beer, ginger ale or any variety of juice), the Shandygaff was composed of 2 parts beer, 1 part ginger beer/ale and reached its peak popularity during the early 20th century in England, Ireland, Canada and the United States. The interchangeable use of Shandy and Radler is perplexing, but they basically mean the same thing — one is English in origin, the other German.
The term Radler originates with a drink called Radlermass (literally “cyclist liter”) that was originally created by Innkeeper Franz Kugler in a small town named Deisenhofen, just outside Munich. During the great cycling boom of the Roaring Twenties, Kugler created a bicycle trail from Munich, through the woods, which led directly to his drinking establishment. On a beautiful June day in 1922, a reported “13,000 cyclists” crashed Kugler’s party. Fast running out of beer, he blended it 50/50 with a lemon soda he could never seem to get rid of, and the rest is history.
Today some of the best Radlers you can find in the states still come from Central Europe in the form of Schöfferhoffer Grapefruit (Hefeweizen and Grapefruit soda) and Stiegl Radler (lager and grapefruit soda). Both weigh in at an uber light 2.5%, perfect for summer beer sessions. The most commonly found nationally would be Leinenkugel’s lemon Summer Shandy and their Grapefruit Shandy, both 4.2%.”